Family--the Roots of Christmas


Loveys, my children are all about family. They like to name every family member they have. I heard them do this again today. They talk about all the people they have. If anything were to happen to me, they list out the people who will keep loving them (and, according to Ashtyn, who will let them keep their toys).

Grammy, of course, and Mamaw, first. Grandpa. Aunt Sara. Tia. Uncle Nemo. Uncle Wesley. Aunt Stacey. Uncle Dale. Great-Grandma Dori. Tia Rosalinda (whom Linc insists is another grandma to him. :) Aunts and uncles in Texas and Louisiana. Cousins. We go down the line of family members who are connected to them.

They love doing this for some reason. I was thinking about it today. Perhaps it's because there's something comforting and reassuring about knowing there are people to love you, to claim you.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Some are extremely dysfunctional. Some are much closer to ideal. Some are unhealthy, some are filled with regular people who love each other with a deep sense of loyalty. None are perfect, of course. But I think some more closely resemble the beautiful gift that is the love of a family. We're all people, so naturally we can hurt each other sometimes. We can be misunderstood. We can be angry. We can get frustrated.

But you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat their family.

I was thinking about Christmas. I love it. Truly. I was thinking today about how the Hallmark holiday movies marathon is ongoing--all day every day for weeks! I'm not complaining. I love Christmas movies. But I was thinking about my childhood. A Hallmark movie was a special thing. I remember when Sarah, Plain and Tall came out. We all gathered together in the living room to watch it. If it got even a twinge cold outside (this was Texas, mind you), my mother would light up the fireplace--with real logs and real crackling. We'd watch the holiday movie special. It was only coming on once, so you better catch it while it's on there. We'd have popcorn and hot chocolate, and it was the best thing ever.

Not just the movie.

The family.

The love. The togetherness. The sense of belonging.

It's made me who I am.

The beauty of Christmas starts in a stable--a woman, her husband, and a brand new baby. A newly-formed family.

My babies are the best gifts I've ever received. I know this to be true. As much as I love Jeff with all my heart--those fresh early moments when I held Ashtyn and Lincoln and Lillian--those moments are the best of my life. Jeff knows this, and I expect he feels the same. And that's fine with me. They made us a family.

I think faith--when it's true and healthy--makes family even stronger. Let me be real with you--I've seen faith twisted into an unhealthy thing. I've also seen people justify their every decision with faith. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about faith that teaches real love, compassion, mercy. Faith that is based on sacrifice, unconditional love, turning the other cheek, protecting the weak, giving, integrity--that kind of faith makes people better.

It makes families better.

I think the roots of Christmas begin in that stable, with that little family. With God the father. Jesus the Son. Love came down. As Ann Voskamp writes, The Giver became the Gift.

It's hard to believe sometimes.

I'd be lying--I'd be pretending--if I wasn't honest about that. It's hard to believe at times.

That is why it's called faith.

To me, family is where I begin and where I live. I know I was fortunate to grow up in a home where I was so loved. It wasn't perfect, but it was safe and good. And it's that foundation, and that feeling, that I so want to give my children.

Because family, when it's done well, is like Christmas--magical and beautiful. It fills you with wonder and thankfulness. Just like love. I'm talking about the 1 Corinthians kind of love--patient, kind, not jealous, not self-seeking, keeps no record of wrongs--always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

That list tells me that love isn't easy.

But when it's done well, it's a beautiful thing.

This Christmas, my children will be excited for presents and Santa and stories and cookies--all the delights of the season. But I hope what stays with them, is the feeling of love. I hope what they remember is the sense of family. Faith. Real love.

That first Christmas. A baby in a manger. A little fledgling family.

Here we are. Lights and trees and beautiful packages. Carols and cakes and parties.

All wonderful. All beautiful. Celebrations of Christmas.

This Christmas, I will love my family. They are the best gift I have and love is the best gift I can give.

What do you want this Christmas, lovey? What will you be giving and receiving? What does it mean to you?

It's almost December. And where I live, it's snowy and cold. My shopping is nearly done. Our tree is up, lights shining. There are gatherings on the calendar that I'm so excited about. The gift of friendship. Christmas-blend tea. Shining ornaments. Christmas music all through the house.

It's all about family. It's all about love. It's all about Jesus. What could be more lovely?

You could be family to someone who is alone. You could be the peacemaker in your family. You could be the wife who loves her husband with grace and peace and strength. You could be the mother who makes Christmas beautiful for her family. You could be the grandmother who makes all the difference in teaching her family what love and grace look like. You could be the friend who makes those who are lonely feel loved. You could be the best version of yourself this Christmas.

Or you could be none of those things.

It's up to you, of course. Christmas will come and go regardless of our intentions. But there's still time now to be intentional. There's time now to make this Christmas a true one. Not spectacular in the sense of decorations or gifts. But amazing in the simple celebration in our hearts.

December is my favorite. Hope and peace. The simplicity of the Nativity. The love of family.

Christmas is for all of us.

Joy to the world, lovey.









1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful! I hope you had a merry Christmas...you and your family.

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