Catching up with Christmas

Loveys, we're less than 2 weeks out till Christmas. That is crazy! This month is a blur. I've got authors coming into town, family coming into town, Christmas shopping to do, trips to the airport, cookies to make, school parties to go to, a visit with Santa that's in our future--and so on! My calendar is full, and I don't really mind. I'm super excited to spend time with my family this Christmas. We don't live near my parents or my youngest sister so we only see them a few times a year. It's the same with Jeff's family. So our times together are special to me and I want to treasure them. Plus, these days with my own little ones go by fast, so each Christmas is extra magical while they're small. Tonight we've got pizza on the menu, Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas on TV, and gingerbread cookies to bake that we'll share with some of our neighbors! The tree is lit and the fireplace is glowing and I love nights like this. There's the church Birthday Party for Jesus in the morning for the kids and our friend's graduation party tomorrow night. Another party on Sunday and a trip to the airport.

Good grief. December can be hectic. So nights like this one--home with family--are good for the soul.

I was thinking of family and how I'm looking forward to seeing mine, and that brought to mind my sweet grandmother Mimi. I still miss her so much. When I was in college, I wrote this short, children's story called A Cardinal's Christmas. Mimi loved it. And she ended up giving me this beautiful cup that my great-grandmother, Taye, painted. My Mimi loved the holidays. I remember going to her house at Christmastime as a child. She loved for her family to fill up her house, and she loved to cook for all of us. I want to be like that. Those memories at her house are priceless to me. Looking back, I see the main gift she gave all of us--the gift of herself. What a blessing.

In the midst of holiday chaos, sometimes it feels like there's not much left to give at the end of the day. But giving of ourselves is something that goes beyond wrapping paper and bows. Giving our love, our patience, our time, ourselves--to those around us, I think those are the gifts that last and that make the most difference. I think of Mimi and Taye, chopping vegetables in the kitchen the night before Christmas, and I see the gift of love they freely gave us. Presents and smiles and Christmas magic and families together--those memories are part of me, they're part of all the love I received growing up, and that's what I want for my own children.

Ashtyn took a "tradition box" to school this week and shared one holiday tradition that our family has with her class. She shared the tradition of reading the Christmas story, and in her box was a little Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus. How sweet is that.

What do you want for Christmas, loveys? There are the rather lofty (but very heartfelt) wishes of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. There are the practical wishes like popcorn makers and lotion and DVDs. Then there are those things we crave . . . peace for our family. Love and romance with our partner. Endurance to get through the season with everyone happy and healthy. For our children to know that there's more to all this than just wrapped packages. For our spirit to remember the wonder of the Nativity story. For the people around us to feel loved.

And we want to feel loved. There's something about feeling loved that gives us the endurance to go above and beyond. It starts with us. With giving the gift of ourselves, with loving the people around us.

There's a lot to do, I know. For me too. Work and family and dishes and shopping. And there's less than 2 weeks until the big day. I suppose I can let it overwhelm me, or I can embrace all of it and count myself lucky to have friends and family to love and share my life with. I've finally been feeling a few more kicks now that I'm 6 months along with this pregnancy. Each kick is a reminder that there's one more person to love. I think she really likes gingerbread cookies. :)

Merry Christmas, loveys. Take a moment to think of what your soul is wishing for this Christmas. I hope you're heart is filled with love for the people in your life.               

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