Christmas is almost here.
I contemplate this as my littles are having their daily "rest time" and I am having my daily "momma time". Today that entails a cup of coffee, cozy chair and blanket, and the lights of my Christmas tree.
Lest you think my life is perfect, let me fill in the gaps--the tree is beautiful to us but consists mainly of my ornaments from childhood until now (that 26 years of ornaments), ones my littles have created, and some random ones we have picked up along the way. Not exactly a Pottery Barn Christmas tree. The multi-color lights aren't even my favorite--I prefer white lights. There's far too few wrapped gifts under the tree (with many more in the attic that need my attention). The cover is off my couch being washed which leaves an old couch and ugly cushions on the floor while the dog curls up on the bare couch. The dining room is in shambles (as is the kitchen) which is typical after lunch. But, there's something cozy about this time of year and enjoying life in the messes it brings.
As I was unloading those precious littles out of the car earlier, I thought, "I just wish we didn't have to continue 'real life' so we could simply enjoy this Christmas season." By real life I mean, can we put all chores on hold until after Christmas? That's totally absurd, but I'd like to. I love Christmas. I don't like winter and cold, but I love Christmas.
I love the traditions and all things festive!
Last night I watched some "home videos" of my sister and me at Christmas when we were 5 and 7 years old. Wow! Memories!
I keep running across all these blog posts about simplifying Christmas, ditching the holiday baking, saying "NO" to decorations. While I totally understand--I want a simple Christmas too, and we have canceled our annual Christmas Eve gathering this year to free up time for our family--I don't fully agree with all these posts.
I have so many memories of Christmases with my family growing up. Was it hectic? Yep! Was it tiring? Yes! But it was fun and oh-so-memorable! My family celebrated everything (for real, my mom made an entire cake shaped like a pencil for the first day of school my 2nd grade year...we're serious celebrators) and while that seems silly to some people, it made even every-day moments special. But when it came to the big holidays? Those were even more special.
There's just something about traditions that tie families together. Pulling out decorations and reminiscing on the stories behind them. Baking the same cookies year after year and recalling those years when all kinds of funny things happened while baking those cookies. Seeing how you have changed and NOT changed so much. Gazing on God's grace through traditions, decorations, and memories.
Life is hectic. We need to slow down. We need to simplify. But I believe we also need to carry on traditions that point us to God's grace in our lives. We are making strides to simplify our Christmas, but we are also striving to continue in traditions that bless others, bring to remembrance years gone by, and pass on memories and faith to the next generation.
It isn't something to stress-out over, but it something to be intentional about.
So while we are cutting out a few parties and freeing up a little space on the calendar this Christmas, we are also continuing with our Christmas decorations, baking traditions, and gift giving. Because those things are important in our family. And that's the bottom line.
Do what is important for your family--what is valued in your family--what brings your family to remember Christ this season and recall God's graces in your lives.
Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.