Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Time

I started out the month of December wanting to shake things up and do it a little differently. I wanted our kids to see Christmas for what it really was, not a wish list, not a "Santa will bring me this" but a time of joy and merriment, a time when we see what an important night it was thousands of years ago when Emmanuel took his first human breath in that stable. I always start Christmas this way, wanting them to see what it was like on that first Christmas and I am never able to fully get the impact that I have in my heart across to them, understanding that I don't even get the full realization of how important and monumental it was.   I realized this year that the impact is different for each person and grows the more we come to love Jesus.  Certainly there are things I can teach, the history of Christ's coming, the birth story and the life of Jesus.  I can teach of His love for us, that He was God, that He left perfect heaven to come to an imperfect world, that once we get to heaven we will never want leave and He knowingly left for each of us.  Those things I can teach but so many aspects of Christmas I have to contently wait for them to understand.  I have to wait for their love of Jesus to grow, not rushing, but giving God the time He needs to show Himself to them on His time. 

This year we did gifts a little differently, instead of lots of things they wanted we told them they would each get 5 presents from Momma and Daddy.  The gifts were one from each of these categories;  want, need, wear, read and eat.  It made our job of selecting gifts much more fun and we were able to stay organized through it all.  I enjoyed selecting creative things from each category and seeing how much they enjoyed them.  
 We also did Christmas morning differently.  We let them each go through their stockings, look at their board games that were left by Old St. Nick and enjoy those. Then after an hour we opened our first gifts, either one family gift from grandparents or they each could choose one of their own.  Then they enjoyed that gift, we cleaned up and gave them to time to refocus on what Christmas was about.  We sang Christmas songs, did Bible readings, quoted,"The story of Christ's birth" they have been memorizing.  Then about an hour and half later we opened another.  It was wonderful, the anticipation for gifts lasted all day.  We opened our last gifts at 4:00 in the afternoon and still had the same joy and enthusiasm as we did at 7:00 that morning.  
Doing Christmas this way gave Corey and I time to talk about why they got certain things, to play with them and to see them enjoy their gifts.
My favorite things about this day:
* waking up and seeing how excited our children were over what was in their stockings, Corey and I went to bed thinking, "this is way to simple." We were wrong.
* smelling ham baking first thing in the morning
*my girls sitting in their room, huddled together, dressing dolls and playing 
*the excitement from both set of boys and the contrast and similarities in them 
*a day filled with singing little voices
*Jett says "Ha,Ha,Ha" instead of "Ho,Ho,HO"
*there are no ornaments at the bottom of the tree, Joel seems to think they are toys, so now the ornaments are all at the top and there are actual toys stuck in the bottom that he put there

I am still floating on Christmas spirit this morning, knowing that I should probably run errands today,  put up some Christmas decorations and get things ready for our New Year.  How hard it is to leave the relaxation of the moment and begin again.

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