Wednesday, January 1, 2014

This is Christmas

I haven't had a chance to blog about Christmas because I've been trying to get this angel off my head for the last week.

She's actually now in my trash can because I've had her forever, there's a short in her system so she can't be plugged into the lights unless you want to hear a constant, "EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!" sound, and her dress is torn. That angel has seen better days, is what I'm saying. But I'm a sentimental sap so I had to march straight to the trash can and toss her in without any fanfare. Now those sanitation workers need to come to my house RIGHT QUICK and take her away before I fish her out.

The tree is also gone because WHOA FIRE HAZARD. I've never had a tree lose more pine needles than that one did. It's truly a wonder that our tree didn't catch fire and burn our house straight to the ground.

Christmas for us is always a slow, drawn out affair.

AND WE WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. I read my friends' accounts of AWAKE at 6:00 and finished with presents by 8:30 and it makes me so sad. I mean, to each her own but y'all really should be jealous of how my family does it. Envious. Green eyed monster attacks.

We start the festivities with our candle light service at church on Christmas Eve. Truly, I love Christmas Eve so much more than Christmas day. On Christmas Eve, the magic of the day hasn't come. We wait in eager anticipation--for the celebration of the birth of our Lord, for the gifts, for the family togetherness.

When we get home from church, we sit with our boys and read the story of Christ's birth out of Luke 2. Then, we open presents from Troy's side of the family. After that, we get the boys in bed. One of my favorite holiday traditions comes just after the boys are nestled into their beds with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Except not really because they don't know what sugar plums are. Come to think of it, I don't know that I know what sugar plums are. Ah well. Once they're in bed, Troy and I sit in the dark in the living room, with our eyes fixed on the tree. The house is quiet. The tree twinkles with lights. We sit together and talk in hushed voices. And sometimes we don't even talk at all. I know that's hard for you to believe but I promise it's so.

On Christmas morning we get up whenever the boys do. This year, Garrett woke up around 7:30 and Matthew stayed asleep for almost another hour. We started opening our stockings at about 8:45. It's lovely the way we delay gratification. Our boys, at just 7 and 4, love to draw every moment out of the day. We got good ones.

The boys get their gifts from Santa--a stocking and ONE gift. They are only allowed to ask Santa for ONE thing. Santa only brings ONE thing. This year, they wanted skateboards.

Once we finish our stockings--which takes about a half hour because we take turns and there is only ever one person opening a gift at a time--I make a big breakfast. The boys enjoy their Santa stuff while I cook. When we're finished with breakfast, Troy does the dishes. We get dressed.

This year, my parents arrived before we began round two of the morning. We helped them unload and then we all sat down and they watched us open our family gifts. Troy and I buy the boys a want, a need, a wear and a read. (As a general rule. Although this year they both got two "wears" and a stuffed toy as well.)

From us, Garrett received: A bathing suit for next summer and a pair of pajamas, a book, a stuffed Woodstock, a sled and a military tank toy.

Matthew received: A pair of pajamas, thick gloves, a book, a stuffed Charlie Brown, a sled and a Scooby Doo mystery mobile toy.

Again, we take turns. It generally takes almost an hour for us to do our family portion.

My parents came bearing gifts. But, in our DRAG IT OUT, MAN fashion, we had a light snack before opening the things they brought from California. (Like this adorable cop costume from my brother and sister-in-law because Matthew LOVES himself some dress up.)


By the time we were finished, it was mid afternoon.

It's slow. And quiet. (I mean, as quiet as our house ever is which is the equivalent of NOT VERY QUIET.) There is no ripping and no shredding. There is not a lick of chaos. We try not to focus on the gimme gimme gimme aspect of Christmas.

We try to remember what it's really about. It's all about a Savior, in a manger, who came to die so that we might live. God, made flesh. The Word, who spoke the world into existence, humbling Himself, entering His own creation, to seek and save the lost.

This is Christmas.

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