Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas, really?

It seems that lately I haven't been able to find any words for this little blog of mine.  Not that there haven't been things to blog about, there are plenty of things I want to share.  But, it seems that each time I sit down, fingers poised over the keyboard, my mind goes blank and the words just won't transfer from my brain to my fingers.  It makes me sad to think of all the things that I wanted to write about that I have missed ... kids' birthdays, school struggles and triumphs, LB's first play, JW's leading role in the Christmas musical, and the list goes on ... 

So, what is it that has finally prompted me to actually force the words from my brain to the screen?  I suppose it could be coming to the end of another year and looking forward to a new one ... that always makes me a bit reflective.  I don't really know the answer, but maybe I'll be able to find my way out of this blogging slump since I really do miss sharing regularly.

This has been the most un-Christmas like Christmas ever for our family.  We almost didn't even put up a tree and we didn't get out any of our decorations except for the Nativity scene that LB insisted we couldn't have Christmas without.  We did finally buy a very small tree less than a week before Christmas and decorate it with the new ornaments that we have received this year.  We jokingly called it our Charlie Brown tree.  I didn't even begin shopping until the week before Christmas and even then we basically only shopped for the kids.

We didn't plan for this to be an unusually small Christmas, but then things don't always go as we have planned, now do they?  I said several times that I couldn't figure out how we got from Dec. 1st to the 15th without my noticing the passing of time, but we did.  During the first half of this month, all three kids were in a production with our home school group.  LB was in her first play and the boys were in a Christmas musical.  

The following week, it became clear that Ronnie's grandmother would likely not live until Christmas, so he made a flying trip to the coast to see her.  He had only been home a few hours when the news came that she had passed away and we began making preparations to return to the coast for the funeral.  Her life should have a blog-post all its own, but I'll simply say that she lived all of her 96 years well and that her family is a testimony to her love for the Lord and her willingness to serve Him.

Ronnie, LB and I returned home on Sunday (leaving the boys with Ronnie's Mom) to try to get the house ready for his Mom to come stay with us for Christmas.  Again, this could be a post all its own, but suffice it to say that I have been reminded, in a very clear way, that I really need to get a better handle on keeping my home clean and organized.  A new continued project from years past, that I will take into 2013 ... maybe this will be the year I succeed!

So, Granny and the boys arrive on Wednesday (as in the 19th) and with her help we got the shopping done ... in other words, she kept the kids while I shopped.  It is a good thing that we basically finished on Friday, since she and Ronnie spent Saturday in the ER finding out that he had cellulitis (an infection under the skin) and not a blood clot in his leg.  We were supposed to spend Saturday with my family, but LB was sick and Ronnie was in the ER so I stayed home.  The boys did go, though they shouldn't have since they were both sick before the weekend was over.

And that brings us to another first for us, (we've never before NOT put out any of our normal decorations) all three kids were sick on Christmas.  JW was the most miserable, though they were all coughing, sneezing, and running low grade temps.  He was so miserable that he had to force himself to open his gifts and then he just set them aside took to the couch.  They have felt so bad that they didn't leave the house for a full week and when we finally ventured out today, they kept asking if they could please go home!

So, why all this talk of the Christmas that almost didn't come?  Because it has caused me to reflect on what Christmas really means to me.  Oh, don't get me wrong, I know the true meaning of Christmas, but what I am questioning is the place that Christmas has in MY heart.  Does worshiping my Savior come somewhere behind all the traditions that have always been important to me?  This year, with everything stripped bare, I have been able to see more clearly the things that need to change ... not in how I decorate or in how many presents I buy, but in my heart.

There was a song in our Christmas musical this year called What Christmas Really Means and it sums up how I have been feeling much better than any words I can come up with.  I wish that I could find it for you to listen to, but the printed words will have to suffice.  It is kind of long, but oh, so worth it.

We're invited to the sacred manger
where Glory sleeps upon the hay,
to bow in wonder at the myst'ry
of all that is fulfilled this day.
Oh hallelujah!  Where there was darkness,
now heaven's Light has intervened.
A child is born and we watch breathless
to see what Christmas really means.

We're invited to relive the journey
from Bethlehem to Calvary.
The Lamb will lead us to the hillside
where ev'ry willing soul is freed.
Oh hallelujah! He dies to save us,
and we fall silent at the scene.
Oh, pierce our hearts to feel the sorrow.
This is what Christmas really means.

We're invited to the tomb, now empty
for dawn has come and hope is here.
The curse is swallowed up in vict'ry,
and there is nothing left to fear.
Oh hallelujah! Jesus has risen.
Come sing the song of the redeemed
as we proclaim to men and angels,
behold what Christmas really means.

Oh hallelujah! We'll shout forever.
Love's final chapter is complete.
And He will reign and we will worship.
Oh hallelujah to the King.

As I contemplate the end of another year, I want to begin 2013 with an attitude of worship ... not because the calendar tells me that some day has been set aside to recognize what my Savior has done for me, but because Jesus lives in my heart and that is the only reason I should need.