Christmas this year was markedly different from our festivities last year and both have a special corner of my heart all to themselves.
Christmas this year meant embracing some new traditions and appreciating some old ones.
It was being together with family and not taking that for granted.
It was celebrating with old and new friends.
It was eating so much delectable and abundant food I might be wearing stretchy pants for a few months.
It was dressing in shiny new sweaters and glittery skirts.
It was finishing our Advent celebration as a family, reading scripture and J and I smiling at each other when the girls could recite some of the verses.
It was lighting our last candle and blowing them out in our PJ’s.
It was full of travel and falling snow.
It was wearing two pairs of socks instead of flip flops.
It was watching our girls taken with all the decorations and gifts under the tree.
It was giggling and being thankful for the gift of cousins all being together.
It was big smiles and bigger hugs to say thank you for special presents selected with care.
It was being blessed by seeing the thought that went into the gifts we received that are not meaningful because of the price tag but because of the people who know us and wanted to bless us.
It was crazy amounts of bright and crinkly paper scattered across the floor.
It was realizing I can be a bit harsh on the “we don’t need anything” position.
It was watching my girls treasure carefully selected gifts and be grateful for them.
It was watching my oldest daughter so excited to have her own copy of God’s Word lovingly selected by Bibi Rhoda.
It was a quiet prayer in my heart that she will always love His Word this much
It was being with my family and playing games and laughing at our drawing and acting (or lack thereof) skills.
It was cold bursts of air cooling the warmth from the fire every time the door was opened.
It was Auntie Katy being home and two little girls following her around cuz she is that cool.
It was racing to my mom’s church from the city and making it just in time to worship together and sing Christmas carols (in English!)
It was getting to sit by Great Grandpa and his ever present green onions and being grateful for 4 generations together at the table. It was simultaneously missing Great Grandma so much tears came easily.
It was the small stuff like a little glass angel for Miss Anni that she has been admiring hanging in my mom’s car for years, now her very own.
It was the not so small stuff like opening a BIG box of gifts assembled by Bibi hinting at the message on the bottom…
It was the anticipation in air as a room full of adults waited for the moment the girls realized the note from my parents said: “We’re going to Disney World!”
And it was the screeching with glee that soon followed.
It was sitting front row for a special performance of Cinderella.
It was converse sneakers and princess dresses.
It was remembering that in all the excess the message can get lost but only if we allow it to crowd the place in our hearts to remember, reflect, and be grateful. We are so thankful we get to be part of Christmas in America this year and we are changed forever because of the gift of Jesus.