January 01, 2016

Condensing Christmas

My favorite quote to remember each Christmas season is the tail end of a thought by one of our church leaders I once heard,

" . . . yet Christmas is what we make of it."

That has stuck with me year after year.  If we are harried or stressed, overly busy or wiped out by all of the "Christmas" doings, it is because that is what we chose to make of Christmas.

Knowing that I was going to be having major surgery two weeks prior to Christmas, I knew I needed to condense our celebrations and traditions into two weeks of what matters most.  My OCD-self insists that I always have my shopping AND wrapping done by Thanksgiving so the Christmas season can be about more important things to me than that.

We went with Grandma and our cousins to the Christmas village at Busch Gardens Amusement park with the other four kids while Bridger was enjoying time at Jill's House, his respite lodge.  It was a balmy 70 deg and was a scene straight from Norman Rockwell.

Knowing that was going to be bedridden for the two weeks prior to Christmas and not able to be the mom I would like to be, I took the kids each on a special date alone with me.  It was cute when reflecting on her date during the ride home, Sadie said to me, "Mom, you know the movie Inside Out?  Well tonight was a Core Memory for me." 

We celebrated with our tradition of attending the U.S. Army band's annual Christmas Concert at Constitution Hall. Bridger had a tender moment shown on the jumbo tron and the PBS broadcast of Santa coming down from the stage and the two exchanging a hug.

We played our traditional PRIZE game.  All the kids said that this year's version was their favorite yet.  Perhaps it is because I didn't wrap up any gag gifts in the mix like a package of toilet paper or bottle of syrup.  That never goes over well with Bridger.

I had my surgery on the 12th.  It was rough.  I told Alan to go pick me out a cute funeral outfit.  That was spoken with 97% drama and 3% assurance that I really thought at one point after the surgery that I was going to die.  It was (and still is) a hard recovery.

We had an outpouring of love from friends and supporters.  My heart gets a lot more tender in times such as this and my perspective and view of the tender mercies that God pours out on me and my family throughout this special journey overflows my heart.

I loved everything about this Christmas -- I love that it was simple.  I love that it was condensed.  I love that it was full of everything that matters most.