Here in Indiana, we've had our first bite of winter. I missed a big storm last weekend when I was in Raleigh. The piles of that storm are still along the roadways but as I drove up to Winona Lake, those snow mounds emitted vapor and fog, given the highway an eerie vibe. Friday and Saturday met us with a constant, chilly rain and this morning, the streets are coated with ice.
Ah winter. We Midwesterners keep up the mantra: we like the snow, we like the snow, we like.....
I used to wonder why the old folks all congregate in the warmer climes. Now, it's "Ah ha!"
And that's where I'm headed. Mom and I will celebrate Christmas 2013 together. I've heard that other family members will venture into the mix.
Then, next Saturday, oh my! I'll grab some grandboys' hands and skip aboard the Disney Fantasy for a week even farther south. What a couple o' weeks!
For the most part, I can step back from the craziness and rush rush rush of this season. I know that many friends get juiced when all the parties and presents and fa la la swirl around them but that's never been me...or us. And I really didn't let anything or anybody bully me into any other way.
Our family traditions included gathering in the living room, Christmas morning. I brought in the platter of fresh yeast cinnamon rolls and an egg casserole. Mike read from the Christmas story in Luke 2. We had a big big Bible that was reserved just for that reading. When he finished, it was on to the stockings.
Both kids had stockings that were created by Gramma Hayes. They were huge. and THIS mom was not one to stuff them with expensive items. My kids usually found note books and pens, new toothbrushes, some stickers and Pez containers....nothing too much. However, one tradition that I began when each was 3....there was always a wrapped box of Thank You notes in the stockings. We had an understanding: we did not leave the tree room until the notes were written.
I had a plan to teach them to write notes. It worked with one of two adult children. 50%. I'll take it.
Then, the serious tearing began. We opened one gift at a time and the others would look on with feigned interest, eyeing the next goody. Mike's major contribution was to gather up the wrapping paper and stuff it in a trash bag as we went along. Whew. Notes written and then the kids retreated to their bedrooms for serious sorting and play.
We never did the big meal. Some Christmas days, we stayed in our jammies all day. I vaguely remember a Battleship marathon that reached into the evening. And sometimes...many times...yes...Mike would return to the office. Sadly, Christmas Day is a big problem for some people and if a client needed Mike's help, even on Christmas, he was available.
Did we feel neglected? Placed second? Deserted? No no and no. This was our husband's/father's profession. His clients knew that they could count on Mike when they needed him. That was one of the qualities I loved about my husband.
So, as I move into a very different Christmas season, how goes it? It goes great. The holiday often brings memories to the forefront. My memories are the good ones.
With few distractions or obligations, I find myself marveling again at the story of the baby, his young mother, the manger, the star, the path of Jesus' life that led to the cross and our salvation.
My prayer for you, so many of whom have prayed for us and continue to pray for me, is that you will find the wonder in this season. The God of the Universe became flesh and dwelt among us. He came to die for our sins. He rose and conquered death. We can cling to the hope of heaven.
I know that my dear Mike is walking with his Savior. He is healed and whole. Praise to God.