December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

I entered this holiday season with something I have rarely known before in life.  A complete and total sense of indifference.  I have always been the leader of Christmas cheer and prided myself in bringing it to peopel who find it elusive.  Even the year I was sixteen and had no place to call home, I was warmed with the spirit of joy that surrounds the Christmas holidays.

Yet, I remember a day early in December, in a moment of sheer despair looking at my family and telling them flat out that there was nothing that felt happy or Christmas like to me so they would have to figure it all out themselves this time.

Still, I did all I've known to do for most of this year.  I kept moving forward.  Each day putting one foot in front of the next, going through the motions that have always filled our home and family with joy... hoping that eventually, it would take.

And still, all I could see was the long list of loss and the inevitable ache of spending the holidays without my family.  Not because of sickness, distance or circumstance.  But because it was their choice.  Several of my friends lost a parent this year and they would have given anything to have one more Christmas, hour or minute with them.  What I saw was my parents living minutes away and siblings who were choosing to keep their distance.  Truly the pain has been a crushing weight in my chest that makes it hard for me to breathe.

But the Lord is so good.  What He reminded me of, was that my life and heart and home are filled with all that really matters most.  I have Him, my wonderful Saviour.  I have a husband who could be the model for all husbands.  I have 7 children here in my arms everyday who love their family and love the Lord and live to grow more in His image every day.  I have the blessing of knowing that Jesus holds in His arms the child we can't.

So through this valley, I will continue to say "Holy, My God you are worthy of all my praise!"  And isn't that enough?  Even through the many tears we shed this holiday season, He gave us many moments of sheer delight and joy to remind us He is in control.  He loves us, His children.  He will use all of 2010 for His glory.  He will fill 2011 with His unspeakable JOY!
A little something the girls found.
Christmas Eve... a minute with my girls during Happy Hour before dressing for dinner
Seven beautiful blessings under my Christmas tree
There must be mistletoe somewhere
Kaitlin, Brianna and Emma always set the most beautiful tables.
Don't you just love the excitement of children on Christmas Eve?  It is so CONTAGIOUS!
A picture is worth a thousand words
After we tuck the kids in and dreams of sugar plums dance through their heads, Allen and I sit up for two hours putting ribbons and bows on packages as we listen to Christmas music on the Delilah show.
By one O'clock, I was worn out.
Elisabeth had no trouble getting into the spirit of package ripping!
While the big storm that was predicted missed us, we did enjoy snow showers throughout the morning.
These eyes have amazed me since the minute Emma was born.
Yes, it is snowing.  Yes, they are in their pajamas.  Yes, they are trying out their new training swords in the front yard. 
Brianna is an interesting mix of Allen and I.  She has been really wanting some software to help in her design work which Allen happily gave her for Christmas.  What you can't see is her other gift, which was a year subscription to her favorite magazine, Martha Stewart Living.
We have so many dolls around our house, that we never thought to get Elisabeth one.  She was so excited to find her very own Bitty Baby and outfits for her and dolly to match.  (Moms if you have not checked out eBay yet, you really must. This dress that goes for more than $45 in the American Girl catalog was a mere $8 with shipping included on eBay.  It looked brand new.)  
We were are delighted to have Uncle Frank join us.
What can make a man happier than carving a roast for Christmas dinner?
Aedan's favorite gift... his new Treasure Study Bible.  
After dinner Kaitlin played piano for us while we all digested.  
Emma practiced with her new calligraphy pens.
Uncle Frank taught the kids how to make balloon animals.  Mostly, I bet, so they would stop asking him to make them.
Nathaniel's successful dog.
Later in the evening we had friends in for sandwiches, cookies, egg nog and caroling.  
The men folk had to lead the way, as my voice is still a big squeaky croak.  Seriously wondering if I will ever sing again without hurting the ears of those around me.
Fortunately, what we lack in talent, we make up for in enthusiasm.
Some of the children played a few Christmas selections for us.
What I love about our kids is that I never hear what they want for Christmas or what they will get.  It is always about what they want to give to others.  They are always excited about their opportunity to give their gifts to each other and especially Pa and Mama.  They take such amazing care finding just the right gift and will spend an hour or more wrapping everything in what they consider the most beautiful way possible.  Each child gets a day to present their gifts and they do it with enthusiasm and flair.
Praising the Lord for the happiest and most successful Christmas season yet!

4 comments :

  1. So glad you had such a beautiful Christmas! I am sorry about your extended family - and I hope there can be reconciliation if God wills.

    Blessings in 2011!

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  2. I, too, had a season of indifference. For what it's worth, you captured some beautiful moments in your photographs and writing about them will keep the treasured memories close. You have such a beautiful family and I really admire it. Often, when I read your posts, I feel like I'm living a dream and wish my family life could be the same. :)

    My extended family has been separated for 10 years and it makes my heart ache, especially at Christmas. You are not alone and I'll pray for you and your family as I pray for mine.

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  3. What a beautiful Christmas you had. I just love your large family. Have a very Happy New Year...

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  4. dear Christmas Past, but not the memories,

    Thank you for what youv'e shared about your family Christmas. Your photos captured some very sweet moments.
    Ours was very quiet, just our 4 who are still home. Every year is different for us here at Keoni Country. This time it was what we all needed, to be together...safe...sound....and happy.
    love,
    A cozy Christmas
    in
    NE

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