"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.""
I used to be textbook American. No Christmas allowed until the day AFTER Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving would come and go, and THEN the tree could be set up, decorations could be sorted, and holiday music could be turned on. But not this year.
Shortly after Halloween, our kids started asking about Christmas. "Is it Christmas yet?" "Two more weeks?" "Can we write letters to Santa?" "NOW is it Christmas?" At first I wondered if it was all about the toys... is Christmas to them, all about getting? But then I realized, no, to children it's not simply about receiving--it's the beauty in this season: warm scented candles, the soft glow of twinkling lights, anticipation of where to place their ornaments on the tree. It's setting the villages up, re-arranging all the porcelain people, the molasses cookies and time spent in the kitchen with their mom. It's family and warm blankets, more time for popcorn + movies on the couch as the temperatures steadily fall outside.
In my husband's family, Christmas IS their happy. All year long, they count down to December 25, and it's never too early to play Christmas carols or bust out a tree...sometimes even in September! So this year, when I told him that I was ready to start decorating, I think his heart leapt from his chest. And the more we got out from boxes in our basement, the more we wanted to set up. After we voted on Election Day (which was later a pretty traumatic day), we had a day-date and browsed Hobby Lobby. We decided to get the kids their own small tree, to set up in our son's bedroom. That night after dinner we spilled the good news, that WE would start decorating for Christmas! Quickly the villages came from their boxes, I was on timer duty for our homemade cookies, and Pierson exclaimed as he ran up the stairs with one in hand, "THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT EVER, MOMMY!"
Each year I've noticed that this holiday gets more magical, but hearing those words, that sweet proclamation from my sweet 4-year old, just proved that THIS is what our hearts need. Our country is currently amidst a lot of chaos. After the Election, some people were relieved and others mourned. Still, almost a week later, social media platforms are plastered in hateful jokes, hurtful statuses, and a lot of hostility. People are trying to convince their friends that they voted for the wrong person, they are trying to prove why or why not the President-Elect is a victory or failure. So we decided that our hearts needed to be lifted and the bricks needed to be taken off. We've decided; the more family, the more celebration, the more Jesus in our household...the better this month is going to be.
It is not yet winter, and Kentucky is bright with a still gorgeous Autumn, but I want to take it all in. The changing colors, the cooler air, the foggier mornings, and darker evenings. And I can't tell you how happy my heart is to come down the stairs (freezing cold, because we refuse to turn on the heat), and step on the floor button to turn on the Christmas tree. As the coffee brews, and my children race to the couch to be covered up by fuzzy blankets, we stare at the tree and are together. The world is out there. And while I love people outside of these walls, I have been reminded that here, is where matters the most.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I pray that in this season, you too will find peace. And whether or not you'll wait until after Thanksgiving has passed to do YOUR holiday decorating, may your heart find the joy and love it's been missing. I want to remember our children in these ever fleeting years; their laughter and footsteps racing up and down the stairwell. I want to remember the way in which they smiled as the lights were plugged in and the room around us began to glow. My daughter's voice whispering, "That is so BEAUTIFUL," as the star was placed on top. And I want to remember how I feel; here in my joggers, fuzzy socks, and sweatshirt, as the glow of the candle beside me warms my heart.
What is it that you love about Christmastime? I am so thankful for these memories, this old home, and the love that abides. I would love to hear from you! Will you comment below and tell me where you're reading this post from? What warms your heart in this possible season of cold and darkness? Wherever you are, know that you are loved, and I so appreciate you reading!