This Christmas season was not at all perfect and the way that I expected.
I didn't finish doing the Jesse tree ornaments with my kids. I had wonderful intentions, but I got behind and then never caught up again.
I didn't cook or bake as much as usual this December.
I didn't do tons and tons of fun things with my kids after that first week of December.
My house wasn't perfectly clean every day this month either, and if I am being completely honest, I will admit that except for our beloved Christmas tree with its magical and twinkly lights, I am done with all the other Christmas clutter. Glitter is heavily overrated.
I would love to say here that I shopped, but I didn't even do that. My husband did. (Kudos to him~he is quite the guy.) The only thing that I did accomplish that was close to his amazing shopping skills was to encourage my kids to add things to their list every day. Because the man loves a good, long list.
I didn't even take any pictures of Christmas day, or the gifts my kids got.
On the up side, I did do some things that matter more, at least to me.
I read my Bible every single day this month. I hold dear this time that I spend doing this, because without the reading of God's word, I would not know Him.
I was completely overwhelmed every single day that I read about Him in those beautiful pages of the Bible that's slightly worn and well loved in the year that I've had it. I was so overwhelmed that sometimes I couldn't even pray adequately, whatever THAT means. Some days all I could do was just cry and say, "Thank you, Jesus" over and over and over again.
I was able to read through the Bible this year with my precious dad and his wife Sandy. And I loved being able to discuss it with him each and every Friday.
I was able to sit and stare at our beautiful tree with its magical and twinkly lights with my kids.
I watched any and every Christmas movie they wanted to watch, and yes we laughed a lot, even though we have seen the same movies a thousand times.
I sang and sang and sang all the Christmas carols that my heart desired, and I was fortunate enough to hear my kids singing the same songs along with me.
I spent precious time with my family.
I spent precious time with my closest friends.
I sat with my husband in the peaceful silence of the easiest Christmas eve we have ever had in all our fifteen years of being parents. (I have to stop and explain~last night after we got home from my Dad's, all the boys went right to bed. I came inside and got in my pajamas and when Todd got home from retrieving their Christmas gifts from his warehouse, he did the same. We watched While You Were Sleeping and I sat and stuffed stockings. After it was over, we brought the gifts inside and went to bed. Before midnight. It was perfect and beautiful and simple.)
I enjoyed two date nights with my handsome fella over the course of two weeks.
We talked on the phone more than we usually do, this wonderful man of mine and I. And I loved it and cherished each second. He is usually so consumed with his work schedule that he can't even answer a text message, so each time he called me, my heart got all warm and fuzzy inside.
We spent quality time together as a family, and Todd developed a wonderful new habit of going upstairs with the boys each night and playing games and just talking to them before they go to sleep.
I was one hundred percent present in all of the celebrations this year. Not that I'm ever not present, but I'm always so intent on getting pictures that sometimes I let that take precedence over actually being present. I am happy to say that that wasn't the case this year. I got just a couple of pictures, and they were because I was asked to.
We were able to attend, as a family, our candlelight Christmas eve service at church, and I got to sit beside one of my most special and dear friends. On a beautiful night of worship, she was the bonus that I hadn't counted on.
I celebrated Jesus with my family. Each and every single day. And I will continue to do so this year. Each and every day. And every other day as long as He has me alive on this earth. Because really, that is what Christmas is. Were it not for my beloved Savior, there would not be this life worth living. It's all from Him and for Him and to Him. I hold loosely my blessings~my husband, my children, my family, my friends. It's all His. They're all His. We all are His and are to bring Him glory. Not just on this one day, but on every day.
Today was a wonderful day of worshiping Him.
It wasn't at all perfect and Hallmark-y, but it was different and simple and beautiful. It's been a rough past few weeks, but through it all and all the other ups and downs of life, God has been infinitely good to us. My heart has broken for dear friends recently, and the Lord has shown me mercy time and time again during this time. I have been broken for them, and I have been completely and totally humbled by His amazing and perfect love.
So you see, even though this season wasn't perfect, it was worshipful and I pray that it was honoring to my Jesus.
I look forward to the close of this year and to the endless possibilities of the coming new. I look forward to celebrating family and friendships, both new and old. I look forward to seeing some answered prayers about the salvation of some of my loved ones. And I look forward to thanking God for that and for hearing every word that pours out of my mouth to Him.
I will leave you with the few pictures that I did manage to get. I pray that today was a special day for your family, no matter what that looked like. And I pray that the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, will rest upon you and yours this day and all the days to follow in the coming year.
Merry Christmas, my friends. Love to all.