When I was a much younger woman I had visions of what the Christmas season would be like for my own little family. After all, the memories of my childhood Christmas' were precious and perfect. During the week after Thanksgiving we would all hike out to the woods that surrounded our house and cut down the perfect Cedar tree. I overlooked the little pricks and pokes my little hands received while hanging each ornament on the tree. Most of our ornaments were handmade. Every year we would create a new ornament and even during the years we were living in plenty we made new ornaments for the tree. We would carefully place Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus in their place of honor...surrounded by angel hair and votive candles. Baking and Candy Making. What magic! The hot peanut brittle. The Christmas fudge. Mexican wedding cookies. And don't forget the delicious Christmas cutout cookies. We made dozens and dozens and dozens of cookies and homemade candies. Neighbors, church folks alike would benefit from our baking marathon madness. We would gather around the TV like every other American family to watch Rudolph, Frosty, The Nutcracker Ballet (my fav) and It's A Wonderful Life. We would read the Christmas Story...of the birth of Jesus and sing those beautiful carols for everyone to hear.
I've tried to recreate many of those memories for my son. Though we have an artificial tree. And I might go all Ninja if anybody even attempts to wave a fudge recipe in front of my face this year. I'm losing weight here, folks! It was Josiah's job this year to set out our Nativity. And he and I have plans to wrap presents later on this week...after making handmade tags. We have a collection of Christmas movies...with some new favorites in the mix.
I've tried not to think about our lack this year. New medical bills were added this year. Food prices, gas prices, prices in general..all have gone up. Yet our income stays the same. There never seems to be enough. Yet, I am reminded that those memories I have of my childhood Christmas' don't really include what I received under the tree or in my stocking. I do have a few treasured memories of gifts, of course. My set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books, a pair of purple parachute pants and those red roper boots I got when I thought I was in love with a cowboy. But my most precious memories come from time spent with family. We celebrated. We celebrated our Savior's birth. And we celebrated by giving to others...mostly sacrificially and from the heart.
So this year...in our lack...I am savoring each moment spent together. Each carol sung. Each story read. We are talking about the Baby whose birthday we celebrate and encouraging each other to celebrate Him every day of the year...
In our tiny hall we hung a Thanksgiving Tree this year. Made with butcher paper (I painted gold) it is filled with leaves that we each wrote our "Blessings" on. Of course, Josiah's vary from "food" to "Luke Skywalker," but I am hopeful that he is learning to count his blessings. We have so many. I left the Thanksgiving Tree up. It reminds me of God's faithful blessings...and his promises. I am hoping when Josiah is grown he won't remember Christmas for what he didn't have or didn't get...I'm hoping he'll remember Christmas for what he gave and the "Gift" that was given all of us so long ago.