I have to admit, I LOVE Christmas. I love the twinkling lights, especially those we leave up and on throughout the winter months. I love the ornaments on the tree that tells us of years past. I love that I can finally give my little bargain treasures (think deep discounts on high quality items) that have tied up precious closet space to my loved ones and that their faces will light up with excitement. And it wouldn't be Christmas without my 3 Michael W. Smith Christmas albums playing 24/7. Ok, I did actually purchase 3 new Christian pop Christmas albums and they are incredible!! Thankfully, this isn't the Christmas that I have to "grin and bear it" because Mom and Dad aren't here. That may have been true last year, I honestly don't remember.
No, this is one of celebration. Our last Christmas in this home. A ministerial position that is just brimming with possibilities. Incredible memories of past childhood Christmases and bringing some of those favorite recipes to my own kitchen for my own little family to consume in 8.2 seconds. (But that is true of any food I drag in.) My favorites include cranberry bread, cherry wink cookies, pickled herring, and a new addiction, no bake oatmeal/peanut butter/chocolate cookies! I have not baked the same thing every year, but have continued to just do what I feel like baking. It's very freeing to be flexible like this, especially when so much change has happened in the last two years.
I only have ONE rule about Christmas: my family of (3,4,5) needs to be sleeping in their own beds on Christmas Eve and wake up Christmas morning and slowly enjoy opening gifts. THEN, and only THEN, can we go somewhere, perhaps around noon. This has been a struggle in the past because others have had differing ideas and combination of ideas of how it all could work. Sometimes saying, "no," even when it is a decent and thoughtful idea is necessary.
And one more random thought for you all. This week in particular has been quite peaceful. Ok, the kids are going a little stir crazy but I deserve that when I've purposefully have stayed home almost all week long. I mean, the kids and I haven't stepped out of the house since Tuesday afternoon! And we won't until tomorrow night. Plus, I let Benaiah have a little break from his studies (but he still has book reports due on the 3rd), and have done only the basics with Justin. I couldn't bring myself to stop doing lessons with Justin because he is doing so well!! He's annoyed that we have to sit down and do them, but when we don't take any breaks, he is proud of himself for doing it. He is my mini me in boy form, isn't he? Work and then you are free to play.
So, what have I done with all my "free" time this week? Well, in a word, "puttered." It is a term my mother used when she steadily went about her daily routine without rushing. I have learned that I don't have to always write a to do list. I have created enough breathing room in my expectations of myself, that I just have to continue to steadily work (and take a few breaks to play a certain Facebook game), and I know I will get it all done. It's just so refreshing to have that kind of self confidence, relying on God to help me do what He wants me to accomplish this week or next, or next month, or next year. And you know what? Having a laid back week like this has allowed me to catch up on all kinds of "I don't need to do this to survive, but it would be nice to get this done" projects completed or started or cleaned up. And I love that.
Truly less is more, especially when it comes to scheduling activities outside the home. I'd take another week or so like this but I know my kids crave interaction with other human beings so I'll come out of my dreamworld and hang out with my extended family some. I have noticed a drop in their fighting though, and they have demonstarted more cooperation when it is time to pick up their belongings.
And last, but not least, I love the excitement of seeing my kids' dream of having "movie night" on a regular basis come to fruition. Justin even said, "Watching a movie together is a great thing!" (or something like that.) That and playing lots and lots of board games...finally, I have other kids to play board games with! Speaking of, I won another round of Monopoly with Benaiah...in under 45 minutes! I'm on a roll!!
Merry Christmas, everyone! And remember that without Christmas, there would be no Christ to die for our sins so we can become sons and daughters of God once again! What a precious, invaluable gift, the gift of life!
God bless you! See you in the new year! - Melinda