Glory to God in the Highest! And Peace to His People on Earth!!!
Thus was the greeting the angels gave to the lowly shepherds on that wondrous Christmas Eve more than 2000 years ago! It is the same today as it was two millenia ago. Christ has come! Emanuel is with us! It is for this reason that we celebrate this season, and rejoice in the beauty of this time. That being proclaimed, I have THIS to say: Christmas is for Kids! And by that I mean that as a grown up, (ugh! What a terrible thought!) I can totally appreciate the bliss youth afforded me. Man! All the shopping and rushing and worrying about gifts and decorating and wrapping. I'm stressing just thinking about it all, and I have an ENTIRE year until I have to do all this again!
I have wonderful Christmas memories of Mom transforming the house into a wonderland that rivaled Santa's Workshop, Dad stringing lights and cursing them the entire time, Katie and I wrapping our few meager Christmas gifts (that we purchased at school off a lunch table, none costing more than a whopping .75 cents!), and our biggest worry was if we remembered to leave milk and cookies out for Santa and carrots out for his reindeer! I so miss those days. But being surrounded by kids this time of year really reminds me of how wonderful those Christmases were, and how much Mom and Dad sacrificed to make those memories special. This year I was especially reminded of all that my parents did to make sure that my sister and I had these memories to hold on to and to want to make the same memories for our future families.
This year was a big one for all of us. Katie and Chris had their third child, a son! (See the above cutie-pie!) Mom and Dad sold a house that they loved, and built a beautiful new home, and I moved to Ponte Vedra. And we all had tight budgets, especially Katie and Chris. Those two wanted their kids to have the same Christmas memories we were blessed with, but it didn't look too promising. They managed to have a lovely Christmas, if I do say so myself, but that came after much sacrifice and worry filled nights wondering how it would all work out. Katie and I had a heart to heart about this just before Christmas day, and I thought of something that I wanted to share with anyone who may be reading this.
Kids like getting presents, of course they do! But that really isn't the end all for them. It's being with the people they love, and feeling that love. Ten years from now they more than likely won't remember the Christmas of 2007 as the year that they didn't get a lot of gifts from Santa. Rather they will remember 2007 in a string of cherished memories of Christmases past where their family was together and celebrated the birth of the Savior with zeal as they did each year. Katie, Chris and all the kids had a wonderful Christmas, none of the kids cried out on Christmas Morning, "HEY! There are WAY more fewer presents then LAST year!!!" (Note the double possitive!) They were very happy with what they had, and even happier that the people they loved were with them. One day Katie's kids are going to appreciate all that their parents did for them, but for now, it sure is fun watching them tear into those packages, ooh and aww over them, and then toss them aside for the next one! Kids make the holidays mean more, they make them special. I am so blessed to be surrounded by kids who make each day special, and filled with wonder. It is my prayer that I always be surrounded by children, and that their awe may always be my own. On that note:
May you be blessed with the JOY of the true meaning of Christmas , and the wonder of the faith of a child. And may your 2008 be filled with Faith, Family, and Friends in Christ!
Be good and God bless!