The Christmas Tree Journey

The journey took over 50 years, but my travels this day lasted about an hour. Families have lots of traditions when it comes to trimming the #Christmas tree. Some have #ornaments that all match, and the tree glistens with coordinated bows and frills. Those with small children, may have all their ornaments clumped in one toddler-designed section of the tree. There are real trees, artificial-to-look-like real trees, and of course there are artificial that don colorful branches and sprays of fake snow-covered pine needles.

Our tree is typically real, and historically we’ve made an evening out of going and buying it from a local tree stand, bringing it home and letting it settle, then decorating it the next night. Our time together as a family is just about as close to movie-perfect as you can get. But as life goes, this year, our son was out of town for a marching band commitment (WKU at the Boca Raton Bowl), so it was my husband and me. It was a different kind of delightful 2-evening event. Yes, I had tearful moments; but that’s ok. It was a different kind of year, and my emotions needed to catch up.

My husband put the lights on the tree, and while he baked Christmas cookies, I traveled in time through each ornament I hung. If our tree had a theme, it would be our blessed moments. An ornament made of a Styrofoam ball that had orange yarn for my hair, and beads for my eyes, nose, and mouth, took me back to second grade and getting moved from my desk group for being too chatty. Ornaments from our son’s first year in baseball, or in 2008 when he learned to swim and water ski. The Hallmark boat ornament that looks just like our Moomba, my husband always hangs. For many years, when we would vacation, we would bring home an ornament so that the summer memory would be recaptured in December. Several trips to the beach, just the three of us, and a couple of years with my entire family. #Baseball trips to Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, and the Baseball Hall of Fame in New York. Disneyworld, Niagara Falls, New York, Chicago, oh, the places we’ve traveled! Our first married Christmas and our first home purchased together are represented with sparkles of white, and bright red ornaments. In 2002, I started adding an #angel ornament each year. Each represents something about my life; an Irish angel, an angel’s embrace has a small child in her arms, a dancing angel. Others are just peaceful and calming to ponder. The time we’ve shared and the memories we’ve made swirled and danced to the tunes of the Christmas carols playing while the smell of butter and sugar wafted from the kitchen.

Merry Christmas and peace to you and those you love.

KK


In a week

This time next week #Christmas will be done. The historical day that changed the lives of generations. For my larger family, the celebration together is being deferred to this summer, when hopefully we can all get together for some fun without masks and the worry of disease. For my husband, son, and I, it will be a quiet holiday together. In the little house we’ve been renting since July that has no room for a big tree. That’s ok our little #tree will shine brightly. We’ll be together, have our favorite snacks, a few of our traditional cookies, and presents, all the while anticipating our own big event. One we’ve been #praying about and working towards all year. The move to our new home.

Amid masked meetings with our builder, a house blessing event that had us socially distancing, God has guided conversations and frustrations. Around us, the world has been stifled by a #pandemic. We’ve had our share of pandemic stress but have carefully navigated through it always remembering that God is in charge and it’s our role to lean into Him and show His grace to others who have had a much rougher time this year.

All this anticipation makes me wonder about Mary’s anticipation, curiosity, and maybe a little fear, of what life will be like raising the Son of God. A young girl herself, did she feel inadequate? The Bible doesn’t tell of any additional visits from reassuring angels, but I wonder if the Holy Spirit didn’t guide a few conversations with Mary and her mother or other older women in the community. No doubt, Mary would have helped with younger#considerthis siblings. But it’s not the same when it’s your child; your responsibility.

I’m rambling a bit, but in that stable with stinky animals, on a quiet night, after a long journey (emotional and physical) and the crowded little town of Bethlehem, when a young girl gave birth with only her husband and the grace of God to guide, did she anticipate all the things that come with normal parenting? And then did she worry about how she would ensure God’s plan would go the way He wanted it to?

Be encouraged to take some time over the next week to be still. To put aside the crazy, unanticipated year we’ve had and consider the first Christmas. The fear and anticipation of Mary and Joseph. The impact this event has had on you, on the world. Was it worth the stress and fear that Mary and Joseph went through? Mary watched as this same child grew to heal, love, and show grace to those the world cast out. While watching Him die on the cross, did she fear that it had all been for nothing? Or did she remember that her Son was not made for this world, but to save it? And God is faithful to use every tear for a greater purpose.

And as we finish out this 2020 year of fear and anticipation, remember the hope that Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection brings. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all,” 2 Corinthians 4:17.

This week anticipate the coming celebration of the birth of a child, who changed both the course of history and the journey into our future.

All the best,
KK


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31 Days left

Welcome to December. This is what I believe to be the fastest month. It’s the hardest month to manage your schedule because there are so many great options for how to spend your time while you still maintain 40 hours of work a week. It’s also the last month of the calendar year, so all those wonderfully optimistic goals set 11 months ago, and forgotten 10 months ago, more than likely won’t be achieved. Here’s to those of you who did stick with your goals and you are about to celebrate that victory. But for many of us, too many other things, important and not important, got in the way of goals.

Okay, so there is a lot to do in addition to our obligations this month. This is the time of year for holiday parties and shopping-which leads to eating out a little more. It’s also a time when we are feeling festive and want to get together with others. So we plan a few more evenings out. All of it fun. But is it meaningful? When you think about your “holiday season” are you intentionally doing things to make this season meaningful to you and your family. Or do you just say “yes” to everything and race to January 1st. Let me suggest two things:

Pace yourself. Take a deep breath and embrace the remaining days of the year that lead to one of the most significant holiday and the close of calendar year 2019.

Before today is over decide on the one, two, or three things or activities that will truly make your holidays and wrapping up another year meaningful. Maybe review those goals, you may be closer than you think (I’m not, unless there’s a literary agent reading this, wink, wink, still waiting for your response).

For example, you’ll hear people say, “I’d love to go see The Nutcracker Ballet, but there isn’t time. We’ll do it next year.” Next year could be this year, are you doing it? Maybe for you it’s finding a holiday concert or candlelight service on Christmas Eve to attend. Don’t wait, find one and make it a priority to attend.

I’ve began this mindset with our Thanksgiving plans. Instead of cramming two full-blown family Thanksgivings during the four-day weekend, we did one the weekend before. This, allowed us to relax at each gathering and enjoy the time with family-the laughter, children’s squeals, and a little family drama. And I could sleep in a little and not feel like I was living in hyper-speed.

What can you do, plan, or decide today that will make the next 31 days the most meaningful to you?

Let me know.

KK


Click to tweet: Welcome to December. This is what I believe to be the fastest month. It’s the hardest month to manage your schedule because there are so many great options for how to spend your time while you still maintain 40 hours of work a week. Pace yourself. Take a deep breath and embrace the remaining days of the year that lead to one of the most significant holiday and the close of calendar year 2019.