Thursday, December 19, 2013

When A Simple Christmas Wasn't Enough

When I was a little girl in the 1960's, Christmas was least the ones in my memory were. They may have been hurried and busy for my mom but if they were I don't remember.

Circa 1964
We had a tradition of going to look at lights every Christmas Eve. New pajamas awaited us after supper, usually with feet in them when we were small. After riding around our small town, eyes wide in wonder at blinking, colored lights, we'd come home full of excitement.

The four of us would gather around our tree to open gifts from grandparents. We'd drink my dad's homemade hot cocoa. Simple. The four of us. It was enough.

And then life changed forever the Christmas of 1974 when Mom died.

When I married, our first Christmas together was spent in the log cabin. We weren't even going to put up a tree. On Christmas Eve, neither of us could stand it, so we went into the woods and found a "Charlie Brown" tree. We put a few scraggly ornaments on its bare branches and it was enough.

We were warm, safe and snug in our new home. Even though sadness enveloped me each year, I knew the real meaning of Christmas. Jesus had come to earth...Emmanuel had come.
Aunt Judy sends goody bags of surprises

After waiting nearly nine years to hear the cry of a baby in our home, God blessed us with Andy at Christmas. His birth announcement came within a few hours of the death of my mother twelve years earlier. That changed everything for me. Bailey came two years later. Our family was complete.

Christmas took on new life.

In my desire to make it the "Southern Living" Christmas, I conjured up all these images in my head of what it should look like. I wanted to make up for all my lost Christmases. I think I went looking for Christmas in all the wrong places. Somewhere along the way I bought into the world's image of what the holiday should look like. I heaped all these expectations on myself. I was let down and it had nothing to do with a baby, a manger, shepherds or angels. It had more to do with shopping, decorations, cards and baking. Jesus wasn't enough anymore.

I'd like to be able to say I have it all figured to have the picture perfect Southern Living Christmas. All I know is that I was tired of the emptiness. I wanted the real meaning of the season to return.

Yesteryear-Circa 1995
I crashed and burned...threw in my Martha Stewart towel.

One thing I finally settled in my heart and that is...Jesus IS enough. He will always be enough for me.

This past Sunday and Monday night I was singing with my choir, the words to this song, "God With Us." They resonated so deeply with me..."Wonderful Counselor, never changing, never ending, beautiful, glorious, everlasting, ever living."

He has been all those things to me.

Our lives change from day to day, moment to moment. As I was writing this post, thinking about how my Christmases have changed through the years, yet, the One I sing about, and for, has never changed through eternity past, present or future. He is the same. He is beautiful, and He makes everything beautiful in His time, even a broken life. The beauty He cares about is not found in perfectly adorned homes but a heart that beats for Him. may come to my home through the Christmas season and I'll throw open my doors and welcome you in. I may or may not have it perfectly decorated or have the most recent Pinterest recipes prepared and festively displayed, but I can promise you, Jesus will be celebrated. He will be the center of our Christmas. I will not let the world take away the most sacred Christian celebration.

It's time we get back to simple...Jesus is enough. After all, Christmas without Christ is mas and that spells nothing.

Have a blessed Christ filled Christmas!

Blessings from My Little Corner,

Bailey's graduation last Friday night
Master's Degree in Education

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