Well, it has been a sorrowful week, hasn’t it? So much tragedy in the news, so much more than many of us can handle well.
Everyone I know seems to have a renewed perspective of the blessing of those they love.
Christmas is in a week, and the next seven days are a wonderful chance to prepare our heavy hearts for the birth of Christ, the birth of hope, the birth of love.
Personally, I am going to wake up every day with a plan to enjoy my husband and my children, enjoy our home, and ready our hearts for a quiet, precious holiday full of love.
Here are ten of the things on my to-do list:
10. Go look at Christmas lights. We will make hot chocolate and cookies, and then drive around looking for the best houses. This year I plan to make a scavenger list for each boy so they can check off things like inflated snowmen, three wisemen, and houses with purple lights (I am hoping the list will keep the silly baby talk to a minimum!). We will also visit The Trail of Lights, Austin’s beautiful display of Christmas lights at a park downtown. We are all super excited to go!
9. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life. Our kiddos have never seen this movie, and I can’t wait to hear their thoughts about it, and talk about how important each one of them is in the world, and how important they are to us.
8. Play a million card games. We will play Spoons, Monopoly Deal, UNO, Slapjack, Group Solitaire, and tons of others. I will pop popcorn and put on Christmas music, and we will completely enjoy the fun.
7. Watch old family movies. We will see tiny Jack get hit in the face by Jude’s plastic bat (whoops!), Jase will totter around at only 9 months old with arms and legs swinging, birthday candles will be blown out, Christmas presents opened, and we will all remember that this life we have together is full of gloriously ordinary joy.
6. Have a piano recital. One day when Mr. Fantastic comes home from work, he will be ushered in to a beautiful recital, where the boys play their music, we all sing, and the Lady dances. We will make a sign, naming our show and hand him a ticket as he walks in. It will be fabulous and probably a little silly.
5. Build the biggest train track or lego building ever. It may take us all day, but we will do it. Maybe make a whole city. We will fill the playroom with our newly constructed world and then play to our hearts content.
4. Rake about twenty bags of leaves. A little hard labor is good for the soul. This will not be their idea of fun, but it really needs to get done. Plus, it usually ends up being fun once we get going. We will rake and then jump in the leaves, we will play football or soccer in between bags, and when the kids get tired I will probably keep raking while they ride their bikes. After we finish, we will reward ourselves with warm baths and cozy clothes, and maybe a Christmas movie.
3. Bake Christmas treats for the neighbors. We have a lot of retired neighbors who are like surrogate grandparents to my children. It will make a huge mess in the kitchen, but we will bake a bunch of cookies and sweet breads and go knock on doors.
2. Feed the homeless. Our church makes truck runs on Thursday nights to feed and clothe the homeless here in Austin. We have gone before and it is always fun. The people who come to be fed and find a new bag, some pants, a coat, etc, all enjoy the laughter and completely non-judgmental way of children. The children understand the blessing of food and a home when they encounter people who live in tents and under bridges, and hope springs up in their hearts when they realize they can help solve the problem of poverty.
1. Read The First Noel together. This is a tradition we started last year when I bought this book. The youngest child who can read reads this beautiful book to all of us. It is the Luke 2 account of the birth of Jesus, and we only read it at Christmas, saving it’s gorgeous artwork for a special moment meant for savoring the blessing of Christ.
I hope you have a lovely week, full of love for those around you, love from the God who made you, and that tidings of comfort and joy lift you above the worries of this world and into the peace of God’s own presence. Merry Christmas, friends.