Okay, so now I can officially start celebrating without anyone grumbling. YAY! This is my favorite time of the year. Everything is so happy. Note that I said everything, not everyone.
I put my tree up on Saturday. Not in December, but all my weekends this month will be full. Besides, its my big thing the past few years.
My first year away from home, I wasn't able to go home for the holidays and was painfully homesick. My roommates had family so they were gone on Thanksgiving weekend. So, I decided that since I couldn't be home for Christmas, I would bring Christmas to my home. I bought a seven foot tree and decked it out in all sorts of homemade decor. I have to admit, I went completely overboard and took on the project like I was decorating for the Festival of the Tree's. I even made a bunch of ornaments for my co-workers (now a tradition).
My house smelled of pine and cinnamon, Christmas music was blaring and all the candles were lit. I bought stockings for my roommates and filled them with odd little travel size lotions, mouth washes and toothbrush holders. They thought I was nuts, but laugh about it to this day.
To me, Christmas is not about the commercials or the presents. I have been thinking about it, and realized that Christmas is about remembering. Even as a child, I recall waking up early for school, and sitting with my brothers and sister in the living room with nothing but the tree to light the room. We would reminisce about past holidays. Like, the year Neal got the train set that was bigger than the kitchen table. Or the Christmas Eve when the heating element went out in the oven. When dad got mom the harmonica, or the box of rags. And of course you cant forget socks from Grandma Bertie. When we made reindeer ornaments with Mom, or when Dad bought us all copies of "The Gift of Acabar", a story he had read to us when we were younger. Getting "Christmas cereal", Christmas wallpaper, baking goodies for the neighbors, Christmas Eve pajamas, Nuttin for Christmas, Feliz Navidad and "the five pink peppermints til Christmas".
A lot of these memories, true, involve gifts, but mostly they involve love and laughter. We never had a lot of money. I remember my parents always making comments about how small Christmas was going to be this year, but I NEVER remember having a small Christmas. So, even though Thanksgiving is past, I have to say that I am thankful for Christmases gone by. I am thankful for the family I have to celebrate it with. It can only get bigger.
So, the lights, the music, the smells of Christmas...These are all the outward expressions of what is inside. Each candle, ornament, and light, are a celebration of these: The love of my family. And the most important love of all. The love of a Heavenly Father who gave up his Son to be slain for the sins of the world, and the sacrifice of His Son so that I may live again and remember all of these things for eternity.