Monday, December 21, 2009

It Feels Like Christmas...

There is a song to this effect in A Muppet Christmas Carol, and it is one of my favorite tunes in the movie. This year finally feels like Christmas, after quite a few that most certainly did not. I asked my dad a while back if Christmas was ever fun again after you grew up, and his response was essentially that once you had children you derive some pleasure from watching them enjoy it. I had resigned myself to the fact that Christmas just wouldn't feel like Christmas anymore, at least not the way I was used to it feeling. Well, I know that the only constant in this world is change, so why should I think that Christmas wouldn't change?

I grew up the oldest of 5 kids with a mother who likes to keep Christmas decorations proudly displayed year-round. I remember sneaking peaks at Christmas presents with my siblings, I remember how proud I was to move from the kid's table to the grown-up's table at Christmas Eve dinner, and I remember a huge tree crowded with all types and sizes and color of ornaments. Things are a bit different now to say the least. Ashley and I have almost been married for one month. Our Christmas tree is a white ceramic one with blue tips, a blue star, and a light bulb inside. Not the huge tree my mother crammed full of mementos and memories each year, but it only differs in color from the exact same ceramic trees my parents and grandparents had. Instead of 5 stockings hung from a counter in the trailer we grew up in, and later the banister in our foyer, we have two artsy stockings hanging from stocking hangers atop the mantle of our fireplace. I'd have a wonderful Christmas fire roaring in it, but alas the house stuck for days after the last attempt. Mom and Dad are divorced, siblings are dashing off to other cities and states for Christmas with their in-laws, and cousins have moved or started dating people and may not make it for Christmas Eve.

Despite the many changes there are some things that are the same. We're still doing Christmas Eve at Granny's house, and most of the family who always attended will be there this year. Christmas Day we hope to have a meal with Dad and my brothers, and hopefully my step-mom and step-sister. The week of New Year's, after I finish my second dreadful weekend of rotating schedule at work, we'll head to Louisiana to spend time with Ashley's family and start a new tradition. I used to crave Christmas music from Thanksgiving until New Years, but this year I have really just mixed small doses into the eclectic mix that I listen to. It has snowed, it's cold, I've hated driving in it a few days, but my wife and I are happy and warm in our cute little house.

I think the renewed "feeling" of Christmas comes from a remembrance of what this season is about. Our Lord and Savior was born in a manger in Bethlehem so that he could die on a tree and give us the gift of Salvation when all we truly deserved was death. Since I began dating Ashley I have found a wonderful church home in First Apostolic Church of Cincinnati. They truly have their hearts and minds in the right place, loving and serving the Lord. Ashley and I have read the Bible and prayed together every night since we got back from our honeymoon, and I know that God is blessing our obedience. Things are so different from the Christmases of my childhood, but I've regained the feeling of Christmas. The feeling that God loved us despite ourselves, that peace on earth goodwill to men is still alive, and that I have been given gifts that money can't buy. I have a God who saved me, a wife who loves me, a family who loves me, in-laws who love me, a warm house, food on the table, and a puppy dog in my lap. I have more than I need, and I haven't unwrapped a single Christmas present yet. God bless each and every one of you at this special time of the year.

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