From Here Until Christmas

By Natalie

I lay the little girl down in her crib, my hair hanging over the rails. “Get some rest.” I tell her as I tuck the blankets in around her small body. I shut her door and make my way down the stairs. The dog follows me, then the cat, our ten legs all creaking down the steps. I clear the last of the lunch dishes, clean the cat’s litter, refill the water bowl, make a pot of coffee, check the front door for packages I may have forgotten about only to find a gift left by our realtor. Inside is a balsam fir candle and a Christmas card of her family. The back reads, “Felicity must be enjoying this time of year.”The photo is from a wedding. Her son’s looks like. How lovely. I hang it on the garland. Only one of three cards this year. Christmas came too quick this year they say. Thanksgiving was late. As if Thanksgiving had a choice in the matter. But it seems that maybe Christmas did get sprung on us after all.Or maybe people just don’t send out Christmas cards anymore. I never have, though I’ve always wanted to, this was not the year. Not with Thanksgiving trying to steal Christmas’s glory.

I’ve had a lot of conversations recently with friends about the state of our being this time of year. “It should be a time for us all to be joyful and yet people are so cranky on the road, in the stores, people seem so busy and stressed.” That doesn’t seem right does it? Let’s maybe try to slow down.

I once went Christmas caroling with a small group of people. I wish to do it again sometime around our neighborhood, maybe I’ll try to coordinate a group to go next year. Caroling seems like the best thing to stop people in their tracks and remember that it’s not all about the shopping, or all about the schedule. I watched Mickey’s Gift of the Magi this morning with Felicity. I cry every time. The narrator reminds us that this season is a time for us to gather with our friends, our family and our neighbors to share what we have to offer. What a lovely thought.

We’re opening our home the weekend after Christmas for our friends and our neighbors to visit, for the kids to play while we all sip on some hot cocoa. An After Christmas Party I’m calling it. I feel most like myself when we’re able to share our blessings with others. Our little family thrives on it. I hope to always have a home that’s inviting to others, full of pets, full of children, full of laughter, warm drinks on cool nights and good music you don’t even realize is on because it just feels right.

The little girl up in her crib, she’s been pulling some ornaments off of the tree. Needles fall from the branches each day that she gives them a good shake. She’s had a chocolate nearly every night after dinner which seems outrageous for a 17 month old, but hey it’s Christmastime, we had to do the advent calendar.

She’s waking now, standing in her crib after an almost 3 hr nap. She’s in a knit dress, snuggling her stuffed puppy. I’ll go up to get her, she’ll hug me tight, her naptime curls springing against my face. We’ll listen to the Chipmunks Christmas album as we do nearly every day after naptime before Dada gets home because we never tire of it, though Brandon does. After dinner we’ll watch a Christmas movie together as a family, snuggled under one soft blanket. Can you watch too many Christmas movies at her age? Is there such a thing when you’re only a child once? The meanings behind these Christmas movies are getting to me this year. The new Grinch movie where the poor old grinch realizes that Christmas is not about stuff. It’s a wonderful life, boy that movie had me teary the whole way through the other day, where George wants so badly to live and be surrounded by his family and friends though his life didn’t turn out how he imagined. How he loved his old home, broken banister and all. And Scrooge.. we all know the story. So often throughout the year and this time especially we grow blind to our purpose on Earth. We’re trying to keep up with our schedules, with our peers, with our jobs, we fear we aren’t enough or aren’t doing enough or don’t have enough. But we do have it all don’t we? Broken banisters especially.

Lici has a small nativity that I keep by the glider in her room. I point to Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus at bedtime. She points to the star on top. Right now it’s just a scene to her, but every Christmas I hope to talk to her about this little family and the journey God led them through. She looks at the baby curiously. This is a season for reflection, I think as I rock with her. As a believer it’s a time to share the grace that God has gifted us. I’m slowing down these last few days before Christmas. I’m telling everyone I love how much I love them and thanking God for the greatest gift he could have ever bestowed upon us.


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