I think this Christmas may have been my favorite of all time. This was the first year that Elizabeth sort-of understood what was going on and that just made everything so special. Sickness grabbed our house early in the week and we were plagued with snotty noses and yucky coughs. Grandpa Barry came just in time to go to the doctor and entertain Rachel while Elizabeth got a "no-infection" bill of health.
Luckily, a little tylenol and some kisses and hugs got us on the road to recovery. Just in time for Christmas!
We didn't really talk about Santa to Elizabeth. She knew who he was from TV and she also knew that there were Christmas presents (or birthday presents, as she called them) in our closet that she wasn't allowed to get in yet. We got her the Fisher Price nativity set and put it out the day before Christmas and told her about Jesus being born and that we give each other presents on His birthday to show each other how much we care for each other because God loves us so much. Our two-year-old took all this in...and then promptly took most of the nativity players and threw them in a mesh basket in her room. So now the stable has the baby Jesus, Joseph and the angel...and that's how she's kept it ever since.
Christmas morning, Rachel woke up first, so Scott and I got up, made coffee, and turned on the tree. We had placed the presents under the night before, leaving a couple unwrapped for fun. When Elizabeth woke up, she ran in to check on her Grandpa, and then walked in the living room and STOPPED at the presents. She was more than ready to unwrap those puppies!!
|Rachel, watching her big sister for guidance.|
|So let me get this straight...now I'm ALLOWED to rip the paper?!|
|Yay! A toy! Now where's some more paper?|
|Elizabeth had no problems opening her presents - and everyone else's|
|The inspector had to check everything out.|
|And then it was time to PLAY!|
The day was just perfect. The house smelled like turkey and we were warm while the wind blew snow around outside.
I am so thankful for this year - for our two children and my wonderful husband and our healthy friends and family. This Christmas, more than any other, I thought about Mary and her role in the original Christmas and the trials and challenges she must have gone through. What faith she must have had - mixed with doubt and joy and questions... To KNOW that you are a virgin, and yet here is a child - YOUR child! And here are these strangers coming to worship Him.
I thought about when Elizabeth was born and we had just gotten up to our room when Ida Brown, the wonderful woman I worked in the library with, walked in with flowers. And after she left, our preacher, Terry Pleasant came in. And then came the Campbell's. And then the Swoffords... Some we had called or texted but some had called the hospital or found out through word of mouth. I remember thinking, "How did you know? How did you know she was here? How did you know we were here?"
I can't imagine what Mary thought...instead of a phone call, Angels told the shepherds. Instead of a text, a star guided the wise men.
They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing [them], they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. Luke 2:16-19
That last sentence makes me want to cry because as parents, we can identify with her ten-fold. How many things have I treasured in my heart, wonderful memories of our girls? Watching our children understand, get excited for and celebrate Christmas opened up a whole new level of joy for me - and made me realize how fitting that the whole holiday centered around a baby.