This has been my favorite Christmas by far. I'm just now realizing how beautiful, joyful, and magical my Christmases were growing up. (Thanks mom and dad!) I'm trying hard to establish those happy-memory-inducing traditions now and Jane is soaking up every ounce of Christmas with contagious excitement. And Lyla, she doesn't get Christmas yet but she sure gives me the biggest grin every time I look at her. She can feel it too, that happy Christmas spirit. I can tell :) It is better than I ever thought it would be, Christmas with your own children. We've been reading all the christmas books we can get out hands on, christmas crafting like crazy, dancing to christmas music 24/7, picking out and wrapping gifts for people we love, and pointing at and squealing at every light, every tree, every nativity, and of course, anything related to Santa. Can't forget about that generous and jolly old man. Jane got to meet him by the way and if you ask she will tell you allllll about it. :)
^^lyla holding her own hands, as usual.
I remember my mom always saying: I don't care if I don't have any presents. I was like.....yeah right everyone wants presents- she is probably crying in her room all night long. But now that I'm a mom, I get it. My present is seeing the look of gleaming joy on the faces of all the people I love as I give gifts to them. My present is finding all the ways that I can give, not receive, and the wonderful happy spirit that comes as a result. My gift is teaching Jane why it is important to give gifts to people who aren't as blessed as us, like the little girl who lives in an orphanage close by, the one who doesn't have a mommy and daddy. And then watching her make the difficult decision to give that poor little girl the beautiful new minnie mouse that she picked out at the store and loved. "I weawy want it mommy, but I will give it to that little girl to make her happy."
My gift is telling Jane the repeatedly requested story of the first Christmas. Consequently, I've been thinking so much more about the actual birth of Christ. I feel like I am able to relate to Mary on a whole new level. Like...do you want to know why Mary was riding on a donkey? Because her whole body hurt from months of carrying a baby. She was probably nauseous and had heartburn. And she was also most likely in full blown labor. On a donkey. While rude innkeepers were shoo-ing her away. Can you imagine seeing a frantic husband trying to find a place for his wife to give birth, and just shutting the door in their faces? WOW...and I complained about the slightly less luxurious german hospital??
I can picture her riding up to the stable with Joseph and pleading with Heavenly Father to change her situation. Wondering to herself, possibly out loud: I know this special child needs to be born in humble circumstances, but do I really need to give birth on a stack of pokey hay, amidst some seriously smelly animals?
I think about the shepherds and wise men. Particularly the wise men who set out on a daunting journey just to kneel at the feet of a small child in reverence. Those wise men didn't walk a few miles. They followed that star for years until it finally brought them to their destination. The first pioneers. I would love to know more about their journey. I'm sure there were many moments of intense struggles, and an outpouring of tender mercies. How were they converted so deeply that their desire to meet this infant Savior was greater than any other worldy desire?
I do know that if I could witness any event in history, it would most definitely be that sacred event.