December 14, 2012

Elvis and Eggnog

Every year we struggle with what to do about Christmas.  I'd like to tell you that we recognize what the season is really about, and our focus on the birth of Christ makes it a joyful time no matter where we are.  But remember I told you I was trying to be honest?  Or should I use the new buzz word in Christian circles? Transparent.

We do, of course, enjoy remembering that a Savior was born.  Our family devotions are focusing on the names of Jesus.  Lion of the Tribe of Judah.  Emmanuel.  Counselor.  All those good things.

We decided to use our nativity scene this year, despite that time I offended some folks for putting out "saints" like "those other people" do.  We prayed about it and decided to use it as an opportunity to explain the difference in honoring and worshiping, remembering what happened but not leaving little fruits and hoping these statues will bless my home.  You get it.

We also opted to put the tree up, although the heat has kept us from plugging the lights on more than a few times, and only then at night with the fan blowing.  You wouldn't think that those little white bulbs would put out such heat, but when it's already 100 degrees, no one wants to be in the same room with the lit tree.

We made some Christmas art to hang on the wall in the kitchen, then put the stockings on the mantle.  And Christmas tunes are wafting through our house during the non-homeschooling hours of the day.

And purposefully, I have severely limited my time on Facebook.  I'm happy that you're enjoying hot chocolate by your fireplace, going to Christmas pageants, and piling presents under your tree, but it doesn't help me to read about it or see the pictures.   Selfish, I know.

I need to focus on what I have and not what I'm missing at this time of year.  Not think about our extended families sitting around the turkey or all the men of the church watching football or my nieces and nephews and godchildren who are SO much taller than when I last saw them.  So I avoid the posts about snow and try not to click on any pictures.  Sorry.

I guess you could say we're on the offensive and the defensive during the holidays, trying to avoid the dreaded Blue Christmas.  But even so, the yuckies sometimes creep in.  Just the other night, I dreamed that my kids were making Christmas cookies with their abuela, and I don't have to tell you that I woke up heavy, sad.

About that time, I opened my email to find a message from our friends.  The wife wanted to try out her eggnog recipe, and my man is a big fan of eggnog.  I didn't mention my dream but invited them to come on over.

I won't go into how much we've been encouraged and bolstered by our fellow-missionary friends, but suffice it to say that their email and subsequent visit couldn't have been better timed.

They pulled up outside our house just after a storm, when temps had cooled into the 70's and Caroline was running around in a hoodie.  We plugged in the tree just before my friend came in with a few bags of goodies, her husband and the little ones tagging along behind her.

Within a few minutes, the kitchen smelled like it should in December, and later that night, gingerbread cookies and eggnog accompanied some cartoon Christmas classics.

God's always on time.

SIDENOTE:  A post I wrote last year about a right-down-to-the-wire-but-still on-time Christmas miracle is included in the latest issue of Women of the Harvest's emag, Connections.  You can check it out over at

Are you careful at this time of year to pray for soldiers, those in prison, people who've lost a loved one, people who tend toward depression, kids in the foster care system?  Is there anything you can do to make this season a little more joyful for any of them?  

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