No Norman Rockwell Picture here. Only us Smiths. Oh the family drama that comes each year like your annual OB exam (sorry men). You know it’s coming but cringe and hope its not as bad as you remember. The strange thing is that once a year you actually choose and make the effort of driving to a house to spend time with certain family members that you have NO connection with other than the sheer fact that you are actually related to the same person somewhere and somehow on that family two trunked-tree (for in-law family circles that connection gets divided in half just so you know)
I feel more affection for my postman than I do for some family members, making my heart feel something similar to the “before picture” of the Grinch’s shrunken, puny, heart. So for that one day I will be sipping eggnog and sitting on the couch in my Christmas sweater putting 100% faith in the fact that the Lord WILL swoop in again to my rescue, take over the controls, fill me and help some love seep out of my tiny pores to the extent that when I leave and ride home, I will sigh and be amazed at thought “Wow! That wasn’t so painful. HOW in the world does He do that in me EVERY year!!! He is SO good at loving the unlovable (myself included!). And for that I am truly thankful.
Another real unperfect part of Christmas includes making Christmas cookies with my kids. This tradition goes as follows as the 2nd annual traditions has occured… (and hopefully will be easier every year as my kids get older and wiser, right? no seriously, right?).
1) I assign give my hubs the beloved task of sanitizing and scrubbing the kids hands and making sure it is understood NO boogers or sneezing is allowed in the following process. Also important that one child puts on a shirt is wearing (nevermind the fact that no PANTS on said child were present, but alas was not important for pictures taken from the waist up).
2) Cookies are rolled and cut. One child dumps massive amounts of sprinkles to the point half the bottle is gone (never-mind the fact that some are FALL sprinkles leftover from Halloween. I smile and nod while letting the guilt go that “our cookies won’t look as pretty as my friend Emily’s and WHY I didn’t think ahead and buy icing and NEW festive sprinkles.: As I turn to slide another batch into the oven I vow silently…GET IT TOGETHER NEXT YEAR WOMAN!!!
3) One child discontent with scarfing ONLY 3 large cookies and begs for more squashing that nice warm fuzzy moment.
THE GRAND RESULT: a bunch of dismembered gingerbread people and misshapen trees. They taste fabulous by the way but are far from attractive and mostly just Christmas pieces.
But this memory will hopefully be remembered in a different way. I hope my kids remember the Charlie Brown music playing in the background and the jokes and laughing we made as we rolled out the dough. I hope they remember my apron and how silly I looked trying to appear like I know what I’m doing! I hope they never find out my dirty little secret that I actually DISLIKE making Christmas cookies with anyone other than myself (because I do it RIGHT! haha). But I do it for them with a smile because I love them more than my own selfish self. I do it because one day I will be by myself with perfect, beautifully shaped trees, and I will probably collapse sugar sick with a milk mustache into my motorized lazyboy all alone just WISHING they were here.
So for this Christmas, even before the big day comes, GRACE is here. I can feel it in our laughter and in our small moments of peace. Right here in Liberty, God’s grace abounds. Grace covers our family, our traditions, my attempts to be a good mom, our complicated family dynamics…it’s there amidst it all and I am so thankful. Thankful for the one who not only gave so long ago more than we can imagine, but continues to give and give and give, every year. There is no present that could be better.
Oh come let us adore Him, He is Christ the Lord!
Merry Christmas everyone!