Friday, December 21, 2012

These ARE the Christmas Memories

The closer it gets to Christmas, I've been thinking a lot about what traditions from Matt's and my childhood are important to us enough to keep doing with our kids, and what traditions they will remember or what will be important to them. There's a lot of pressure to think that Matt and I will almost single-handedly shape the memories and traditions of the way our kids celebrate a holiday so important to our faith as they go into adulthood.

I'm finding as a momma it's easy to feel like the buck stops here with traditions... and it's even easier to get wrapped up in the to-do lists and the worry that we aren't making enough/good enough memories for our children. Caught up in the decorating (and protecting the tree from the littles' occasional destructiveness), sending Christmas cards, shopping for and wrapping gifts, planning menus, making ornaments and cookies, and even trying to keep memories of my mom alive in our traditions... and all those other 'traditional' necessities that you forget to make memories in the process. Not to mention on top of all our extra responsibilities that are new this year as a senior pastor's family to a church and town that are new to us, new traditions to learn and navigate. And hold still... Mommy wants to take one more picture of you guys being so cute and Christmas-ey. Sometimes it feels so much easier to decorate the tree or make the cookies at night after the kids have gone to bed instead of putting up with the tantrums and cleaning up the epic messes and dealing with the 'over it' after just getting started just to claim it as a tradition/memory.

In the car with our marshmallows and hot chocolate, well past bedtime, ready to see some Christmas lights:

Christmas card outtakes:

Kenna and Mommy making ornaments together:

Eating Christmas Tree cakes in the kitchen:

Mommy and Kenna watching a Christmas movie (photo by Kenna):

There's a lot to remember and it can get very stressful, as we all unfortunately know. I remember vividly the Christmas that Kenna was about 2 years old (I was pregnant with Finn) and there was so much 'hustle and bustle' that what she came up with completely on her own was the phrase "ho ho hurry." Funny yes, but I don't think I will ever forget it because it's so terribly important to me that that's exactly what the Christmas season is NOT about for our family. That it is not about Santa or reindeer or shopping or hurry up or gimme gimme or even good traditions, but of hopeful and excited expectation of the birth of a baby that changed the course of the world... the only savior, the only one who can bring peace on earth, God incarnate. Oh come, Emmanuel.
So today as Finn napped in his crib and Kenna fell asleep on the couch by the light of the tree, with Christmas carols playing and me trying out a new Christmas recipe in the kitchen, i realized that these are the sights and sounds and smells of Christmas that she will start remembering this year. Yes, there will be some talk of Santa and viewings of Rudolph, riding in the car to look at Christmas lights and hot chocolate, and even some spoilage when she unwraps all those presents, but these will be her memories, and they are good memories. They are safe, happy memories of a warm home with parents and siblings who love her, and whose home hopefully exudes the love of Christ that we work so hard to celebrate and remember in the season. And that's the most important memory to me for our kids.
We have lots of blog stories to catch up on after Christmas (and hopefully after the baby comes I'll be able to keep up so that his little babyhood doesn't blink by as quickly as I'm sure a third child's does. But, until then, we wish you all who may be reading, a very Merry Christmas and a home full of the joy and peacefulness that comes not from perfectly behaved children, perfectly executed traditions, or perfectly arranged plans, but the love of that one little baby, Emmanuel, Christ with us.

Merry Christmas!

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