When I think about Christmas past, my memory is flooded with thoughts of the big white house on Webster. Of course, Christmas morning was always perfect. We would wake up, Jeni & I, to a house full of loving and excited grandparents who were awaiting our smiling faces. We would open gifts and they would adorn us with their affection and simple gestures of incomparable love. We felt safe. Secure. And we understood from a very early age the meaning of it all.
After playing with our toys for awhile, we would get dressed and anxiously wait on mom and dad to do the same. Our cousins were coming to meet us for lunch at Nanny's. This is where the majority of my memories are formed when it comes to Christmas day. We would walk in and the mood in the house felt like any other day. Calm, peaceful, delicious. The house would soon be swarming with people (when you're small 5 extra people feels like alot). There would be loud laughter and lots of food. Granny and Gramps would come too, my great grandparents. Gramps went on to his reward in Heaven, but my Granny is still with us this Christmas. She is a great, great Grandma to my babies! How special.
Sometimes Uncle Bo would show up drunk. Actually, he almost always did.
But, it is what it is.
When we were much younger, he still worked. Nanny would have to leave sometime in the afternoon to drive him to his night shift. He looked handsome in his uniform and seemed well. I loved him, so.
Christmas at the big white house on Webster was significant to me because we focused on Jesus. We talked about Him. We had no shame in sharing Him. In fact, I was always very blessed to know that my family on both my mom's side and on my dad's were going to give glory where it was due when we met together. As an adult, I now cling to those moments at Grandma Donna's, when grandpa says,
"time to eat. let's pray."
Lives have changed in our family.
This year, much like the past 4 have been very different.
The core of my family have remained focused on Jesus. We are Christians, after all. If we are indeed what we claim to be, then Christmas is the most significant day of the year for us--or it should be. It is the day when we gather together in fellowship to celebrate the birth of our Lord. The reason for our hope in eternity. This beautiful babe that was born sinless and in perfection defines our entire being. He is the exact reason we sit together and share presents, because in our own humility we understand that the greatest gift was already given. It was already offered up for us, and thankfully, I am confident that those who surround me tomorrow have accepted that gift.
The precious and perfect sacrifice...all so we might live forever.
Others around me have lost sight of Christmas.
They have lost sight of the meaning, the purpose, the exchange-not only of gifts, but of words, of bond, of purpose...of love.
Their hope has changed. It is earth-focused and world centered.
It is heartbreaking, but I am confident that if you have truly heard the word and voice of God, you cannot turn away forever. The Lord will draw you into the light. After all, willing or unwilling the Bible makes it clear that on that glorious day of Jesus-
"...Every knee will bow before me and Every tongue will confess to God." (Romans 14:11)
Anyway, despite the change and the disdain that has been happening in some areas of our family, I feel the confidence of the Lord's plan unfolding. I feel the presence of the Almighty preparing our hearts for a wonderful and intimate Christmas celebration. It will be joyous to be surrounded by the redheads, in all of their beauty and innocence and to see the same anticipation on their grandparent's faces when they sneak down the stairs tomorrow morning.
And you see, with my children growing and our traditions developing, I am thankful that our house will now be the big white house on Webster making all of their Christmas memories spectacular. In the future, Jeni & Jake will have children and all of the cousins will gallop through the house laughing and listening to sounds of mothers and daughters talking and making dinner. They will see their Nanny in a way that no one else will understand and they will cherish the vision of her for their entire lifetime. They will cling to the hope of Jesus, and not to the hope of any human. They will learn early that they can depend on the Word of God to see them through. They will appreciate the meaning of Christmas and they will take the good with the bad.
Because after all, It is what it is.
And tomorrow morning, as I wake up, I will bless my Lord.
I will thank Him for placing us in the big white house on Webster.
A new house that feels much like the house of comfort from my childhood.
I feel His presence here.
I know that my Nanny would love it here.
And although Christmas is hard and we long for her so deeply, we know she never lost sight of the hope of Jesus. She was a woman who clung to her faith so deeply and was never influenced by people or situations. She was much braver and stronger than we gave her credit for...but I owe much of my own diligence to her. She set a beaming example of what endurance and long suffering really means.
She would be proud of me. Of my faith.
She would be proud of my mom. Of her strength.
Tomorrow, I will look around this house and I will embrace Christmas for what it really is.
A beautiful time with my family to celebrate the blessing of Jesus...together.
We will make memories and celebrate the past.
I hope you will all do the same!
God bless you richly!
We love you all and appreciate your love in our lives.