Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ahhhh, Christmas time...

What do you think of when you start your Christmas decorating and other preparations? Of course, as a Christian, I think of the wonderful miracle of Christ's birth, and I do try really hard to not let "stuff" compete with why Christmas is important to me.
But I do love the season, the decorating, the memories from past years, too. Only a few gifts actually stand out in my mind, and that was not so much the gift, and the giver, or the silly things that happened centered the gift. Like begging for my Raggedy Anne doll and the hearing the news reporter on television on Christmas Day telling me that Raggedy Anne was the most dangerous toy of the year, because she was flammable. I thought that meant she would blow up in my bed, and oh, the guilt I suffered because I didn't tell my parents what a dangerous toy they had bought me. I just had a deep, great love for Raggedy Anne, I had anticipated getting her, like a mother waiting for her baby, and I could NOT give her up. Maybe that was the beginning of my mothering instinct, who knows.
Christmas decorating reminds me of the sweet figurines my husband has bought me in the past. In fact, each year, it's he who puts them out. He has a collector appreciation for stuff, and he handles his books and things with the care of a collector, so I almost laugh as he puts out my figurines. It's just one of those things I love about him, that is totally unlike me. I don't have to have something sitting on a table in just the right angle. In fact, I like things messed up a little bit, but I let him do it his way, and I'll always remember these things as the years go by and we get old together.
Christmas reminds me of loved ones I know longer get to spend Christmas with. My grandparents are all gone now, but like most people, the wonderful memories, especially of my grandmother, are still so cherished. My father-in-law passed away 3 years ago, and my mother-in-law has been gone about a year and a half. We had some really special times celebrating with them, too. My MIL always spent too much, bought too much, always went overboard, and sometimes on things were a complete waste of money that she had found. Like the little sewing thread boxes with a yard of thread on each spool? Who used those? But she had fun, and it's the memories that are important now.
We have some pretty high beams in our living room, pretty rustic, you know? My husband used to be kind of a Scrooge about all the Christmas celebration, because of the competition it can bring on why we actually celebrate. One year, he started his own tradition. He brought in a huge tree. So big, we had to put it in a 5 gallon bucket with rocks to hold it up, and he had to wire it at the beams, to keep it from falling. The top went over the top of the open beams!! Was I gonna complain, when always before he was so grumpy about it? NO WAY! I just smiled, as each year he would hall in his oversized tree. Well, one year, his parents came over as we were just getting ready to get a tree. We always get them off of our property, so they went out and cut down the tree. They halled in it in, and I couldn't believe it. The trunk, if it would have fit height-wise in the house, wouldn't even fit in the 5 gallon bucket! Now, they were thinking, "We don't want to haul it back OUT of the house!" So, their solution was to go get the chainsaw! No kidding! The actually brought a chain saw, like a couple of teenage boys, and cut the trunk off the tree by many feet! They just about gassed us out from the exhaust, we're lucky we survived. Had to open all the windows, turn the fan on, you get the picture! I could not believe 2 grown men would be so......well, I won't say what I was really thinking lol. I had sawdust chips to clean all over the living room from that mess!
Life get's like that sometimes. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew in life, in lots of different ways. Sometimes we get served things that are way more than we think we can handle. But we find the strength, we plug away with what we can do, and we learn and grow from it. 8 yrs ago, I had a son who had a terrible drug problem. I didn't even know if he was alive on this particular Christmas, or Thanksgiving. I am very close to this boy, and I thought I would not survive the worry for him. Not because it was Christmas, although it was very hard to have a good time with my other children during all of this pain. I just had a huge battle in my life, believing that God could turn this all out to something good. At that time, I would read the papers, and see all the horrible endings to the kind of life he was living. Not just jail, but death! Or people would tell me he would be brain-dead next time I saw him. It was a battle. I would cry every night, wake up crying, and just start praying all over again. I don't know if you've experienced pain like this. Most of us have had some pretty unbearable pain, but we have found the strength to bear it. Praise God, this year, and all the years since that one 8 1/2 years ago, I have a son who is healthy, whole, of sound-mind and body, who is doing great and has been cleaned of drugs for 7 1/2 years! So, even that Christmas eventually brought something wonderful to me!
This year has been a challenge. My husband builds custom homes. In the economy we're in, not many people are building homes. He usually has people waiting up to 3 years to build them a home! In June, he was just finishing a beautiful home for some people, and he was scheduled to start another in 2 weeks. Well, the lady he was to build for simply got really nervous about building. She is in her 80s, and although she could afford it, she just didn't want to go through the processes of building a home. She called, in tears, to say she had changed her mind. I sucked in the tears and said, "Don't worry at all!" (My husband hadn't expected to need to find work until spring, since he works with only one other builder) We'll be fine! I got off the phone and THEN cried. What will we do? No one usually starts building in the rainy Oregon in the winter! And that's in a good economy! Well, I came to my senses, believed the Word of God that tells us He will always take care of us. And you know what? He has done a wonderful job of giving my husband just enough work to get by. No, we're not living with "extras" so much. But we're paying the bills, we've got everything we really need.
So, this will be a memory-making Christmas, too! We are cutting corners, but having a blast doing it. I'm seeing a LOT more of my husband. He's been needing to not work so hard, and guess what? It happened lol. As soon as a bill comes in, he gets a job and pays the bill! It's been working that way since June, and now, here it is Christmas, and we are celebrating all the goodness we have in our lives. The greatest gift, is the birth of our Savior, in whom we live and breathe and are sustained!!


Julia said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. God is amazing! This is a different Christmas for me. 2nd years since my hubby's passing, my youngest now married and having her first Christmas with her hubby. It has been hard to decorate, to want to decorate, to listen to Christmas music, but the Lord keeps nudging me on. All is well , because He has come. Merry Christmas to you!

Florence said...