Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas memories

My precious girls - Melissa, Ashlie, Megan 2008

My sweet babies Christmas 1993

My sweet babies Christmas 1994

I love the Christmas season and I love the memories that are stored in my heart from when I was a little girl all the way up until now. When my 3 girls were growing up, my husband and I focused on creating memories for them. It was important to us that when they grew up and left home (which at the time seemed AGES away) they would be able to remember and relive, with fondness, the time they spent in our home. Those years have passed much too quickly and there are times when I wish we could go back and just have a "do-over" if you know what I mean.

Things started to change for us when Christmas 2002 rolled around. It was no longer just the 5 of us, but we had a new granddaughter in the mix. What a glorious addition to the family and what joy that precious little bundle brought to our household. But the Christmases of the past were forever changed. By the next year, there were only 4 of us around the tree on Christmas morning. Our oldest daughter, Megan, was at her own home with her husband and daughter beginning the process of making her own memories. By the time Christmas 2006 came around my youngest daughter, Ashlie,was newly married and beginning her own traditions in her own home, so we were a little family of 3 around our tree that year. Christmas morning is now very different than in the past. Our daughter Melissa, who is now 22, wants to sleep late on Christmas morning and the anticipation and excitement of it all just isn't the same. I don't have any little ones at home. I don't have 3 sweet little girls waking me up early to see what's under the tree. I don't have toys to put together Christmas Eve night after the girls have gone to bed. But I still have my memories.

When I asked my girls to tell me some things that really stood out in their minds about their childhood Christmases, not one of them mentioned anything about gifts and what they did or didn't get. Here were their memories:

1. Decorating the tree Thanksgiving weekend (until this year!)
2. Listening to Christmas music while we decorated the tree.
3. Drinking hot cocoa (made from a mix) while decorating. Melissa wanted to know one year "How else would you make it?"
4. Shaking the presents and trying to guess what was in the packages.
5. Opening 1 gift on Christmas Eve (always pajamas to wear that night).
6. Baking Christmas cookies with sprinkles and lots of icing.
7. Homemade cinnamon rolls Christmas morning.
8. Me always having to pour that first cup of coffee before we began opening gifts.
9. Their daddy handing out gifts one at a time. (We all had to watch each person open each gift...)
10. Reading the Christmas story out of Luke.
11. Having "ice-skating" contests in the living room in front of the tree while we listened to Christmas music. Poor Ashlie always had to win the bronze medal, because she was the baby and didn't care...
12. Laughing, fun, togetherness.

I miss those days, but I am proud of the young women that my girls have become. I am glad that through the Grace of my Lord, He equipped me and my husband to hand down to them the most precious gift of all. We taught our children from very early on about Jesus. We taught them the Word. We went to church as a family. We loved them. We cherished our times (good and not so good) together. We gave them roots.

So, even though there are no more "ice-skating" contests in front of the tree, no little girls begging to open "just one more present" before Christmas, no more happy squeals Christmas morning, I look forward to this time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. There is nothing that can bring us any more joy than Jesus. He is the greatest gift. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is truly the reason for the season. May I always keep my eyes on Him.

"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." (Luke 2:11,12)
In His Redemptive Grace,


Robin Mureiko said...

That is so true, Beth. It has been such a pleasure to have Lydia (who is just four) to enjoy all those little firsts again. With the boys, that time is over, but surely not forgotten. You even remind me of things I don't want to neglect just because I sometimes feel like I'm past that season. I'm just in a new season!

Thank you, Beth!


Truth4thejourney said...

What a beautiful post! This is a post that I could see in a magazine. Do you ever publish any of your writing?

I love the memories, it really helps since mine are still young. I sometimes fret over what gifts to purchase. I'm reading this and realizing that the gifts won't matter at all. It's the memories of just being a family! Loving Jesus.

You are a blessing!

Kim @ My Journey said...

MERRY CHRISTMAS Beth!!! What a treasure to have your children share these favorite precious memories. Your girls are just beautiful.

Nana 2 four said...

Y'all are all so sweet! It is just the Lord.


Nana 2 four said...
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Sarah said...

I love these pictures you have posted! What precious memories!


Thanks, Beth. I read this after a long day of celebrating a suprise birthday party. My baby boy turned 30 today! Hard to believe where the years have gone but one thing you said is the most special gift of all - and that is the heritage of passing JESUS on to our children early in life. My baby boy now has a ministry of his own and even at his party tonight - as I was cleaning up in the church kitchen I saw him take out his Bible and 8 young men surrounded him as he talked about Jesus! Wow! There is no great gift that a mother could want for her child! May we both thank Jesus for the memories - not only of our children - but for the CROSS that makes it all possible! Choosing JOY, Stephanie