Anytime our crew gets together, it is quite entertaining to say the least. Our "crew" consists of Jimbo and myself, our 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren whose ages are 7,4, almost 3, almost 2 and 9 months. The combination of all the above makes for something that I lovingly call "JOYFUL CHAOS". Ha!
There are generally several different conversations or discussions going on at the same time. Voice levels are usually louder than what the term 'inside voice' dictates. You can count on at least one child fussing. One child crying. Another child screaming - either in anger or pain... Most of the time as a direct result of the actions of another cousin.
Someone is always hungry. Or thirsty. Or needs to go to the bathroom. Mercie and Sawyer compete for diaper changes.
Mikaela is the nurturer of the bunch and trys to keep the peace between Bryton and Eli, who seem to tie up at least once every get together. They do love each other, but the 'boy' in them really comes out when they are together...
There are usually 2 grandkids competing for Nana's lap or Papa's arms. The presence of 1 child in either place automatically signals time for a stampede of the other children to do the same. Inside voices rarely follow when this event takes place..
But there is one thing that is always present, even amidst the seeming chaos. There is one thing that will always prevail and that is LOVE. Love for family. Love for each other. Love for our Savior.
As we all gathered in the living room around the Christmas tree, Megan began to read the account of Jesus' birth from Luke. As she read, Mikaela, Eli and Bryton acted out the events of that special night. It was so precious and it really helped them to fully grasp what took place and to really understand why we celebrate Christmas in the first place.
The presents that were piled under God's tree (as Bryton calls it), were most certainly not the focus of our celebration yesterday. In fact, the presents were the very last thing we did. And although we did enjoy opening our gifts, we made sure that Jesus was at the center of all we did.
As the gifts began to be unwrapped, it looked like it was snowing wrapping paper and ribbon. Paper was flying, children were laughing. Everyone was oohing and aaahing. "I love it!", "thank you!" and "it's perfect!" could be heard all around the room by kids and grown-ups alike. Faces lit up with joy. Smiles abounded and hearts were touched.
The room gradually grew quiet. The commotion ceased and the tree was empty of presents. In about 30 minutes time, it was seemingly over. The gifts had all been given. Hopes and expectations had presumably been met. Needs and wants were certainly taken care of.
For all intents and purposes, that part of Christmas was over. The part that we so painstakingly prepared for. The part that we agonized and fretted over. The part where we 'spent more than we needed to'. The giving and receiving was over. Or was it? Perhaps giving and receiving can take on new meaning for the coming year. How about giving more of ourselves and receiving more of God?
We may not have accomplished that last year, but now it's time for us to focus on how we will do this year different. How will we make 2010 better than 2009? How will we change our attitudes. Our actions. Our intentions.
It is time to assess any damage done in 2009 and make a game plan to recoop losses for the next year. It is time to focus on making 2010 a year that counts.
A year of sacrifice.
A year of Joy.
A year of hope and miracles.
A year of knowing Him better.
A year of hearing Him speak. Obeying His commands.
A year of walking the walk.
A real Jesus year.
We need to celebrate the birth of Jesus every day of our lives. His birth is where it all began. He came so He could die, so that we could live.
Jesus - He is the reason for not only the season.
But for Life.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)