Day 24 Christmas Countdown 2022
For whatever it will be, we are here friends.
At our house the last minute details include sticking the ornaments I made into our four grand’s stockings, making two soups for tomorrow and one for when John rolls in this afternoon and cleaning the house.
We will go to Christmas Eve service this evening at our church and tomorrow I will put a roast in and head to Christmas Day service at the Lutheran Church.
God willing, we will have three extra for lunch and the entire tribe for dinner. We will open gifts and stockings and eat too much and squeeze as much as we can in to the hours we have.
But I have one last task here and that is to finish our countdown.
I hope you have had fun. I have heard from enough of you to let me know it mattered and I am so thankful to have shared these moments with you.
In my rush yesterday, I failed to add this picture of the “master plan”…so for fun, here it is:
Looks like I only missed a few and with a nod to randoms, here are the last items in no particular order:
That same aunt I spoke of yesterday once came to visit us just before Christmas when Rachel was about two.
Up to that point, I had read all the facts of sugar and had carefully managed her diet to exclude it as much as possible.
But my aunt brought us her famous sugar cookies that were so soft they could possibly have floated off the platter. She had painstakingly painted tinted egg white on each one so the trees and stars and angels were miniature works of art.
We let Rachel have one cookie each day until they were finished. And despite all the articles I had carefully followed, she turned out just fine.
Yesterday I watched and shared a reel on social media with an adolescent girl in a bathrobe pretty much nailing clips of me on Christmas morning.
There was the plastic garbage bag being shaken, the warning to not start opening til she had her coffee mug in hand, the finale of asking everyone if they liked their presents.
I felt exposed…it was 100% me.
The reel started with her holding her camera up as the imaginary kids descended the stairs, chattering on about how it looked like Santa had come and winking.
I could picture our three and then some extra over the years, along with dogs, sitting patiently at the top of the stairs waiting til I could get their picture to come down to the table for breakfast and stockings.
I am having one of those moments where it is hard to tell if I am laughing or crying.
Okay. It’s both.
Speaking of Christmas morning and stockings.
Did your mother wrap your stocking presents?
And when I got old enough, I was recruited as an elf and I can remember hours of standing at a card table wrapping dental floss and scotch tape and the bracelet we saw for Aunt Lizzie on vacation…and on and on and on.
How fun to marry into a family that didn’t wrap stocking gifts and realize it’s okay to just stick them right on in that sock.
One year when I was in college and we were visiting my aunt and uncle in Wheaton, I walked over to a Catholic Church a few blocks away and attended their Christmas Eve service. As I was leaving, I noticed the nativity was filled with all the expected figures save one.
There was no baby Jesus.
Out of curiosity I walked back over Christmas morning and there He was. I thought that was such a wonderful statement of what Christmas is.
Waiting for Jesus.
Which leads to…
When Rachel was old enough to understand a bit of Christmas, and we were still traveling, I would put out a small nativity in her room.
I didn’t put Jesus in the scene but would tuck the figure in my things to be packed for our travels to grandparents. We would set the nativity up where she was sleeping and after she went to bed, I would put Jesus in for her to find Christmas morning.
Those early years, she ran first to her nativity to see if He had arrived before she even thought about what Santa may have brought.
One year she was very anxious as we prepared the house and celebrated all the fun of the month of December. She wanted Jesus in that scene. It was incomplete without him.
So one day as I was tidying up her room, I noticed she had place Mama Bear, as in the Berenstain Bears, from a happy meal in between Mary and Joseph.
There she lay in her blue polka dot dress with her arms at her side as if lying in state, smiling up into the beaming faces of the holy family.
I have written of this before and suggested that perhaps as we have waited for His return, we have grown impatient and filled His place with plastic things of this world that sort of fit, but really don’t.
The whole thing about celebrating His birth is that it is supposed to stir in us the anticipation of His return. As the years pass, we can be lulled into thinking He is not coming back.
We can start to hope that humans can turn this train wreck around. Or that maybe this is all there is so eat, drink and be merry.
But as followers of Christ and as we celebrate the Hope of the world as having come once, we must be urgent and expectant in believing and looking forward to His return.
He will come and He will judge. He will make all things right and new.
He will wipe every tear…there will be no more sickness and death and sorrow. Revelation 22:4 promises us this.
As surely as He came, He will come back <3
Well there you go…the grand finale of our Countdown.
I am praying for each one of you who might read this. I pray for your family to be able to gather. I pray for you to have some quiet moments where you truly celebrate the gift of our Savior.
I pray the calories just melt away from your food and your heart is wrapped in love as the mixture of emotions come and go. I pray if you are traveling, you get where you are going safely and if your loved ones are on their way that angels surround them.
If the weather or sickness is keeping you apart, I pray God fill the space and distance with so much love that it soothes the hurt.
God bless you all and Merry Christmas <3