This has already been such a neat Christmas. First of all, Jackson is at a great age. He's old enough to understand somewhat, but he doesn't remember last year and isn't obsessed with getting presents tomorrow. But I told Curt that this will be the last year that we're not woken up at 6 a.m. by an excited child coming down the stairs! Although when that happens next year it will be a whole lot of fun, too.
Second, being in a new house in a new-old city, we've gotten to lay a foundation for our family traditions for years to come. It's been so fun. And I don't feel like we've put a ton of pressure on ourselves to make everything super spiritual or "magical." Christmas is already those things if you set your heart on Christ every day. We've enjoyed lots of freedom in that area, if that makes any sense. Last year I felt a lot of guilt about everything cool and deep that so-and-so was doing that we weren't, but I did not pick it back up this year. I just want us to be who we are as a family and who we are in Christ. I don't want to pressure us to get on somebody else's bandwagon or play the comparison game in my mind. Wow, how did I get talking about this? Moving on now!
Third, it's really special to be great with child at Christmas. Thinking about the birth of Christ comes pretty naturally when you've got a little one kicking around in there all the time.
Fourth, this is the first time since our very first married Christmas to wake up in our own home on Christmas morning. We will set out for Missouri on Friday, but it's been nice (and very unusual) not to be traveling all over the place this year. (I think I feel an extra measure of calm because we didn't just travel for Thanksgiving.) This December we were not as busy as in years past, probably because Curt is no longer on a church staff. Ministers are busy, busy, busy during the holidays with all the church Christmas parties and services they have to run and attend. It's fun but the calendar fills up fast!
My husband has been amazing this Christmas. He happily took on most of the responsibility for our Christmas shopping and year-end giving. I can't tell you how much relief that brought me, (A) because it is so hard trucking around town with my pregnant self and (B) because Jackson hates being in a stroller and that makes going to the mall with him impossible right now. If he throws a fit and flails about on the floor, Pregnant Girl is pretty much powerless to do anything but watch. (Don't worry, Mama will get her strength back in 7 weeks!)
Tonight we started what might be a new tradition for us. I hope it is because it was so much fun. We went to my parents' house for dinner. Melissa and my mom had been cooking and baking all afternoon and we had all sorts of treats. Colin and Mom made us Reuben sandwiches on the skillet. It turns out Colin worked at Jason's Deli when he was a teenager and he has mad skillz at sandwich making. I ate mine without the sauerkraut (that stuff is just sick) and it was great. My mom's dad used to make these sandwiches at Christmastime and she was really missing it. We had the best time sitting around the table and visiting.
My dad gave me back my camera bag tonight and I thought it felt a lot heavier than normal. When I opened it I saw that he had left his super duper lens on it. Not knowing how to take it off myself, I took the camera bag to him and said, "Daddy, you left your lens on there." Then he told me that, no, that wasn't his lens. That was my new lens! He had just bought it for me today! Along with a new battery! I could not believe it. What a sweet surprise! I've been trying it out tonight and I think it's going to be really great to have. Thanks, Daddy! What great timing with Christmas tomorrow and the baby coming soon. I told you he was the most generous person ever.
We came home and put The Sir to bed quickly. Mom and Dad Elf had lots to do! Curt had to put together this awesome race track that Jackson is going to flip out over. I know this because his friend Nathan has one and he went nuts over it when he got to play with it. We got out the video camera which, shamefully, hasn't been used since last Christmas. We watched the footage of when he got his bounce house and it was so cute. He wasn't talking a lot then, but he squealed so loud. Oh my gosh, I love that boy.
I hope you all have a fabulous Christmas with your loved ones tomorrow. And if you don't have your loved ones, you have the unique chance to focus on the Savior in a huge way. Not that it wouldn't be hard, but I bet it would be one of those things that would be very sweet to look back on later. (Angela in Romania! We love you, sister!) I pray each of you can feel the nearness of Christ tomorrow.