Usually, I'm shocked at how early the Christmas displays go up at the mall or how early the radio stations start caroling. Usually I start seeing lights go up before Halloween, and cards start arriving in the mailbox before Thanksgiving even rolls around.
But this year I found myself asking, "What's the hold-up?"
Maybe I just didn't see it. Maybe it was all around me, and I simply missed it. Point is, I DID miss it, and I wanted it to come sooner than ever. I found myself checking the mailbox, then worrying that maybe people didn't have our new address, even though we were here for Christmas LAST year. I would check the radio stations and be bummed when the carols weren't playing yet. I missed it!
But that's all in the past, now, because Christmas is upon us, and in full swing! I got our Christmas decorations up this week (Note: Yes, there are 5 stockings, but that is not a hint. We have a stocking for the dogs). I love turning the lights down at night and letting the Christmas lights sparkle in the room. I love the way Ruby notices them out of the corner of her eye and never fails to point to them, look at me, and say, "deh?" I love the way Rae asks me to tell her the story about baby Jesus over and over again.
I've gotten cards in the mail the last two days, and I've started a collage on my kitchen wall. Faces to remember and be thankful for every day. My cards are stuffed and awaiting stamps. Gifts for the family have been ordered and arrived safely. A toy nativity set was purchased to save my poor porcelain set from further abuse (worth every penny). I have cider in the fridge for sipping in the evening, and those oh-so-fattening but oh-so-good Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes that I don't allow the girls to eat. No, no. Those are for Mommy. All we need is some snow on the ground. Not a lot. Just enough to cover the browns and grays of another withering autumn.
I'm thankful for Christmas. I'm thankful that I still tear up when I explain to Rae that the same, helpless baby who lay the manger would grow up to save us all. I'm thankful that she gets it. I'm thankful that she doesn't yet associate Christmas with presents, but instead with a baby, some shepherds, some wise men. I'm thankful that my brother and his family get to come home, and that my entire family will be together again this Christmas. More than one miracle will be celebrated that day.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name