Sunday, December 11, 2011

In bitty pieces

4:01 p.m. Today's project was to get my daughters' and daughters- in-laws' opinions on what my sons and sons-in law want for Christmas. Was all that punctuated right? Goodness! Somehow, you don't think of these things when birthing child after child!

Since we'd all agreed that it is going to be "that kind" of a Christmas season, ie., very low budget on gifts, the replies came back very appropriately. As for us, I asked for a manicure and pedicure, a seafoam green bathroom rug set from KMart--the Martha Stewart line comes in a fantastic array of colors--and a new pair of dark blue Wrangler or Lee jeans for their dad. The Levi 501's he loves to wear to church are now pretty stressful for him to deal with.

Even my high school age grandsons asked for modest gifts, characteristic of their kind and understanding hearts, I just love them to death! The older one, Adrian, has a birthday on the 21st, so I'll be keeping him in mind for an earlier gift. Since my sister, nor Steve's siblings and we never did exchange gifts after starting our families, that has been a definite stress-buster. Meaningful cards have always been the only expectation, and I love posting the greetings on my card wall. Our kids and spouses all do a secret gift exchange, and it's fun to see them unwrap their stuff, really clever, funny, and just right for each person.

There's only my dad left of the grandparents, so the yearly challenge to find Daddy a gift he won't surreptitiously return to me a few weeks later is on!

It always amazes me that one birth  of  one man in history, Jesus Christ, has originated a season of gift-giving and celebration over 2,000 years in Western civilization, and now, because of worldwide evangelism,  He is beloved and celebrated on all of the continents of the earth! In the USA, commercial pressure has many people I know either frenziedly completing their gift list, or paralyzed with worry over their limited ability to do so. Either way, I hear more women saying, "I just can't do anything until after the holidays," whether they can or not. Television commercials have created such a sense of urgency that discomfort has replaced delight in gathering together at church, fellowships, or at home with our families for meals and traditional activities that aren't necesarily expensive. I think the gift of time is what many family members would enjoy this time of year. It's a great thrill when my kids text me an invite to an activity with them, or respond positively to a request for help decorating. And now as adults, they get together as married couples, a reflection of the closeness our family has experienced, by the grace of God!

In years past, the girls and I would take the malls by storm, fill up our gift lists, and bake non-stop. Baking is still a goal and a plan for the last half of the month, as is a Christmas breakfast and dinner. Christmas Eve service will be the opening of our celebration, with supper potluck preceeding our White Elephant gift exchange.

As the year comes to an end, I admit that traditional Christmas activities and preparations are very meaningful to me, absolutely, and I pray that my children will adopt some of them while adding  traditions from their in-laws as well. But now, with issues of aging and particularly Steve's dementia coming into play, I tend to be in the mode of Psalm 16:5-9, trusting God for my life today, and for my eternal life more firmly than ever:

O LORD, You are the portion of
 my inheritance and my cup;
 You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.

I have set the LORD always before
Because He is at my right hand I
  shall not be moved.

Therefore, my heart is glad, and
   my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will rest in hope.

Enjoy the treats and events of the season, the people and the pageantry. But rest in hope, and as Romans 15:13 says, be filled with all joy and peace in believing!

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