Merry Merry Christmas! It is still dark out this morning, and I am up before everyone else. Our animals are early risers and sadly I can't sleep in, even when I try.
We have been playing Christmas music for the past month ( I love it when I hear my kids humming and singing along with the likes of Tony Bennet or Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald. It just ups their coolness a little more). Whenever I hear the carol "Away In A Manger" it makes me giggle to myself, because at this time of year, at our house, we really do hear the cattle lowing. Not because we live in a barn, or own a cow (although, truth be told, I have looked up photos and info on miniature cows on the internet. Miniature donkeys too. They are adorable.) but because the ranch across the street is currently full of calves and mommies who tend to call out for each other at all hours at this time of year. I love hearing it in the background, even when a little calf is being very very persistent in it's search for mama. It's sweet.
We decorated the house the day after Thanksgiving and I noticed right off that one of my favorite Christmas items was missing. It's a big red book with "The Family Christmas Book" written in green on the cover. But it's way more than a book; it's my record of Christmases past, and the ways our family has been spectacularly blessed every year. On each page, since the year Grace was born, I have taped in a photo and that year's Christmas card, and there are several lines on which to record "How we celebrated the season" and "Events of the past year". In the Christmas story in the book of Luke, it mentions that "Mary kept all of these things, and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19) - this book is where I 'keep all of these things'. Jason being born - it's in there. Our first trip to East Asia is recorded. Simple things like Grace starting dance class or Jason's first year in little league. The year we bought our house (a daily reminder to me of the grace and immense love of God for me). Our first summer project to El Salvador. Fantastic trips to Washington DC and Pennsylvania, Arizona, and a family reunion at the Grand Canyon. Answered prayer for our families. The births of cousins, and the way my kids have celebrated their birthdays every year of their lives. They are all in there, and without the book, there was a hole in my Christmas. I scoured the bookshelves and dug around in the attic to no avail.
Then, three days ago, one more spot came to mind, and lo and behold, there it was!! Last night I added this year's info and was once again reminded of how greatly we have been blessed. At this time of year it is especially good to 'ponder these things' in our hearts. Again, a Merry Merry Christmas to each and every one of us.