Where has my life gone?
I got to work today at 630am (Starbucks), and everything was red and shiny, all new merchandise and Mariah was squealing Christmas carols in the background. The red cups were actually out the day after Halloween. (My red cup post) But I think I saw some Christmas items in other retail stores around September so whatever… Can I just be grateful and thankful for all that I have before you try to sell me more?!?! I’m supposed to be cherishing the priceless things in life right now like family, health, waking up this morning, JESUS CHRIST, employment, a home, water to drink, food to eat, people who love me, espresso… I was actually talking to a coworker this morning, she mentioned she likes Thanksgiving better than Christmas, and I realized I kind of agree. The reason? no presents! Now- not to be ungrateful, my family is extremely thoughtful, creative, and very intentional in giving gifts, I would say over half of everything I own, was at one time a gift from family and loved ones, whether for Christmas, Birthdays, Wedding, Bridal shower, or just being generous. But its so nice to come to Thanksgiving dinner every year with family, no matter what we have been through, and just eat the same comforting, nourishing foods we have always eaten, with some new recipes mixed in, and just relax, and be thankful.
The food actually reflects us in a way, in some ways we are the same as our families before us who probably used some of the same recipes, and gathered in a similar way. In so many ways, I’m the same person as I was when I was five, eating the same foods at Thanksgiving. But in some ways, we have all changed and grown.
Thanksgiving and Christmas have been an ocean of emotions for me in the last few years. Its a spicy and bittersweet mix of comfort, sadness, happiness, peace, gratitude, and humbleness. It’s as if I find myself full and empty at the same time. Full of family, food, gifts, grateful for the Father and all he has done for us as another year has flown by, but empty because I know that my family in Uganda goes without, and that there are so many who don’t have the food, family, and gifts, and saddest of all, there are many who don’t feel the love of the Father and the hope and light of Christmas.
I want my son to have a warm, comforting Christmas like I did every year. Where we played games and cherished each other, and where you can sprawl out in the floor in footie pajamas, eating rice crispy treats or sausage balls, and watching Its a Wonderful Life or The Christmas Story on replay.
And that is another thing- many people say that all the food and gifts and movies and lights and decorations and Santa, is too much and takes away from the meaning of Christmas- (and for some it seems it does)but all of this is the way that I MOST learned and felt, the true meaning of Christmas- LOVE. My parents were not obligated to do a million things to make life special for us, I still don’t comprehend where they found the money, time, or energy, to be honest, but they cherished us, and they cared for us, and they made life special, they made life feel… ALIVE. They made us feel loved. Really and truly loved. That is why it brings me to tears every year that goes by when I go back home to my family home and feel that comfort and joy and hope and peace and love, again, for another year, but I don’t have the opportunity to include my child in that love.
I want to roll him around in it! Am I obligated to put up a tree with him and make Christmas cookies, snuggle on the couch, buy him some new socks, educational toys, and books, ride through Mcadenville and look at the lights, make hot cocoa and sip it around the fire pit, laugh and put a Santa Claus hat on the family pets? No… do I even have the time, money, and energy to do all that? no, but I love him. From the deepest pits of my heart and soul I love every ounce of him and I want to cherish him and romance him the way that Jesus cherished and romanced me. And the way my parents showed me that unconditional love and comfort, that I now know comes from The Most High God himself. Christmas was always Christmas, and Thanksgiving was always Thanksgiving no matter what. All of our family holidays are this way, even 4th of July and New Years, they are family holidays for fellowship and fun.
Even when I was a vegetarian, even when we were not all present, even when I got arrested, even when my heart was broken, even when I had the flu last year, sprawled out in the floor, didn’t remember what gifts I opened and slept through two Christmases with the in laws- the love, joy, comfort, peace, and hope were exactly the same-Thanksgiving was home and Christmas was home. it was love. It was arms stretched out for a hug, even if you didn’t want one or thought you weren’t worthy. It was love that couldn’t be taken, broken, warped, lied about, or missed. If that isn’t Jesus, if that isn’t God, if that isn’t Thanksgiving, if that isn’t Christmas, then I don’t know what is.
update 1.1.16-fundraising page!