It was cold here. For almost a week. And by cold, let me qualify that it stayed under 65 degrees Farenheit all day long. Mornings were in the thirties to forties. Then the cold went away and summer returned. As much as I’m grateful not to live where it’s stuck near freezing for the next several months, I am ready for a break from 80 degrees. We wore these outfits last week, one of the days it was cold.
Jax’s face in photo one is how he looks when he’s not feeling well, or is grumpy. He has an actual upset-crying face too, but this is just his grumpy face. How is it that even snotty-nosed, grumpy babies manage to be adorable and lovable?
We’re nearly ready for Christmas. In the last few days I’ve baked five pies (three pumpkin, two pecan), seven dozen muffins (zucchini and cranberry nut), lemon bar cookies, and white chocolate dipped roasted pecans. The last is incredibly addicting, and thus incredibly dangerous.
I’ve also spent two nights wrapping gifts well past my bedtime. I tried wrapping some small stocking stuffers with Jax awake, and it was a no-go. I thought he’d be entertained by all the boxes and spools of ribbon and empty rolls of paper and bins of various wrapping goodies. But he wasn’t. The only three things he wanted to play with were the only three things I couldn’t let him have: my scissors, my scotch tape dispenser, and the wrapping paper I was trying to use. I did loan him the sharpie (lid on) I was using to label things, and that lasted several minutes. So I had to resort to completing my wrapping during his nap and during my precious night sleeping hours. It will be worth it!
A trick we use when traveling with wrapped gifts is to double-wrap everything. The first layer is your wrapping paper of choice. The second layer is clear cellophane wrap. Not the kind you use for leftovers, but what you find on a roll in the gift wrap section. It takes time, because you’re wrapping everything twice. But the cellophane holds up to the trunk, or your luggage, or wherever you’re carting gifts in. It will usually hold together and prevent tears or blemishes on your wrapped gifts. My sister thought of it first, and we’ve been doing it ever since. It also adds a glossy sheen to the gift, which makes the wrapping paper look expensive!
In addition to preparing our baked goods and wrapped gifts, we’ve been preparing our hearts.
In her sermon a couple weeks ago, my mom said something that really struck home: “Christmas isn’t your kids’ birthday. Or your birthday. Or your friends’ birthday. It’s JESUS’ birthday. So in all the chaos and busyness and gift giving, could we tone it down a bit and do something to honor and celebrate Jesus? On your kids’ birthday, lavish them, bless them, make the day all about celebrating them. But on Jesus’ birthday, could we spend some time and money lavishing HIM? Blessing Him? Celebrating Him?” She challenged us to think of ways we could do so.
I get so grieved this time of year with all the excess. Even the excess in my own heart and life, and the excess I greedily think I want more of.
I felt like she really said it well, and little family of three is ready to make some changes to make it more about Jesus’ birthday.
Benjamin suggested we bake Jesus a birthday cake. Sounds great, but instead of eating it, maybe we can take it over to the home of someone who will be alone this Christmas.
I’m still wrestling through this. Wrestling through how Christmas looks, and how I wish it looked in our home. Wrestling through our Christmas budget, and how it’s spent. Wrestling through the selfish greed of my own heart, and the disappointment in my own desires so far away from His.
If any of my readers have ways they have celebrated Jesus’ birthday by meaningful, faith-filled acts, I’d love to hear about them. We’re going to do one or two small things this year, but want to expand in the coming years the percentage of our time and money we spend at Christmas, to more of Jesus’ heart and work, and less of our own. I’d love to hear how other families have wrestled through this, and ways you have found to reduce the noise and excess, and focus on simplicity, giving and celebration.