So, I took a day off from posting yesterday because Liv and I kept my niece overnight. Rather than scramble for words, I opted to chase some kiddos. It was fun. And now I return.
Something about this Christmas has me remembering holiday memories from way back. Things like…
…Saturday-after-Thanksgiving trips to Schilling’s Christmas Tree Farm. Real trees. Real saws. Real tractors.
…Decorating the tree and listening to Amy Grant’s Christmas album and Tennessee Ernie Ford’s The Story of Christmas. We would unpack the ornaments and I loved looking for my favorites – the ornament from my first Christmas, the white plastic wreaths with our pictures in them, and Mom’s collection of Snoopy ornaments.
…Watching Chip ‘n’ Dale Christmas shorts. That’s the cartoon, folks. The cartoon chipmunks.
…The year that Mom and Dad got me the coat I really wanted. I thought it was so incredibly trendy. I think I screamed when I opened it. Fashion’s always been a thing…
…Family gatherings at Aunt Susie and Uncle Ronnie’s house. I loved seeing her tree…and seeing which of the cousins was brave enough to slide down their fire pole. That’s right. They had a fire pole. Totally awesome.
…Waiting for my turn to open the Advent calendar in December and knowing that Mom would have put something super cool in there.
…My freshman year of college, feeling sad and lonely about being away from home around the holidays. One Sunday, Mom called and told me to meet her in Newport. She drove up with a tiny Christmas tree and music-themed ornaments for my dorm room.
…Spending the night at Nana and Grandpa’s on Christmas Eve and watching Little Women by the fire.
…Monogrammed bath towels from Mimi. She always got me peach or pink. How I wish I still had at least one of them.
There are some newer memories…
…Mom handing the Advent calendar down to me, completely refurbished and fully stocked when Livi was one year old.
…The Christmas cookie bake-off. The sisters. The mother. The grandmother. The children and, if they’re brave, the men. We bake. We decorate. We graze. Fun is had by all. This year, my younger sister Holly hosts. She is the first of the sisters to claim that rite of passage. It’s a big deal.
…Christmas Eve in pajamas at Mom and Charlie’s and how, with each passing year, Liv becomes more aware of the excitement that’s coming in the morning.
It’s not always been a ‘picture print by Currier & Ives.’ Every family’s story has some pain in it, some heartbreak, both collective and individual. Every family’s story has some mess. But there is a Redeemer who put on flesh and was born into a lineage with its own share of checkered chapters, in a setting that was least likely to be regal or picturesque. And, to paraphrase Beth Moore, He redeemed the entire line. So I can look back over my history and my family’s history, and I can still find joy hiding out in those unlikely places. Because I can see how He has already healed so many broken things. Given so much beauty for ashes. Poured out the oil of gladness instead of mourning. And I know He’s not done with us yet.
“Is there any God like you, forgiving iniquity, passing over transgressions by the survivors who are your heritage?” Micah 7:18
No. There is absolutely no one like You.