This Christmas was different than those that have come before it.
Some of the details aren't important, since I am sure everyone is familiar with the economic impacts going on. This Christmas marked a change in us, a change I would like to both tell you about, and adopt for the future.
It's odd how new tradition comes to be.
This year our plans were based around spending Christmas with my mother. It's been years since we have all had the holidays together, mainly due to distance. My parents moved out of state shortly after John and I got married, and before the birth of our children. Then, my job took us across the country. far far away.
It's only been since July, when we made the decision to move back here to Bend, that we had an opportunity to decide to spend time with family. Normally, packages flow through the mail for weeks beforehand.
This is also the first time since my dad passed away, that we have been together like this. And, since God has been doing a restoration of relationships since that day, it seemed aa perfect finale to the season.
Until the snow started falling the week beforehand.
And falling, and falling, and falling.
We became snowbound in our own home, and roads throughout the Northwest were closed to travel. Just in time for the holidays thankyouverymuch.
We sat around the house, upset that all our Christmas plans were on hold. It forced us to take stock of what we did have. A tree, some decorations .... and that was about it.
Once the city finally remembered our street, and we were plowed John took the initiative to get out and dig up the driveway. A final emergency run to Costco and WalMart ensued. We had no money to give the kids, so a mall budget of $30.00 was allotted each of them. That had to buy gifts for their siblings and if they so chose, parents.
We covered a small dinner.
For a couple of days, little gifts appeared under the tree and in stockings. There was whispering and deals cut behind the scenes.
Christmas morning came, and the traditional Cinnamon rolls appeared. As gifts were opened, there was excitement in the air. Instead of a load of big, expensive presents there were small things. Well thought out things. Sample bottles of a favorite cologne or new bath lotion to try. Complete with a loofah. A favorite CD, a new Tracfone. Sample sizes of mani/pedi supplies and facial ingredients.
Gifts were exchanged that truly went to the heart of what the receiver needed, or wanted.
That morning, there was no excess. No gifts that would be cast aside and forgotten about. Each gift was praised, the giver thanked profusely. The frenzy of gift opening was replaced with a relaxed and joyful time.
Honestly I think it took us longer to open gifts this year than in years before.
(We did have the chance to finally get over the mountains and see my mom this past week, and a fun time was had by all).
But, I will remember the simple lessons of this restful Christmas. And the lessons we learned about giving to each other thoughfully, and receiving with full attention and gratitude.