Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm Mary...

One Christmas, Mom and I were Christmas shopping in a Hallmark store in Houston, two preschoolers in tow. We had just picked the girls up from Mother’s Day Out and run in for a minute. It was one of those hoity-toity stores where the clerks follow you around from aisle to aisle just waiting for you to break something, so we each quickly grabbed the hand of one of the kids.

Ashley had on that cute little red Christmas jumper with straps that tied at the shoulder and were finished with green Christmas tree appliqu├ęs that hung down the front of the dress. I don’t know when or how she got away, but after only a few minutes, I looked up and saw my little red- headed pixie climb up on a rocking horse in the window display, pull the back of her dress up over her head like a shawl, pooch her skinny little stomach out as far as she could manage and loudly announce, “MY NAME IS MARY. AND I AM JUST ABOUT READY TO HAVE THIS BABY.” I grabbed her off the rocking horse, turned to Mom and said, “Lets go, Granny. Ashley is about to deliver,” and we rushed out of the store in stitches!

Every Christmas we look back and realize that at every turn of the road we never really realized how blessed we were. The kids were only little a few minutes, it seemed, and we sometimes didn’t find the time to enjoy every minute of it!

This year is no different, except now it is easier to see... Christmas blessings from me and my house, to you and yours.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Nuts and Bolts Nativity

The little church we went to when our kids were preschoolers had very limited resources. Looking back, we probably didn’t need that much, to start with... We just had one class of babies, one class of one year olds, one class of two year olds, and so on. So maxxing out at about 5 preschool classes, we just didn’t need THAT many resources. Except in December. Except at Christmas.

It really was a challenge to share the one Nativity puzzle we owned among all the Sunday School rooms when everyone ultimately needed it the same day. We decided that when one teacher finished using it, they could run it down the hall to the next room so the next class could take a turn.

I’ll never forget the day it happened. My friend Emily was teaching the four year old class. She set up the block corner and added the one container we had with all the various sized nuts and bolts in it. Nuts and bolts are a great “manipulative” and a wonderful home made puzzle, as the kids can spend a lot of time matching the correct sized nuts to the correct sized bolts. Promotes cognitive thinking skills as kids match the sizes, fine motor coordination as they screw and unscrew all the nuts, and all that preschool developmental jazz.

But in the middle of Sunday School, in the block center, the most astonishing thing happened in the four year old class that long ago December day. As I was delivering the puzzle to Emily’s room, she waved me off. “We don’t need it today. Look.” It was there on the floor in the block center .

The biggest nut and bolt had become Joseph. The medium nut and bolt had become Mary. The itty bitty one was, of course, the baby Jesus. And all the other nuts and bolts were gathered around in worship.

The kids had figured it out as they played in the center and Emily told them the Bible story.

Teachable moment…. Especially for me.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Don't Forget the Wonder

It’s Christmas again.

I remember the year it seemed like Christmas for the very first time…sharing the wonder of His birth with our then little two-year old daughter, Kari. She was hearing the angels singing for the very first time, seeing the lights and the Star, and knowing the joy of His birthday is such a fresh, sensitive way.

If she asked me once, she asked me a hundred times, “Mommy, Jesus was born in a barn???” And it bothered her so much that she renamed her only baby doll “Baby Jesus” and prepared Him a bed in her room, beside hers, in a tiny doll bassinette with lots of warm blankets, and pillows and …and that’s the secret of joy, isn’t it? Prepare Him room. Let every ♥ prepare Him room.

And don’t forget the wonder…

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Christmas Musings

I guess I learned to love Christmas from my Dad. It was, hand’s down, his favorite time of year. Enchanted by the delicious magic of it all, his blue eyes twinkled brighter at Christmas than any other time. The things I remember most are the things Mom and Dad did with us, and in making our own entertainment we were rich beyond imagination… Driving around looking at Christmas lights, watching people at the mall (especially children), huge extended family holidays at Mama Jo’s old sprawling Oklahoma farmhouse with more people than you could count,

lying by the tree and watching the lights twinkle to the Christmas music Dad always kept playing. (Back in those days, the lights were bigger and had individual “twinklers”, not like the strands we have today. Dad named them after choir members at church to get an even bigger laugh…the one that always came in late was “Dave”, etc.)

Family was priceless, friends were always welcomed, snuggles were longer and warmer, and Christmas came amidst the beauty of it all.