Monday, December 26, 2011

Grace under Fire

Christmas Day is always a mixed bag for me, and a challenge to stay composed. I am on one hand; joyous to celebrate and recognize the birth of Jesus. I am aware this isn't his real birthday, just a time to reflect on it. And on the other hand; I am sad because so many people I love are no longer with us. It happens every Christmas- I just have to take a moment to myself and cry. I usually steal way to a bathroom and have a good little sob, while wishing my Mother, Grandparents, Brothers, and friends who have passed on a *Merry Christmas*. I can't help but think back of all the wonderful times we had...and miss them terribly. But then I splash cold water on my face, and return to the merriment. They would want me to, after all, but it's a challenge to mask the sadness for the moment.

After the gifts are opened and exchanged, as carols play and lights twinkle, we start preparing for guests. Ribbon and wrapping paper is thrown away, and the cooking and baking begins. My kitchen goes from cozy-to-science-experiment in just a matter of hours. It is at this point that I have to just *breathe*!! Noone cares how my kitchen looks, they are here to celebrate. Just the idea that all these loved ones, friends, family and neighbors would take time on Christmas Day to come to my home and truly fellowship with us, and each other is so humbling, again, I almost cry. People are packed in, dog is barking, men are laughing, tree is sparkling, women are chattering and it's just such a beautiful mess. It's like no other holiday, and I'm always emotional, but trying to look like I'm not. My Mother In Law is telling a story and shes speaking so fast with her beautiful German accent- it sounds almost like tongues. My husband looks across the room at me and catches my eye to say; *All is well Mrs. Hunt*.

In amongst all this annual chaos, I am torn. I want to spend individual time with every person who has honored me and my husband with their company on such a precious day. But I can't. I only have a couple of minutes to spare here and there and I'm flitting about like a little bird, asking if everyone is alright? Pointing the way to the ice chest, introducing friends to family, picking up on a conversation here and a bit of news there. I have a baby asleep on my shoulder and I take a minute to rock him, feeling like I might be slacking on my hostess duties, but by golly- babies don't keep! This moment is sacred. It's my grandson's first Christmas! Silas won't remember this, but I will, and so will his parents. As I look around, I see everyone is perfectly fine. They have everything they need. This moment is meant to be. Silas is breathing softly on my neck and I think "Really, am I going to cry again???" No, not were anyone can see. But there it goes... that one little tear that I hope noone see's as I kiss his sweet little cheek and whisper "Merry Christmas Silas, Jesus loves you".

Cookies are munched on, pie is enjoyed, coffee is perked and a bit of wine is flowing. This day is such a roller coaster of emotion! Love for my Savior, and appreciation for His birth. It reflects in the faces of everyone present. My annual challenge is to keep my composure, as I often want to throw my head back and laugh out loud, cry like a baby, and kiss every single person who walks through my door. It's what my Mother called: "Grace Under Fire" and it's my number one homemaking skill. I often wonder if everyone doesn't feel the same on Christmas Day?

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