I remember planning our oldest daughter’s first birthday party. That’s been almost thirteen years ago now, but I remember at the time thinking, THIS IS SO MUCH WORK. I also remember thinking, this is a reminder, of sorts, of how much work it was to bring her in to this world. The pain of labor. The stress. The exhaustion. The toll it took on my body. Every birthday since, for each of our kids, I think about that. As I plan and then execute whatever birthday plans we have for them, I am reminded yet again of how much work it was, to give them life.
This month, is the most exhausting month of the year. But, in the stillness, there is So. Much. Magic.
I love the memories of waking up at my Gran and Grandad’s house in Kentucky to a big breakfast of grits, country ham and red eye gravy. I love that my mom always got me a baby doll for Christmas, even when I was probably too old to play with one. I love that MY baby dolls are Abby’s favorite now. I love that we have a tree full of old Christmas ornaments and a house full of old decorations. Those are tied to some of my most favorite memories.
I love Christmas Vacation and Elf. My most favorite movie at Christmas time though, is The Family Stone. If you know me well, and you’ve seen the movie, you know why. Diane Keaton’s character…she gets me every. single. year. Big ugly crocodile tears. I don’t love A Christmas Story. I just don’t. And don’t get me started on the creepy clay animation cartoons. Eeek.
We start listening to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, which is generally when we always put the tree up too. O’ Holy Night is my all time favorite Christmas song, but I fight the tears every year on Christmas Eve, when the lights are dim, the candles are lit and an entire sanctuary of people sing Silent Night.
I love that people are a little kinder. More giving. More open to receiving, this time of year. I love the magic of believing in Santa Claus, such a fleeting thing that just adds to the awe and wonder of the season. I love that we still have a kiddo or two that believes.
And so, as I am running on fumes after a whirlwind trip down to my Grandparent’s for their big Christmas, after band concerts, Christmas programs, dance recitals, class parties, shopping, wrapping, baking, running, running, RUNNING…THIS, this stress, this exhaustion, this anxiety, the amount of work it takes to pull it all together, the work, the labor, the pain of it all…IT is ALL preparation for AND a reminder of THE greatest birth story in the history of the world. The sacrifice, the pain, the toll it took on Mary, to bring our Savior into the world.
The distractions don’t have to distract us. The rush doesn’t have to be for nothing. The entirety of all the craziness, doesn’t have to hold little to no meaning. We do ALL of it, every ounce of it, readying us for the most meaningful and inspiring birthday of all. Tonight, in the stillness, once the kiddos are in bed, take a deep breath, and with a grateful heart, be reminded of Mary’s toil, and prepare your soul for the elation to come in the morning. That same elation that was felt when you looked into the eyes of your own child for the very first time, on their birthday.
Thank you, Mary. Thank you, God. Happy Birthday, Jesus.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
As always, thanks for reading!