christmas mash-up

I apologize ahead of time for the randomness of this post. It's been a while, and I'm not sure I remember what I'm doing here...

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I, for one, spent mine snuggling with my man. I was a vision in stretch pants and hair stuck to the side of my face. He's one lucky, lucky guy. At one point, I felt sorry for him. But it's a holiday tradition of mine to wake up Christmas morning and not look in the mirror all day. And not even he could motivate me to break that tradition.

I did bake him some cinnamon rolls to make up for my dark circles, and it seemed to help.

To class it up, I served them up on paper plates. Who wants to do dishes on Christmas?!

Since we don't have little ones yet, we decided that we needed to stop and really appreciate the fact that this would be one of the very few Christmases we will ever have "just us." People with kiddos may want to skip down a couple paragraphs. We slept late, baked in our pjs and ate sugary delights while watching the only Christmas movie we could find - "Love Actually." Then, we played some Mario Kart. But I don't want to damage the vision you have of our romantic Christmas morning. So forget about the video games. We did take a short break from snuggling and Skyped with my family in California. Skype is a miracle, by the way, and God's gift to people like me who end up half way across the country from their mommas. We exchanged gifts with my family and they got to see our faces and squeals of delight, even from 1,200 miles away. Brilliant.

This was the first time EVER for us to spend Christmas morning on our own, and it was perfect. We can't wait until we're woken up by the squeaks and squeals from little voices while their kneecaps massage our spleens, but ours was a great day.

Ok, parents, you can join me now.

And I have a question for all of you, parents or not. What is your favorite (or maybe you could give me a Top 3 List) Christmas tradition with your spouse and/or family? I want to have some really sweet traditions before and after we have a brood of our own, and I'd like your help.

We have one tradition so far: making sweet treats for about 7 homes in our neighborhood. I'd love to do more than that, but well, I'm not a very good cook, and I can only handle two batches of cookies at a time. Fortunately, this year, I had the help of my 14-yr-old neighbor. She sacrificed two nights of her Christmas vacation to help me bake and decorate the gift boxes. What a champ, right?

And the goodies were goooood.

One tradition that we started this year, and that I want to continue with my family, is spending Christmas Eve serving in the community. R and I were invited to a church in South Dallas to serve a Christmas Eve meal and it was such a great experience. It wasn't an easy one for a lot of reasons, but it was a Christmas Eve I won't forget. People from all over the 'Hood came for a hot, delicious meal, followed by small gifts of socks, gloves and cookies. Many people seemed hopeful in their circumstances. Others were discouraged. Many asked me to pray that they could find a job and a home. Many of those were women toting small children behind them.

One person I can't get out of my head is one I didn't speak to at all. I'm not sure he could have gotten coherent words out anyway, though. Toward the end of the day, a guy, maybe 22, came staggering out of the meal room to where we were handing out the gifts. His drink was poured down the front of his shirt and he was either completely wasted or high as a kite. He mumbled a few things, ran into everyone and then wandered back out on the streets.

What I couldn't stop thinking about as he staggered out the door was that this man, this kid, really, is someone's son. Someone, somewhere, didn't know where their kid was on Christmas Eve. Years ago, he was a child who wanted to crawl up in mom or dad's lap and hear that he is loved. Last week, he was a man living on the street and doing what he could to stay out of his right mind.

I can't help but wonder about his story and what brought him to this point in his life. Did he move to Dallas alone and get involved with the wrong people? Did he lose his job and give up? Did his parents kick him out after his addictions got out of control? Was he abused and taught destructive behaviors? Did he lack a father figure? Does anyone know or care where he is? Have they given up on him?

I don't know his story, but I caught a glimpse into his life, and I can't imagine watching my child walk that road. My first reaction was not compassion. He spilled his drink on me, too. But as I watched him stagger away, I couldn't help but see that he is simply lost. He isn't only an addict or only a belligerent drunk. He is also someone's child. Maybe someone's father or uncle. And he's lost right now. I hope his story will be starkly different in the future. While it comes naturally to do so, I shouldn't define him by what he is right now. His story has led up to this moment and there is a reason for his behavior that I don't understand. All I can do is be part of a positive moment in what is probably one of the darkest times in his life.

Going out into the community and getting a strong dose of reality during a time that I would much rather get completely engrossed in my (relatively) functional family is something I don't ever want to stop doing. For some people, Christmas is just another day without a home or food or security. For many, if not most people, it is a day wrought with the perceived shame of not being able to give their children what they want or need. Our circumstances allowed me and my family to have a great Christmas surrounded by people who love us. I don't ever want to forget that I have been incredibly and overwhelmingly blessed in this life. And I don't ever want to forget that Christmas represents a supreme sacrifice in the release of a Son into a broken world.


  1. Love this, Michelle! Definitely savor Christmas with the two of you!
    One of our traditions that we started last year was a Jesse Tree. You can google it online- it's actually a Catholic tradition where you have little ornaments (we made our own last year, Joel's very crafty it turns out) for each day of December leading up to Christmas and they correspond with Jesus' ancestors- then there are some that go along with a characteristic (might not be the right word) of Jesus- Jesus as the Radiant Dawn, Flower of Jesse, etc. There's a Scripture reading that goes along with each day, so every night we read the scripture and hang the ornament on our little rosemary or small pine tree on the table. It was even better this year because we didn't have to make all 25 ornaments- that got a little time consuming, but it was worth it. Okay, that was a novel to share our tradition. Yikes!


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