It's that holly jolly time of year, so they say. But just thinking about all the preparations of Christmas stalls me in my tracks. The decorating, the baking, the shopping (ugh), the wrapping (oh my), the trying to make it a special time that the children will remember and cherish always bring me to my knees. It requires a lot of work, a lot of get up early mornings and late into the evenings and exhaustion etched in my face and body. And so Christmas- is not my favorite time of the year and it kills me to admit that.
So when my daughter, Chrissy said "Mom let's put the tree up!" on November 28th. I thought, in my head.... NO!!!! But outwardly I said... (Hmmm. I don't think I said anything.) I think I was hoping my silence would say it all. But she did not take silence for no, she took it instead as let's do it! And she did. Starting with the first problem. Problem #1- Move the couch upstairs. This first hurdle was worsened by the fact that- a) Jordan wasn't here; we were down in man power and b) Dad fell off his truck tire and onto the back of his truck while trying to get in the tool box and fractured some ribs- Two men down significantly hampers sofa moving... upstairs no less. But Chrissy- now adorned in her Santa hat was not deterred. She emboldened the rest of us that we could do this. She reminded me of how strong I was... (This was true- I didn't get the nickname Muscle Mama for nothing :) (Wait- I think that was a self proclaimed title... and it really didn't catch on as I recall- nonetheless- she was remembering now and I was heeding the call!) We moved that couch upstairs like it was only a hefty recliner instead of the lofty couch it was! And then Problem #2- it didn't fit upstairs- rearranging was needed. So we rotated the furniture once- nope it didn't fit- then twice- it just didn't feel right. Three times- a full rotation now everything had now been moved and as we set the couch down- a scratching sound was heard, even downstairs where Duane was and he came barreling up the stairs to see what was the matter. Unfortunately, my spatial skills never have been very good and they didn't decide now was their time to step up their performance. Thus the couch came down on my side against the stair railing and nicked and scratched the wood all the way down until the couch came to its resting spot. CRAP! But the good thing is if anyone else had done it, I would have had a flipping conniption, but since it was me I could only blame myself. Dang it! I was done. Moving 2 couches 3 times was enough and now I had a permanent souvenir on my railing to remind me of this joyous occasion. Ugh Christmas!
But Chrissy went on. She got out the Christmas tree that already had the lights on it. So that was one less stress for me to handle since that was always my job. Problem #3 It didn't look right. She asked me to come see the tree. I told her in my exhausted state that it would be fine. She didn't relent. I crawled down the stairs. She was right. The tree was too small. It was a corner tree and we had just taken the sofa up leaving the entire window area open for the tree to be displayed. This was no good. We would have to pack out Big Bertha and put her up branch by stinkin branch.
And so Chrissy took down Scrawny and went back to the garage still humming a Christmas carol and dragged out the two tubs of Big Bertha and got little Cassidee to help her lay it out from largest to smallest to put it up. And so they did. Problem #4- Big Bertha did not earn that name by accident. She didn't fully fit in the tub and one lid was a skewed. The branches in that tree did not look right, neither did they smell right. There was massive dust balls gathered throughout the branches. A fainter heart would have shrunk at this point. But Chrissy got out the vacuum and sucked up all the dust and material matted on the branches and got the Christmas pine scented spray out and sprayed each branch and no one would have guessed their previous condition.
And now it was time for lights. I felt compelled to help now; she had been through so much without a word of complaint- still holly- still jolly. Problem #5- We need three strands of lights for Big Bertha and as we tested out the lights only 2 worked- of course. An idea emerged, take the lights off of Scrawny and put them on Big Bertha. So as I wound the first string of lights around the tree, Chrissy and Nick endeavored to take out Scrawny again-since she had already been put away and try to unravel a white set of lights off of her. There were white strands of lights mixed with red strands on Scrawny. It was another daunting task, but they prevailed. Once Chrissy got those lights untangled she held the lights for me as I weaved around the tree so they wouldn't get tangled. Putting up lights had never been easier!
It was then that Chrissy took off the Santa hat and wrapped a Christmas ribbon around her head in warrior fashion (and truly she had earned Christmas Warrior status). And soon thereafter I felt a wrapping go around my head as she tied one on me and her little helper Cassidee. It was ornament time and all the family emerged for this. Many ornaments triggered memories of Christmas's past. There was Jordan in Kindergarten and then his latest ornament with his missionary picture. I shed a tear. This would be Jordan's last Christmas with us for the next couple of years. Then they handed me my Dad's remembrance ornament. "Man among Men" more tears. And home made crocheted ornaments from a neighbor growing up and all of Mom's Welcome to Christmas ornaments and the precious ones of baby Jesus that we tenderly placed in the center of our tree. The tree was full and so was my heart. It was the best trimming of the tree I could remember. I never yelled once or ended up decorating the tree by myself. We were all there. Kids decorating. Dad taking pics.
And we had found it... the Christmas spirit.... in full abundance. There was laughter in the air, there was Mom remember this one?..., there was crazy poses for pics and there was love all around. I looked at my Christmas warrior daughter, yes she had fought the good fight and she had won. I felt such gratitude that she had never lost the Christmas spirit during the whole ordeal and that she had helped us all to find it.
My wish to you dear ones-May you also find the Christmas spirit and when you do.... don't let it go. Keep fighting for it during shopping, baking, outside light hanging, wrapping and trying to make it a cherished Christmas for all! May you remember the one who slept in the manger and hangs in the center of the tree and loves and lives for us. He is the reason for the season. May we be like Him and look to make someone else's burden lighter. May we spread the joy around and hum a tune when things are tough. Battle on Christmas Warriors battle on! For finding the spirit of Christ... is worth the battle.