Merry Christmas

T’was the night before Christmas and cinnamon rolls needed to be made. I have my mother-in-laws recipe and try as I may over the last 18 years I have yet to perfect the gooiness of the recipe. Into the fridge they go to rise and the hope that the quadruple batch of goo is enough. The excitement is in the air as the kids anticipate the un-wrapping of gifts but first it’s the candlelight service to remind us of the true reason for the season.

To say I was able to sit down and write over the last couple of days would be silly. I wanted to on Wednesday but instead was there for a patient in need. Yesterday being Christmas Eve, the day started off with heading to work to find out my friend/boss made up the whole day and surprised her staff with a Christmas party that had games, food and ended with prizes and an awesome embroidered work jacket. There is something about the Christmas season that is so special to me. Growing up we would get together as a family at grandma’s house on Christmas Eve. All the aunts, uncles and cousins would show up with food for the potluck. Aunt Betty’s fudge was amazing and smell of the turkey could be smelled all through the house. My cousin Leah and I would play with the slinky down the steps following close behind sliding down on our butts. Three long tables were set up in her “back room” and we would all cram around to eat on our favorite foods. Stories were told and laughter was loud. We would end our day together around the Christmas tree opening presents.

Over years the get together at grandma’s would get smaller with kids going to college and family units spitting but the love was always still there. Even when I went to college in northern Cali I would make sure to get back down to South Cali for Christmas so that I could surround myself with the love the was there. Christmas is always about the church services too. It was a way to rejoice and sing about what happened on that day so long ago. The story of Christ’s birth is so amazing to me. A young couple having to travel so far from home just to be counted by a harsh ruler that wanted to tax them more. The young woman so pregnant she probably couldn’t see her feet much less use them properly from them being so swollen. The way in which they traveled was not in luxury. Though I am sure the donkey tried, I couldn’t imagine the amount of blankets needed to cushion the ride. Mary and Joseph rose to the occasion, went on a journey, Mary gave birth in a barn (with only her husband to help), and still trusted that God was in control. Now picture the lowliest of people being the main witnesses to the miracle. During that time shepherds were not highly regarded. They slept with the sheep, didn’t shower much and probably didn’t talk to people hardly at all. These were the people the God chose to witness Christ’s birth. The shepherds, followed the star and saw the Savior, from that moment on a tradition was started. God chose to be with humble, he chose to show himself to the meek, and the not so powerful. He himself came from humble beginnings, learning to be a carpenter. Even when He should have shown His power and might He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey rather than a stallion.

Christmas morning brought cinnamon rolls that probably could of had another quadruple amount of gooiness, if my hubby had his way. It brought with it Tyler running into my room so excited to see what was under the tree, while the girls tried their hardest to get just a little more sleep. Before presents could be opened the pictures had to be taken and Tyler insisted on being the one to read the story of Christ’s birth to the family. Santa had come during the night and managed to bypass the sleeping child who snuck out of his room at some point to sleep on the couch. The stockings were filled, and Santa filled his belly once more. This year has definitely had it’s ups and downs, it hasn’t been easy, but when you know that you are not the one in control and that the one that is knows your struggles there is so much hope and joy. I know Christmas doesn’t mean the same to everyone, but for me it is where my joy starts and it flows from there. Living Joyfully is my way of remembering and encouraging the joy that is within so that I can send it out to share with others. With Christmas already here instead of wishing you a merry one, I will say go and find your joy. If you need a place to start or a person to show you the way, look at the book of Luke in the Bible and read chapters 1-24. Find your peace there, find joy and love too. Until next time:

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of t he Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you:  You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manager.
Luke 2:4-12

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