Monday, January 5, 2009

24 Hours of Non-Stop Cheer!

Christmas Eve descended upon us in such a hurry, that I barely had time to finish my shopping. Typically, I am finished with a couple days to spare, but this year I was making purchases well into Christmas Eve. Rushing to beat the clock before 6pm, when all of life comes to a screeching halt!

I wrapped it up and then went home and wrapped it up. All done. brushes hands together and takes a deep sigh.

My house looked like a Christmas circus. Mom had joined us by the afternoon and brought with her what looked like the entire stock of Christmas gifts straight from Santa's workshop! Dodging gifts and dogs, we all rushed to get dressed and head out for the Christmas Eve service at church.

The service is always a much needed reprieve from the hurridness and blurr of the pre-Holiday season. A time to focus and meditate on what the true meaning of Christmas is really all about.

Tomorrow is my sons birthday and one of the things that always comes to mind on his birthday is the sequence of events that occurred that day. Where I ate, who I was with, where we traveled too and when, the time that I first realized and freaked out that I was about to bring a child into this world!

When I woke on Christmas Eve, I spent some time reading in Luke the story of Mary, Joseph and the birth of Jesus. Before the bustle of Christmas began, I wanted to be reminded by Luke the physician, exactly what the details were that accounted for that day and the preceeding and following days. The things that stick with me most are Mary's humbleness and response to the Lord and the events of those days.

In verse 38, Mary humbly and respectfully acknowledges that she "is the Lord's servant," when she was told by the angel Gabriel, that she a woman engaged to be married, a virgin, had found favor in God's eyes and would give birth to this child who would be "great and called the Son of the Most High." (v. 32) Then after enduring, what I can only imagine was much ridicule and shame from onlookers who did know or believe the story she may or may not have told them, she travels per the decree with her fiance to Judea.

Now, I remember explicitly the dull and constant pain that persisted in my lower back the entire day that I had Griffin. Uncomfortably, I managed to walk around the mall, go out to eat at Chili's and reluctantly, head on over to Block Busters so my mom and sister could pick out a movie to watch. Here was Mary, nine months pregnant, traveling on foot or some donkey just to be counted for a census. In today's day, I would have just said; "count me out, man." My 45 minute adventure in Chili's a few hours before Griffin was born is enough to grasp some sort of understanding of the physical discomfort that Mary endured.

And then to arrive and have no place to stay, go into labor and bear a child in a barn! The hospital could not have been sterile enough for me and my baby. Here she was, no pain medicines, doctors, Lamaze techniques or tranquil music playing bearing down and pushing this child into the world in what I can only imagine was near to complete darkness. Just to lie him in a feeding trough.

Then she says, as the Shepherd's arrive and found the three; Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) Mary treasured all these things up! The birth of her son in a barn after an eternally long journey and a visit by Shepherds. Every time I read or hear this story, I am simply amazed at how Mary conducts herself. The strength she had when accepting the risk and offering herself as a servant of the Lord. She truly was an amazing person to have handled such a situation so gracefully.

Well, that little diversion in my 24 hour Christmas marathon truly set the stage for a Christmas to remember. As I journeyed through my day, I stopped periodically to ponder the events or feelings that she may have had. Of course, the only thing I can relate it too is my own birthing experience which happened close to 9:30pm. So, all day I went through a sequence of events similar to my own. Disclaimer here: Now I know it is silly to think that Jesus was born at that time of the evening or to know exactly what time it was, I am just trying to explain my thought process here and how I relate. So any die hard theologians reading this should cool your heels. Right now.

All in all, I drifted in an out of perspective all day long. After finally making it to the Christmas Eve service, my mom, Griffin and I set out on adventure of our own. The pastor made a comment of a Griswald type house on a street called Confederate. Thank the good Lord for GPS, because we were quickly able to type that bad boy street name in and head on over that way to check out the awesome display of lights for our Christmas Eve pleasures. We zipped on up, only to find that the lights were not turned on. So, we missed the "house to see in Houston" this year, but added it to our list of things to do next year.

Now the fun begins. None of this would be entertaining without giving you the chronological details of the evening. So, here goes:

8:45pm, Jill, Eric and Gigi arrive
9:00pm, Jill, Eric, Griffin and Amy head to Dad's for Christmas with that family
11:00pm, Jill, Eric, Griffin and Amy return home
11:30pm, Jill, Eric, Griffin, Amy and mom sit down to eat dinner. NO! I'm not kidding!
12:00pm Griffin finally decides to head to bed without eating because it was too late and he was too tired. imagine that!
12:40pmish Jill, Eric and Amy head over to Santa's storage facility aka Jori's garage to pick up the goods.
1:00am Jill reminds me that this is what I get for insisting on the "if you don't believe, you don't receive" rule in my house. It's really ok to laugh here because that is all we could do at this time too. We were so exhausted.
1:30amish, I think we are done. Jill and Amy open a bottle of wine and try to relax before heading off for a few hours of sleep.

7:00AM- Nana wakes the house! YES! Christmas day is here!

Let the festivities begin! Due to the annual tradition of one person opening a gift at a time, fielding phone calls from relatives, preparing breakfast mid-gift opening, it only took us a few hours to get through the entire gifting experience! But, all fun and memorable hours, for sure.

After a quick clean up came the annual photo in the matching pajama's. Setting the camera on a timer and getting all six of us with dogs included to pose for a picture was quite an event. I'll let the slide show speak for itself on this. But, having matching PJ's and attaining the perfect family picture each Christmas is so worth the effort!

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