Last night, after a slew of crazy events and Dave and I taking turns being in and out of town, we finally got a chance to lug out all the Christmas decorations.
The remnants are still strewn across the kitchen.
I can't seem to finish things off and get on to the next thing on my list because in the midst of putting on the finishing touches and doing a gazillion loads of laundry this morning our washing machine broke.
And then our sink disposal broke too...right after I poured a bunch of old macaroni and cheese in it.
Yep. All in one day.
Then tonight Lucy tried to walk up on stage as Elle and the entire 7th grade orchestra held their bows in ready position for the first song in the big Christmas concert. When I tried to cajole her down the stairs in front of the filled-to-the-brim audience in that high school auditorium she started to wail....and continued to let her sentiments be known as I dragged her out.
I'm trying to organize fourteen things coming up for Young Women, Claire has another UTI and my email box is still spilling over despite my valiant efforts. I can never find a phone to make calls on even though it seems to be ringing off the hook...
I haven't started Christmas cards or Christmas shopping and my house is screaming to be organized.
But you know what? It's Christmas and it's strange because for some reason all that nutty stuff swirling on around me that usually fills me with stress can't seem to phase me much. It's like I have this iron armor on protecting me from it somehow.
Maybe it's because I love my family even more today than I did yesterday.
Maybe it's because I get to work with these amazing Young Women and through them I am seeing life from a different perspective.
Maybe it's because Max read us one of my favorite Christmas stories ("Christmas Day in the Morning"by Pearl S. Buck) all curled up together yesterday after church.
Maybe it's because I've been preparing for my Christmas lesson and it's made me more aware than ever of the "Christ" part of the word "Christmas."...and that when we serve others we truly serve Him.
Maybe it's because I'm beginning to realize that life will still go on if I'm flying by the seat of my pants, and I'll miss the richness of the moments that abound around me if I don't slow down.
Last night I told Lucy and Claire they could be in charge of setting out our little nativity.
They have taken their job very seriously ever since and have re-arranged those figures multiple times.
Lucy took an immediate, hushed and reverent liking to Baby Jesus (not surprising with her love of figurines, and not surprising that it still turned my heart all mushy). She carried Him around all night making a sweet little "meow" kitten sound (don't ask why because I'd like to know the same thing).
So of course today He is nowhere to be found.
Those poor shepherds and wise men are gathered around an empty manger:
But even though that manger is empty, He is here. I can feel Him in all that surrounds me this season. The air seems to be a little thicker and the stars seem to twinkle more beautifully and brilliantly than ever because I've shifted my focus from "Christmas" craziness to "Christ-mas" that is holy and calm. I know He lives. And I'm so thankful I get to celebrate His birth with those I love most dearly.
Of course, I can't promise that sentiment will continue always because life seems to march on relentlessly with no time to pause, and my dear children still ignore me and there is a lot to be done. But I hope I can remember to make those pauses and remember what's most important this season.