Friday, December 27, 2013

Faithful Friday: Upside-down Christmas

The holidays are almost never what we imagine them to be. 

On Christmas Eve, children go to bed with visions of sugar plums, while parents dream of picture perfect celebrations.  But often when we awake, our reality lacks luster.  The magic we'd hoped for just doesn't arrive.

Such plans I'd had for this Christmas.  My heart was in the right place.  It wasn't about what was under the tree but who was around it.  I entered the season prayerfully.  Prepared.

Traditions of pajamas, appetizers, and seasonal movies kicked off our holiday.  That eve, between the light of the tree and fireplace, I'd planned to linger over Luke 2 with the family.  And we'd end with a late night candlelight service at church.

Yet brakes were put on with the start of a fever.  Try as I did to ignore it, by the end of the evening, I was beyond faking through. 

Unexpected.  UnplannedUpside-down Christmas.

Tim took the kids to church without me.  I wanted them to go and yet wanted them to stay in the same breath.  Proud of them for going on, missing them before they pulled away. 

I sat teary under the light of the tree and fireplace, fever elevating, and finished "The Women of Christmas."  Reminded of my blessings, praying for a better tomorrow.

But Christmas didn't come as planned. 

No sparkly Santa surprises.  No shouts of excitement and glee.  No Hallmark moments.
No seasonal spread calling us to the kitchen.

Why is this what we wait for?  
After all, the very first Christmas arrived so humbly.

There was no glitter but it was most certainly magical.

Our Plan B Christmas included a breakfast casserole, thankfully already prepared and awaiting the oven.  And I was grateful for somewhat-blasé teens, who appreciated sleeping in a bit later than normal.  Who didn't mind a mid-morning nap after opening gifts, as the flu continued to attack my energy and strength. 

By the afternoon we tried to salvage what remained.  Turkey frying outside and games at the table.  Laughter and a fever reprieve. 

But a page sent Tim out the door, someone else's Christmas turned upside down and inside out.   A house fire on this day of all days...

We waited.  We prayed.  Kept playing the game best we could. 

And then the call came.  The one where the lump still comes back into my throat just thinking about it.  The one where my husband is on the other end and sirens are in the background.  The one where I could hear in his tone that something wasn't right even before I heard the words. 

The call a firefighter's wife never wants to get...

Then the pettiness of being frustrated with this Christmas goes straight out the window.  In rushes humility in reminders that I still didn't have it right.  The season is not about me.  Or my plans.  Or my traditions.  Even if I had the best intentions in mind.  All while I push through and get the kids out the door and into the ER. 

Tim's injury, thankfully, wasn't as serious as I feared but seeing him on the table still brought me to tears.  To my knees. 

If we had nothing this Christmas, we still had each other. 
Sometimes things need to be turned upside down to remember all that you have. 

And in the center of it all,
the best gift,
already given all those years ago. 
Not wrapped, just swaddled in rags. 
With only the spotlight of single star.


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