I am not even sure where to start with this year. So many things threw things out of whack. For the second year, I was a co-director of the church-hosted community Nativity Exhibit. It turned out well with 657 nativities and over 2000 attendees. It also meant that my house has been a storage unit for the last month and all of my Christmas decorations have been up at the church. Decorating an entire church for Christmas kindof killed my Christmas mojo at home so even when things came home, they sat in the crates in the living room for a week (or two.) Everything happened in slow stages - Ryan put up the tree and then it took me over a week to fluff it and put the lights up. I ran out of lights 3/4 of the way up and drove to 3 stores on Christmas Eve before I found more. Since Ryan was with Tim this Christmas, we are a day behind everyone. My sisters laughed when they called me on Christmas day and I told them I was just finishing decorating my tree! But it was all done before Ryan came home so no worries.
I really love decorating my tree although I miss Ryan terribly when I have to do it alone. Since Ryan was born, I started a tradition of a new ornament each year - something symbolic of the year, a milestone or something that reflects his spiritual growth. I've also purchased ornaments on vacations. Often I write on the back of the ornament the story behind it and it was really cool to wander down memory lane as I placed each one. So much love it on this tree. It will never win any decorating prizes, but I challenge anyone to find one with more love and meaning.
I bought myself the Lamb of God cds and even though they are the Easter story, I opened them and listened to them for the last week. They are amazing. So beautiful. And I loved, loved, loved listening to the Easter story as I decorated the tree. It felt like my testimony was being strengthened note upon note. The gospel felt fuller, more beautiful, deeper.
We had our Bethlehem dinner last night. It was nice. Quiet. Peaceful. It hasn't always been this way and last night I was glad that I persevered amidst the eye rolls to found this tradition. Last night made it all worth it.
Today is Christmas for us. We slept in until 8:30, opened gifts and had breakfast. I bought orange cinnamon rolls and sausage to go with the scrambled eggs. While appreciative, Ryan let me know that I could go back to my homemade cinnamon rolls next year. ;) By far the best gift were the stocking letters. I might cry just typing about them. So, so, so glad that I started this tradition.
I'm not sure what the rest of the day will hold. I bought all of the fixings for Christmas dinner, but right now, I don't feel the need to cook. It already feels like Christmas. My testimony feels renewed, my love ones close.
Love you all! Merry Christmas!