Yesterday my hubby and I took our youngest four on a pre-Christmas outing (yes, I know we are very early but we needed the family time…and the joy of it all). We loaded starry-eyed little ones in the car and joined them in singing Christmas carols. As we drove to town, rejoicing all the way, we took in God’s glorious creation: beautiful trees decked out for fall, the wonder of darkening waters, the sky fancied up with clouds.
We started out at Lowes, where two sons and two daughters oohed and aahed over the gorgeous displays of lights, decorations, greenery and Christmas-ey blow-ups. Then it was on to Dollar General where they ogled the displays, toys, clothes and goodies. “Look, mama!” “Daddy, I want this!” began to trickle to our ears. Afterwards, it was on to the Flea Market where fabulous treasures abounded. My little ones found many wonders for their eyes to behold: lavish decorations, old-fashioned toys (the real thing, not copies), pretty little things to capture a little girls heart, dinosaurs that roared into my son’s imaginations. Afterwards, there was a stop at a grocery store for cranberries and nuts for our upcoming Thanksgiving Feast. Then, we headed on to Dollar Tree, where we allowed them to purchase treasures. We came away with a tiny 6-inch nutcracker to stand guard over them, 3 adorable elf hats, some decorations for their rooms and some Christmas treats. We ended up at Wal-Mart afterwards. We immediately headed to the “Christmas Department” where they debated the new colors that have been introduced into Christmas decorations (they were against them). We picked up a pack of Santa straws for a dollar and a few necessities. It was growing dark as we finished our shopping and headed home. The day had cost us five hours of our time but very little in the way of cash. The children had a wonderful time (and so did Mama and Daddy!).
We came away from the day tired and happy. We loaded our children (three with elf-hats) in the car and headed home to a warm house, a good supper and sweet older sons who had held down the fort as we had fun. We were now over-flowing with ideas (and a few hidden purchases). It was good to be together. It was good to be home.
Christmas will come and we’ll be waiting for it. As for now there are few promises of a bright and glittering Christmas that advertisers wish us to strive for: we can’t afford it and there is little of that kind of thing that I would wish for anyway. Instead we’ll have a Christ-focused, family oriented celebration. We’ll spend the next few weeks tracking down gifts at a price we can afford: we’ll frequent yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, follow sale sheets and lurk on e-bay. Each child–from the youngest to the oldest–will receive some of their heart’s desire. And, for that matter, so will Mama and Daddy for we’ve already received much of what we want. We made the decision years ago to pursue family over things. We’ve never regretted it. We don’t have much in the way of worldly good but we have more than I ever dreamed of growing up and, better still, when I look around my treasures are in front of my eyes: warm and smiling, living and breathing. Better still, my greatest Treasure is watching over us all.
We will spend the next few weeks in celebration of the season: viewing old Christmas movies (while eating luscious Christmas treats), decorating (which we have already started) and shopping. We’ll visit Santa for a photo. We’ll load us all up in our van and drive around various neighborhoods, singing Christmas carols and taking in the beautiful Christmas displays. We’ll make handsome homemade decorations, mouth-watering cookies and yummy candies. We’ll make a trip together to select our Christmas tree and bring it home. After the men set it up, we’ll all work together to decorate it. We’ll plan our Christmas Feast. We’ll have a wondrous time.
Our Christmas may just be one that, in the words of the Cratchit family in Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, will be far “more glorious than grand” but it won’t be our first like that; some of our poorest Christmases financially have been some of our best in celebration and rejoicing. The grand will be there for us–in reason but the glorious will be there abounding: our Christmas promises to be full of God and family, love and laughter and much celebration. What more could we possibly ask or want? Nothing.
Christmas is coming…and we’re getting ready!
Until next time,
God be with you and grant you a glorious Christmas (and Thanksgiving!) season!
Ya’ll have fun!
Soli Deo gloria!