8 years ago we decided to "take back" Christmas for our family.
Prior to this year , we would travel 7 hours to our hometown to celebrate with our extended family; but that year,with two children under the age of two, it was a less than appealing proposition. I had spent the previous Christmas season with a newborn and 17 month old needing as much of mommy as possible, and squeezed shopping into late night trips after one was sleeping, and while the other was between feedings. I would race home for the 11:00 nursing, and then collapse, fighting colds and exhaustion, and regretful of the time away from my family, yet truly there was no other option; or so we thought.
My minds' eye held an image of the perfect Christmas, and mommy was at the center of every image... decking the halls, baking homemade treats for the neighbors, selecting the perfect gifts and having them beautifully wrapped and under the tree, and in the midst of this imparting the true meaning of Jesus' birth to my little ones...
Instead my house was a mess, I wasted time searching for gifts for people who were already blessed with all the necessities of life, and neglected to enjoy the gift of time as a family, celebrating this most wondrous time of year. Rusty had just finished football season, and with wrestling season already underway, Christmas was a short reprive for our little family; the only opportunity for us to snuggle in and enjoy one another before late night practices and weekend tournaments separated us again. We dreaded the hours spent in the car, and the endless rounds of gift exchanges. We love our extended family, and wanted to see them, but the rest of the holiday pressure was squeezing the joy out of this season.
I will forever be grateful to my husband for reclaiming Christmas for our family, and insisting that we celebrate as we believed, not as the world told us we should. We found a cabin in the woods, invited my parents to join us, packed the car with gifts and decorations; and we've never looked back!
So as we head off for our 9th "Christmas in the Big Woods" it is with hearts full of gratitude for time to be spent together, remembering that we are God's reason for this season. His love for us spurred Him to sacrifice the Perfect Gift, in exchange for us. What a wonderful God we serve, and celebrate.