That doesn’t mean I don’t love Christmas with its glitter and glow, good tidings, and best of all – the celebration of the most amazing gift God ever gave our world, His only Son Jesus Christ.
Yep, we’re all about the season here at Mama’s Empty Nest. Just don’t expect me to deck the halls, play Christmas music, or enjoy the bauble-laden shelves of Christmas trimmings in the stores until after Thanksgiving has been given its due.
I love Thanksgiving and I think, as a holiday, it gets the short stick. Our culture bounces over it from Halloween to Christmas, commercialization all the way.
Sandwiched in between all the gaudy and frankly ridiculous Halloween junk and the holly-jolly holiday of Christmas, Thanksgiving seems like the red-headed step-child. There, but shoved aside. Sometimes forgotten in the hub-bub.
The Thanksgiving holiday spells F-A-M-I-L-Y to me. It’s when as a family “we gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” It’s the day we absolutely remember to be thankful and we say it out loud, even though we should practice this observance each and every day we have breath.
Thanksgiving is the day for enticing aromas of homemade dishes of goodness. It promises hugs and laughter as family members arrive home. It reveals itself in the glow of candlelight illuminating the faces of loved ones around the dining room table. It speaks comfort and peace of a full nest once again.
So I don’t rush full force nor ahead of time into the harried hurry scurry of preparing for Christmas before the Friday after Thanksgiving. I like to take my time to first savor the Thanksgiving holiday.
But Christmas came early this year with a gift. A surprise gift. A gift presented to me that left me speechless – not an easy task.
When our oldest daughter and new son-in-law arrived back from their exotic honeymoon trip, Papa and I greeted them at the airport and transported them back to the empty nest. We then pitched in to pack up daughter’s remaining belongings and all the wedding gifts for the trip to their new home several hours away from us.
Papa and I happily observed and commented as the newlyweds opened their wedding gifts. Afterwards, Papa disappeared from the family room and then returned carrying a box wrapped in Christmas paper, which he deposited on my lap.
My brain couldn’t process what my eyes were seeing and my hands were holding. A Christmas gift? Now? For me? What the heck?
I think I actually may have babbled all of that out loud while still wracking my mind for an explanation. Daughter and son-in-law beamed at me; Papa smiled with that coy, all-knowing grin he has.
And I was stumped. Really stumped. I kept asking why? What are you doing? The only answers I received were admonitions to stop asking so many questions and just open the thing!
I started to rip that red and green wrapping paper off that so boldly announced Merry Christmas, then stopped and said, “I don’t understand!” I mean, everyone in my family knows I don’t rush Christmas!
More cries of “Just open it!” ensued. So I did. Inside was something that I never expected. Something that surprised me beyond words. The sight of it simply astonished me.
Totally bewildered and perplexed, I asked my husband again, “Why?” He explained that he wanted me to have this present because of all the effort, time, and love I had poured into our three adult children’s weddings.
He bestowed this gift to me because he knew I’d be so very excited to receive it as it was an item I’ve mentioned for a long time that I’d like to acquire but didn’t feel like we could spend the money to purchase — especially this year.
And giving this gift was hubby’s way of showing me his appreciation and love. He wanted me to have it now, before Christmas, so I could use and enjoy it when the holiday rolls around.
His words and that gift made me cry. When I tried to speak, I couldn’t, only tears surfaced.
This gift, purchased in secret with daughter’s help, rendered me dumbstruck. Inside the opened box lay a brand new digital SLR camera to replace my little purple Nikon Coolpix point and shoot.
My husband explained that he’s realized how much I’ve relished taking photographs in the last couple of years and how frustrated I get with my small and simple digital camera. It takes good pictures outside, but indoor photos always disappoint me. And it’s so slow, I miss a lot of neat photo opportunities.
So now, I have much to learn with this new camera, but oh, what a joy it is to use. Matter of fact, after I recovered from my shock, read enough of the accompanying instructions to figure out how to take my first picture with it, I ran outside to start shooting. (To your left I’ve shared a product of my eagerness.)
But not before I thanked my loving husband for such an awesome gift and thanked my Lord for such an awesome husband.
Celebrating Christmas early this year feeling loved and appreciated? Priceless.
So hey there, Christmas season, I’m ready to start the celebration….just let me express my thanksgiving first.