Once upon a Christmas a fluffy footed sleeper girl stumbled down stairs in the wee morning hours with her fellow fluffy footed twin and hugged newly filled stockings, having been given maternal permission to examine contents. A toothbrush. How exciting! Lip balm. Yeah! Gum. Woo, Luxury! Avon samples would be some of the things to round out the treasured stocking and never-complete-unless Life-Saver Books were sticking out of the top!! Mama’s tired-from-wrapping oft through the night heart relished the finding of Christmas wonder in her twins, always the babies, sleeping fluffy foot to fluffy foot in the morning dawn. Heart says ‘yes’, This. is. Christmas.
Once upon a Christmas Eve while still eking out a very hard earned living as Dairy farmers pipes froze in the barn. Disaster would ensue for the necessary milking and keeping—the vast majority of our too meager income—if the situation was not remedied. All hands on deck except for little twins who were to stay warm inside. Hair dryers came out and visiting friends lent a hand. All together as one necessary unit to. survive. Heart says ‘yes’, This. is. Best. of Farm Christmases.
Once upon many Christmases child-like wonder was replaced by stark dark realities of being in a livelihood that was outgrowing you. You had to be big. Have inherited your own land, barn, etc. My hardest-of-faithful-working-papas was driven out of what he loved. We simply could not survive. Could our family? Hard, hard years but Christmases remained warm and together. Special gifts wrapped and the chance to feel like we could still give to each other. Heart says ‘yes’. This is the-tough-keep-going Christmas.
Once upon a Christmas never-the-same when older siblings married and we were not.all.together. Can’t imagine how much mama grieved so when Christmas Day held a little drear, fluffy footed twins of long ago cuddled and watched heart-warming yuletide tales with older sister and let a little wonder and peace of togetherness fill our seemingly empty home. Heart says ‘yes’. This is fighting for Christmas.
Once upon a Christmas an ocean away in an exciting Study-Abroad-World, in almost pain (2.5 year-old niece would aptly miscue ‘Abby in ‘Pain’) as host family ripped open Christmas gifts in an instant. Aching heart and lump in throat in an all-too-short call home right before caroling in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. The. Gothic. Quarter. of Barcelona, Spain!!! Gorgeous centuries old architecture and amazing lights-filled city that would have been instantly traded for cuddles and heart-warming movies with twin. Little consolation was Eu-Rail trip commencing next day to Italy, Austria and a bit of Switzerland. A. Bit. of Switzerland?? Packages sent to open in twelve days of Christmas saved from a death of homesickness. Late January Christmas with completely dry tree when reunited with family. Heart says ‘yes.’ Christmas without family is no Christmas.
Once upon a Christmas forever changed. Carols sung in rehab center room. Mom in wheelchair recovering from surgeries due to cancer in bones. Meetings to decide what next. Terrible sickness. Twin. on honeymoon. Blur of heartache, pain and the pursuit of joy still because mom did. The brave now Christmas wise auntie coached nieces in First Christmas re-telling. Heart says ‘yes.’ This is the Christmas we need.
Once upon a Christmas new. New love. Newly engaged. New family that opened arms wide. All was changed and yet, sad, sad Dad was there. Only grief this Christmas. Happy for me, but oh, so sad for him. Heart aching hug as he left for friends without me. Happy for new Christmas with newly engaged love and family. But so, so sad. All of us apart. Heart says ‘yes.’ This is Bittersweet Christmas.
Once upon the Christmases since. Home from abroad, husband and I to see Dad re-married. All apart. Kids. TRAVEL. A twenty-four hour harrowing blizzard trek home. Home because there is no Christmas without home. Yet, finding our family: husband, kids and I, IS Christmas and needs to be. Surrendering all that was for the new-found of Christmas. Looking ahead and seeing many more Once upon Christmases an ocean away.
And yes, finding connection to the Christ-child who traveled so far from home and took on all strange and unknown so the spark of all that is Christmas would alight that night in Bethlehem. Heart says ‘yes.’ He is all the Christmas we will ever need.
Lord Jesus Thank You for All I remember in these Once Upon Christmases:
-for ever since I can remember knowing we celebrate YOU at Christmas
-for ever since I can remember knowing you are real
-for ever since I can remember knowing you were ultimately tied to a Cross that saves me.
-for ever since I can remember knowing that this is all I truly need
-for how the joy of family fills my heart when I think of Christmas
-for the love that rose to the top like the cream from the raw milk we drank
-for simple child-like joy that anticipated and tumbled down stairs in wee hours
-for a twin who is just a phone call away to reminisce about these childhood days
-for lessons sewn deep in my heart that it was the being together that was the gift
-for a will to keep going when the going was tough exemplified in Christmas remembrances
-for how the heartache of being far away has kept the being together precious
-for Your Promise to be in our midst every Christmas ahead when we are far away
-for a husband that I love dearly and we together are a family at Christmas
-for two precious children that expand that family
-for the joyous anticipation of seeing our family soon
-for a 17 hour car trip that will increase that anticipation
-for a deeply woven reminder that the journey was infinitely long for you
-for starry nights that fly me back to that night
-for the Divine magic I can feel deep down as I await the Christ-child
-for knowing the secret
-for knowing THIS SECRET IS MEANT TO BE PROCLAIMED FAR AND WIDE!!!!!
-for a ministry to send us over an ocean to do just that
-for a banner of purpose ‘until the whole world hears’
-for how we long for Your return
-for how we pray for fruitful days of much that is eternal until You come or take us Home.