Thursday, December 26, 2013

What We Gave Each Other For Christmas

It was the first Christmas in 13 years where it was just the seven of us under the farmhouse roof. 

It started like most Christmas' have started. A pile of excited treasures squished together in our bed and the Cowboy reading the story of The Greatest Gift of Christmas. It was still dark outside. The stars glistened as he told of Jesus, the Light of the world. 

We opened presents.
Sang Happy Birthday.
Blew out candles.
Ate a glorious breakfast feast.

And then the littlest one threw up everywhere. 

Maybe it was a fluke thing?

We took the treasures and my Dad to the movies.

The Spunky Girl ran out of the theater and threw up in a trash can.

We drove home... she threw up in the car.

We got home... the littlest threw up all over his car seat.


And the Cowboy and I?

We spent Christmas loving on little ones and loving on each other. 

I sat bent down on my knees, scrubbing the diarrhea out of the carpet while the Cowboy washed the dishes and gathered all the throw-up clothes and began the endless loads of laundry.

I paced back and forth in the living room with the little one who just wanted to be held. The Cowboy looked out from the kitchen, caught my eye, smiled, and mouthed the words "I love you." 

The afternoon passed by slowly. There were movies and laundry and lots of carpet cleaner.

And when the clock struck 7, I was up stairs tucking them all into bed, when he sent me this text with ten tender words...

"Come on down here so I can kiss you goodnight...."

This year the Cowboy and I gave each other the best kind of gift...

The kind of gift that was lived so sweetly on that first Christmas over 2000 years ago.

The gift of... 

Selfless love.



And tender joy in the messy ordinary of this place.

{The Cowboy made the girls new beds for their little attic room.}

It's strange how hard I try to make Christmas look and feel a certain way each year. How I want it to be fun and beautiful and memorable. 

And yet that first Christmas was probably more like the Cowboy's and my Christmas was this year. It was messy, stinky, humbling, and glorious.

It's not always on the days that are perfectly planned, or on the occasions that are supposed to be extravagant, that I feel tenderly loved. 

Sometimes that tender love shows up on days when Christmas is spent holding sick little ones and washing a lot of stinky laundry. Sometimes the tedious days bring tender moments between a man and a woman. Sometimes the best Christmas' are spent eating cereal for dinner and going to bed at 7:30.

{My Joey, 

Thank you for living Christ-like love towards me this Christmas. 

It is always the best gift that you give.} 

Merry Christmas from our little house to yours. :)