I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Good Morning!
My friend, Sarah, graciously agreed to guest post for me today.  I hope you enjoy her creative spark as much as I do.  Please make her welcome : )
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It’s barely into the evening hours, and we’ve already been driving through country backroads in multiple states in the pouring rain.  Lightning strikes have lit our path more times than we want to count, but thankfully, the flooding in the fields beside the road hasn’t reached our path…just yet.

Though hardly weather for the Christmas holidays, we’ll gladly take this journey to reach the warm hearth of home.  In about an hour and a half – Lord willing – we will pull into the driveway of my husband’s sweet parents, where Southern accents,  a roaring fire, hot tea and a warm bed await.

This year, I am very much aware what a gift it is to be home for the holidays, as we have recently moved back to our home and ‘our people’, after almost two years of living out of state for my husband’s job.    After a few years of marriage, I have more than made peace with the fact that wherever my husband and I lay our head is home.  But there is so much to be said–even spiritual ramifications–for living in a place where you find your community once again, and how that sustains and sows into who you are.

When I think of home and community and family at Christmastime, my thoughts turn to traditions.  I grew up in a somewhat typical suburban family, but lost both of my parents young, and experienced the ‘gypsy life’ of an actor for many years of my adult life.  Home was whatever community I found myself in – from acting companies to beloved friends and roommates, to my step-parents and spiritually given Godparents.

The few years before I lost my Mom, our family would all go to see a movie the evening of Christmas day.   We loved packing into full movie houses with other families and friends, where we watched the cinema screen like a stage play.  When we opened presents from one another, I learned patience as we opened them slow, one of us in the room at a time, {usually by age range from youngest to oldest} savoring the joy of others as they opened their treasures.

I have loved every unique Christmas holiday that has brought me closer to loved ones in my past, but there is something to celebrate in the joy and beauty of our young marriage, the family I married into, and the traditions–both old and new–that we are experiencing and discovering with one another.

My husband’s family has their own beloved traditions that are delightfully becoming part of my own.  Every Christmas Eve, we surround ourselves with family and hugs and laughter while we eat scrumptious homemade gumbo, and a homemade caesar salad with marinated tomatoes and pancetta that makes my mouth water just thinking about it.    I’ve begun to give a small box of Harry & David pears to my mother-in-law, and we enjoy the succulent juicy treats together on Christmas day.

My husband and I like to drink a glass of eggnog sprinkled with cinnamon–my Dad’s favorite Christmas drink–and toast to our family and his memory.   I enjoy seeing my husband laughing at the National Lampoon’s Christmas  Vacation movie almost more than I do watching it myself.    I have begun reading remarkable books during the Advent season  to help prepare my heart for Christmas.  I love making a Christmas playlist every year for family and friends.

One of my new favorite traditions is singing with our church choir in the annual Christmas cantata.  Whether it’s the Hallelujah chorus, or a turn of a phrase telling of ‘the Christ-child’s birth’, God’s gift of music centers my spirit and Gospel truths revealed in song stay in my thoughts long after the conductor lays down his baton.  

I am in a time of abundance and I recognize this with great awe and reverence.  I simply cannot take this fact lightly, as I have known times of crisis and want for a good portion of my life.

I remember the first Christmas after my Mother died.  I took my hollow heart to the Christmas Eve service in a beautiful wooden cathedral.  As the clock neared midnight, we lit candles as the lights dimmed, and sang Silent Night.  Tears streamed down my cheek as I choked on the words, then finished the last stanza with unfettered abandon.  Every note ached with missing her, and was simultaneously healing to my grieving  soul.

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There are the traditions that bring us joy and bring us closer to each other.  And then, there are the traditions that bring us closer to the Maker of our Souls, the Infinite and Most Holy God – that remind us that the incarnation and birth of our Saviour is the ultimate gift to the Believer.

What Christmas traditions bring you joy?

Which ones point you to the Christmas Christ child?

Sarah_aboutMePic

Sarah Caldwell is the Chief Creative Curator at All Manner of Inspiration  where she gathers everyday inspiration and encourages artists of all makes and models. A self-proclaimed musical theatre geek and book lover, Sarah aspires to shed a bright light on the Creative Process that draws others to see their dreams more clearly. She’s currently chasing the next inspirational spark, and her sweet pup Daphne, in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas with her Husband, Frank.

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