Pondering

I think that every year there’s always something that brings the meaning of Christmas home to me. In years past it’s been the traditions in my family. For instance, as a young girl, we would read the Christmas story before we open presents, or even before we would go downstairs to see Santa’s loot. It’s been the tradition of waiting for my grandparent’s to come for Christmas breakfast because it meant spending time with those I loved. Or, the times of tradition of spending Christmas with those we came to love and call family while living in Venezuela -the meals shared of hallacas, pan de jamon or pabellon. These things symbolized Jesus to me because when you stop and see the faces of the people in the memories, they are who He died for.
As the years have progressed some of these traditions have changed. We’ve tried to make our own with our girls, as well as add to those we already have. Jeff loves to leave all of the Christmas lights on in our house on the night of Christmas Eve. He loves the glow it puts off in the house and having the mood already set for Christmas morning. My sneaking suspicion is that this tradition may live or die this year according to if we are willing to take the risk of our girls waking up at 3 am this year or not. I think it might have been the lights that brought that on last year! 🙂
We also love going to look at neighborhood lights once school is out for Christmas break. We listen to Christmas music in the car while usually clad in our PJs, and we even end up at Sonic sometimes for an ice cream!
If you ask the girls, you would hear them say that “Sausage balls” are a family tradition. I was told by McKenna that, “if you don’t make sausage balls, if just won’t be Christmas.” Well, OK then! We do have to have them though because word on the street is that Santa prefers sausage balls with his egg nog when he delivers presents to the Hickman home.
Tonight we will carry out the annual tradition of gifting the girls with new Christmas jammies.
They have been asking me all week for them. We began this tradition after we saw ourselves in our Christmas morning pictures years ago. After seeing how rough we looked, we thought new jammies were a yearly must!

There are so many more traditions we have and are making. We have talked a lot about the meaning of the tree this year as Jeff took our church on a series entitled “Trees.” As we worshiped together on that same theme in our Christmas presentation, our family shared how the tree has taken on a meaning of sharing life together for us this year. The memories I have of our Pastors and their wives around our tree sharing a meal. The laughter shared around the tree as the girls and I decorated…OK, there was a few tears shed after Avery broke a couple of sentimental ornaments of mine, but nonetheless we enjoyed ourselves so much the day we decorated. Once again, we saw faces familiar and faces anew as we hosted our drop-in this week. As people looked at our tree, I watched them and thanked God for them coming to our home and being part of our lives. The tree could stay up all year as far as I am concerned because maybe, just maybe it has meant more to me this year than in years past. The ornaments it holds from my Nanoo, the most Godly lady I knew, remind me of my most favorite tradition…
You see, I have been pregnant with three of my four girls at Christmas time. I tell you, you cannot be pregnant at Christmas and not cherish the part of the Christmas story that says, “And Mary took all these things and pondered them in her heart,” and it not mean something to you. You feel your baby kick and you feel it roll, and you imagine how Mary must have felt to be a mother to someone she could not have known at the time would impact and change the world. I guess I felt the same. The hopes and dreams you have as a mom are that your children would be change agents in a world that Jesus died for. Jesus did not come for us to ever be the same, and I pray that my children would never be the same either.
I sit here and ponder today so many things. Grabbing a day like today and being able to sit back and ponder at all is a rare gift, so while I can, I want it to count. Today, already, I’ve really noticed Quinn’s smile. She lights up a room! Avery’s eyes were dancing when she raced into my room this morning to announce, “ONE MORE DAY.” McKenna’s good morning hug seemed a little bit tighter and a little bit longer. Bailey smiled a beautiful smile when we laughed that she’ll be nine in just three days! And Jeff…well, he looked even more handsome and caused my heart to flutter a little more than usual. Most of all, I see Jesus today as the One who loved me so much that He gave me these things to ponder today in a brand new way.

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