Every Christmas Eve all the littles (and not so littles) in our family gather together and put on their version of the Christmas story for the rest of us.
We should sell tickets.
There’s Mary and Joseph and shepherds in gold glitter caps and wise men carrying baskets of assorted kitchen supplies and angels with wings and more barnyard animals than you can count.
This year the angels trumpeted so loud the sheep had to cover his ears.
The wise men got impatient with their gifts of myrrh, incense and dish towels that they almost showed up before the baby was born.
No one could control the donkey and he ran around braying and pushing his donkey ears off to grin at the audience.
And one lone sheep went all renegade and brought the house down.
As I sat there watching the Christmas story unfold, I thought about this year.
It’s been a challenging one.
So much good. So many amazing things. So many incredibly awesome opportunities.
And so many times when I melted down in the middle of my living room from the overwhelmingness of it all.
I wrote a book.
We bought the house I grew up in and put a mirror back in place.
We started remodeling the house.
We chose a paint color.
We lived out of boxes and suitcases and ate ramen noodles and wore messy buns and lived with seven-day hair and walked around with drywall dust on our feet and sat on folding chairs and ate off plastic plates and moved our refrigerator into our dining room.
And I wish.
That I wish.
That I wish.
I could tell you I handled it all with grace and dignity and poise and joy.
But I didn’t.
Not. Even. Close.
I spent most of the months of October and November walking around with an awkward smile on my face trying not to cry.
I knew I should be happy.
I saw all the blessings that swirled around me.
I tried to count them and tell myself this was an incredible journey and remind myself how lucky I was to get to move back and buy the home I grew up in and remodel a kitchen.
But all I wanted to do was go back to bed.
And pull the covers over my head.
And hide from all the responsibility.
And then along came Christmas Eve.
This living room was full. It was piled to the brim with my family and my husband’s family. All the littles and the bigs coming together to celebrate the reason for the season. There were rooms full of people watching football and rooms full of people playing cards and rooms full of people eating coconut shrimp and cheese dip and opening presents and laughing and talking and doing cartwheels in the middle of the room.
The house was bursting at the seams with joy.
And as the lights grew low and the night was almost over, we gathered here to watch the annual Christmas play.
Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and the wise men and the shepherds and the renegade sheep.
As I looked around at all these faces that I hold so near and dear reflected in the sparkling lights from the tree, I felt my heart catch.
Our lives had come full circle. It had been a challenging year. We had worked and planned and packed and moved and traveled so far and tried so hard and every morning we’d get up and start all over again. It was hard. It was stressful. It was overwhelming.
And I realized right then and there as I watched the angels singing and dancing and blasting out the heavenly chorus through a vintage horn covered in ribbons and holly….
….that I would do it all again.
I would relive every step of the journey for this.
Happy New Year.
(I think it’s going to be a good one).