Christmas 2016

I made cookies today with my family.  I wish I could say that it was easy.  The end product makes it look like it was just a fun day, and it was, but there were some glitches.  Isn’t it great to see the end product?  When you’re blending the butter, eggs, sugar and flour, it is hard to picture the decorated cookies in a holiday dish. Here’s our picture of cookies made by my family:

  

When we started the journey to make cookies this morning, I looked up the recipe online then quickly remembered that the dough would have to chill for two hours before we could roll out the cookie dough and cut them out with our Christmas cookie cutters.  We decided to make the dough with each of my children adding ingredients but soon, I noticed that the mixture seemed dry.  Somehow I was able to push the dough into two large balls, wrap them in parchment paper and chill them, but was concerned that when we would roll the dough out in a few hours, it would crumble.  Well, my prediction came true.  I ended up having to melt two extra sticks of butter and work it into the dough so that it would stick together and allow us to make shapes with it using cookie cutters.  It was frustrating to have a recipe not turn out the way I had expected.  The cookies tasted great though and we had a lot of fun shading the icing into different colors and adding our own touches.

This wasn’t the first time during the holiday season when an event had not gone as expected.  A few nights ago, my family drove 45 minutes to a nearby town, McAdenville, which is known for the beauty of its holiday lights throughout town.  We had been there a few other times but never had we been kicked out of the town.  Well, it happened.  Yes, to us.  We had gotten off the interstate and waited for an hour or so while stopping then moving for one second then stopping again.  

We saw a lot of lights, red lights from the brakes of the cars in front of us.  Eventually, I heard a siren coming from behind us.  My husband pulled to the left into a median lane since we were in the left of two lanes heading into the town.  There was a median lane then two oncoming lanes which were empty.  I rolled down my window and the Highway Patrol was speaking through his megaphone, “Get out of the lane.  You’re blocking traffic!”  He had been plowing through the middle of the two lanes behind us to get those in the left lane to get out of the way.  There were no signs telling us to not travel in the left lane.  Soon after, we realized that up ahead only the right lane would be able to turn right which would lead into McAdenville.  The officer’s directions were followed by us.  We got out of the lane and proceeded down the median lane.  Once we reached a stoplight, we could see the lights of the town to our right.  Needless to say, we had waited for a very long time only to be forced out of the lane so my family was shocked.  We had already had to leave one side of McAdenville which only let in residents with a permit earlier so we had done our share of waiting.

Could it be that our plan was different from God’s plan for our night?  Obviously.  I realized very quickly that even though we missed our chance to see the lights, I felt comforted in knowing that God just didn’t allow our plans to happen.  I sensed that God protected us from something.  I don’t know what that “something” was, but I knew that I could trust God.  The night didn’t turn out just like we had expected but it was okay.  

Even though we were forced out of Christmas town, the rest of Christmas has been so special.  Watching The Nativity Story on Christmas Eve, going to church on Christmas Eve, eating Christmas Eve dinner with my loving family, seeing such joy on my kids’ faces when they saw their gifts on Christmas morning, opening presents with my husband, our children and our parents and making cookies has created loving and lasting memories for me.  

Repeat the Sounding Joy

  

Tonight, my family piled into the van so we could drive around town looking at holiday lights.  We turned down that special street then suddenly, it was New York City!  Millions of lights sparkled piercing through the darkness.  Santa stood at the end of a driveway as cars slowly rolled by stopping to talk to him.  He handed out candy canes while carols played from speakers.  

I loved the big JOY sign in the yard.  I see it each year but this year it really stood out to me.  We had been singing and continued to sing Christmas songs in our van even after we left the spectacular scene.  The joy and animation of my children lifted my heart.  We raised our voices and rejoiced.  I loved every minute, every moment.

I don’t want to miss the moments of Christmas.  I am holding on to these joyful moments:

1.  Jumping in the van to see lights and sing with my family

2.  Hearing my oldest child’s choir sing melodies of the season last week

3.  Seeing my children wear holiday headgear and Santa hats

4.  Rejoicing with my church choir as they celebrated the birth of Jesus in music

5.  Watching and listening to my children play memorized piano pieces at their Christmas Piano recital where they played “The Holly and The Ivy” and “Believe” (The Polar Express theme)

6.  Packing and sending Operation Christmas Child boxes (Visualizing the two children who will open our gifts to them!)

7.  Finding the exact amount of pretty red velvet bows to replace what has become the orange velvet ribbons on my wreaths which hang on our house windows.  I’ve had the old ones for 15 years!   I’ll use the new bows next year!

8.  Finding Dewey’s Bakery’s Ginger Spice and Sugar cookies to purchase at the mall (my favorite from Dewey’s is Ginger Spice!)

9.  Wrapping gifts and giving them to friends, family and people to whom God directs me 

10.  Remembering why we can celebrate and have joy all year because of Jesus!

Merry Christmas!  Joy to the world!  The Lord has come!

I hope you are filled with joy and find moments to celebrate throughout the Christmas season!