"What else is family if not a commitment to keep showing up?"
Do you have a Christmas Closet???
I guess I didn't realize that not everyone has one of these until a few weeks ago when I said something about a Christmas Closet, and Audry, my roomie, responded with, "you make it sound like everyone has one of those!!!"
Haha, well YOU would think so if you grew up in Bill and Audrey Jenney's Christmas Wonderland!!!
You see the Jolly Jenneys come ALIVE during this time of year! I LOVE our house most of all during the Christmas season! As I unwrap ornaments, and set up villages in our own home I remember my parents setting up their Christmas decorations- though they would take things a step further and decorate from photos they took the year before. All creativity captured to make sure it was done just-so year to year! My Mom would do the initial decorating, and my Dad would check and rearrange what she had done! Hahaha!!! It was the perfect team!
I would BEG my Dad to set-up the Hudson Villagers early... they were my favorite!!! Tiny silver people with colorful scarves, hats, and mittens. I loved that village!!! We would create a snow hill out of boxes for them, and many of the villagers would be skating on the ice, shopping in the village, and sledding on our snow hill. I could look at that village for hours! I would dream up stories for each person, and especially wanted to keep the silver dogs and horses in my room until next Christmas... Only to ensure I got to put them out and not my little sister!
My parents made our house absolutely magical!
We had our own elves... YES, before Elf on the Shelf was COOL Bill Jenney... aka Mr. Christmas... had invented our own Elves! They would do crazy things in our house, and write us letters!!! Uglook and Freedork! Banana peels, messes in our rooms, notes to us from Santa and those two crazy Elves... My Goodness I believed in Santa until 8th Grade!!! One day my older brother told me the truth, and I cried! Yep, cried going to dance class with my mom... I couldn't believe it!!! I kept thinking... All those letters, the jewelry I had made for Mrs. Claus (I always thought she was left out too much), I couldn't believe it... AND MY PARENTS now knew I had a HUGE crush on our next door neighbor who was older than me (I had written a letter to Santa asking for a Basketball because he played basketball) and I realized my parents READ that letter!!!
They made this season magical for us 4! Traditions like Enchilladas for dinner Christmas Eve and ending the night with a Piñata... looking for Santa with our neighbors the whole night and BELIEVING those red lights in the sky were not planes, but RUDOLPH himself!!! Waiting at the top of the stairs to run down Christmas morning, and having the SAME wrapping paper ALL Growing up... My VERY OWN wrapping paper from Santa himself! I mean they are like CHRISTMAS Miracle workers!!!
In "You've Got Mail," one of my favorite movies Meg Ryan, who plays Kathleen Kelly, says this about her Mom, "It’s coming on Christmas. They’re cutting down trees. Do you know that Joni Mitchell song? “I wish I had a river I could skate away on”. Such a sad song! And not really about Christmas at all, but I was thinking about it tonight as I was decorating my Christmas tree, unwrapping funky ornaments made of Popsicle sticks, and missing my mother so much I almost couldn’t breathe. I always miss my mother at Christmas, but…somehow it is worse this year since I need some advice from her. I need her to make me some cocoa and tell me that everything that’s going badly in my life will sort itself out."
I have thought about this quote the past couple weeks after watching the movie... while decorating for Christmas!
That is my parents.
Yes, the ones who provided magic when I was younger. The magic that let my imagination run wild with glee. I was sometimes a more serious child than I wish I would have been, and the joy of this season let my heart flutter with utter anticipation of what would happen next! The magic I can still almost feel this time of year!!!
But even with ALL this magic and cheer, my parents are the ones that still to this day will sit with me, and remind me it will all be okay. That what is going badly WILL sort itself out! They give me much more than magic as an adult... they give me their support, advice, dear love, and complete encouragement!!!
See I love the magic my parents gave us as kids... I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I have come to deeply respect the magic of their love for US... all four of us!!! This magical, incredibly sacrificial love... that I know when I call them they will answer, they will text back, watch the dogs for a month, have hard conversations, and they will be over in 5 minutes when the roof is leaking! The magical kind of love that when I see them in the back of a room last Thursday Night to see the Potter's Wheel Christmas Pageant it puts tears in my eyes... My parents are here. In the room is their magical love and support, and my heart rests a little easier.
I have stopped believing in Santa... hard to admit, but that is true! However, year after year I believe more in the magic of my parents love and what their unwavering support offers to me! And I watch how it continues to shape my very life!
For some of us this was not true about our Earthly parents, but it is absolutely true about your Father in Heaven! He has eyes to see you JUST as you were created to be, the most sacrificial love we will ever know He offers to us freely, and the kind of encouragement only a Father can offer because He knows the VERY heart of us!
I don't care how old we get to be... there is something about the sweetest "I love you" from your Dad, or a gentle hug from your Mom! And I believe Kathleen Kelly from "You've Got Mail," that missing them will feel like I can't breathe.
They have modeled sacrificial, magical love for me! It is what I carry in my heart from my parents through the year... Not just at Christmas!
And I will never be too old for this!
My hope for all of us is that we will find people who will show us how to live and love in those ways. Sacrificially, magically, and in ways that reveal more of who Jesus is.
You never get to old for that!