Saturday, January 02, 2016

A change of heart

January is so lovely. I used to absolutely hate this month. I grew up with happy Christmases. My parents loved us and loved each other. My Dad is a gift-giver. And our grandparents really enjoyed us and were always so happy to have us in their home. If holidays made them feel tired or weary, we never knew it. They hosted all of our holidays until I was beyond high school. We were so blessed with so much love and happiness during Christmas time.

So naturally, when it was all over I felt so pitiful. January was the dreaded month. All the Christmas décor came down (my Dad would even use our tree for firewood which would break my heart), the parties were over, and there were no birthdays until April. I hated winter once Christmas was over, and with good reason.
But eventually I grew up and now have three beautiful children of my own. I absolutely love Christmas still. Some years my husband and I host Christmas and/or Thanksgiving and always Easter. We have our own family traditions and parties, too. There are shows, crafts, and baking projects that are yearly traditions. And when it is all over, I am so sad. But unlike recent years past, I long for January.
I have just in the last few years realized that January is the sweet month of quiet and calm. The twinkly nostalgic Christmas tree is put at the curb. But it is replaced with winter décor... snowy, white, peaceful- which are such gifts for me in this stage of life. I am so thrilled for January this year. What made me so desperately sad in earlier years- no holidays or birthdays- thrills my soul now. I strive to make Christmas time full and magical. We make messes, attend every party, and always go a little over budget and stay up late. We watch Christmas movies, drink hot cocoa, read our beautiful books and devotions, sing and celebrate until I am exhausted. Then comes January and my body longs for the restoration it will bring!

I am so excited to get back to the rhythm of our usual days again. Chore lists? Yes! Resolutions? Love them! Lists of books to read? Squeal!  A new calendar that does not have events written in every day and along the margins? Yes, please. It's all so slow and good.
When the children sigh and groan, maybe even shedding a tear or two, at the end of the Christmas season I whisper with confidence, "Christmas comes back every year!  It's not a once in a lifetime event!" And they begin counting the days...363, and so on. They can hardly wait for the month of endless treats and events. They haven't found any appreciation for January yet. Probably won't until they are much older.

One of the greatest joys I have in knowing Jesus is that there is ALWAYS SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO! The joys never end. Even in death itself there is life! Every season possesses beautiful gifts if we mean to find them. Including dreary, cold, boring January!

*List of things to love about winter from a few years ago when I still dreaded it!
*Something I want to make on a cold, dreary day coming soon!

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