So I'm glad it's pretty much over. Somehow, I have to get this house recovered by around 5:00 on New Year's Eve. I can't believe no one got me a free year of Merry Maids.
There were some splendid moments. A few minor miracles.
For instance, I made enough cookies for a pretty Christmas cookie platter. I'm sad to say the dog ate a good portion of these when she escaped from her crate the other night, but on Christmas Eve, they were lovely.
Our tanenbaum. The kids decorated it and this year, I didn't rearrange the ornaments. That's not entirely true. I moved all the ones on the bottom up higher so the dog wouldn't eat them. The dog consuming all Christmas-related things was a major theme of our holiday this year.
On Christmas Eve, Ella cuddles with Justin Bieber. No, it's not really Justin Bieber. It's Jacob, my friend Janet's son. I hope his girlfriend doesn't get too jealous over this picture. (Note Ella's pink boots. They were also a definite theme this holiday.)
Our friend Billy reads an "interactive" Christmas story to the kids. This is Caleb interacting.
Christmas morning at last! While reading the story of the birth of Christ from the book of Luke- right before we are about to open present when the kids are so excited they look as though they might pee their pants- John sends the kids a look of irritation. There's nothing more vexing than having your children behave like children on Christmas morning on Christmas morning. Sheesh.
Ella opens the first gift on Christmas morning. It's the gift of- arting! WE LOVE ARTING! Boots are a go.
Ben relaxes with uncle Richie and aunt Michelle.
Uncle Scott, Ella's favorite person in the entire world thank you very much, has just placed a crown on Ella's head. We will ignore the fact that it is crooked because he is a man and doesn't have any children yet.
Ella does love to get dressed up. She was wearing a new jumper that morning. She added layers of new clothes as she opened them. She received a Tinkerbell costume later in the afternoon which she insisted on putting on immediately. By the end of the day, she looked like a very fancy homeless person. (Yes. She is wearing her pink boots.)
Christmas #3 at my dad's...
John shows off his "beard." He tries this every year. Silly, silly man.
Daniel asked me to take this picture. So I did.
And that was our Christmas in a nutshell. A whirlwind of beloved family members, wrapping paper, and dogs.
In a half an hour, it is my birthday. I will be 33. One year older than Sally of Harry and Sally fame, and the same age as Jesus when he died. (And yes, my birthday totally gets overshadowed by His, but I don't hold it against Him.) So, of course, there's much reflection on the things I have not accomplished during my time on earth. (Jesus: masters carpentry, saves the world. Holly: masters cookie platters, saves leftovers.)
Of course, comparing myself to the world's ONLY perfect person is folly. It's convenient that my birthday falls so close to New Year's: I can make grandiose resolutions once instead of twice during the year. This year, I resolve to emulate Christ without striving for perfection. You were striving for perfection? Really? I would never ever have guessed that in a million years based on the way your house looks and also your hair.
You know what happens when you strive for perfection? You realize how utterly insufficient you are. You become overwhelmed. Then paralyzed. And small hills become the Himalayas. And you dream of perfection without actually accomplishing... anything at all. And you become depressed and despondent and numb.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I am looking forward to year 33. Pressing on!
Merry Christmas! I hope you have had a peaceful and blessed holiday.