Lots of fun Christmas photos are coming. This Christmas was probably one of my favorites in a long time. I don’t know why – no single thing “made” it special. Our house was certainly not decorated to my liking and my cupcakes were a giant fail. But it was splendid.
Maybe the delight in Paisley’s eyes is contagious. Maybe the idea for all of Jeromy’s family to wear pajamas was genius. Maybe it was because everyone put a lot of thought/effort into things (yours truly received really, really sweet gifts that are treasures). Maybe the fact that our trials this month caused us to strip down Christmas to just the necessities and we were less distracted. Whatever it was… it worked.
We experienced the perfect blend of festivities, laughs, reflection, and peace.
Ironically, my most powerful Christmas moment this year came after everything was over. Wrapping paper was bundled in a trash bag on our hearth. Leftovers squeezed into our fridge. Boxes and packaging dotted our floor and furniture. Our tree bare underneath. Paisley had a rough time staying asleep Christmas night. I tried giving her water, helping her to shift position, changed her, etc. to no avail. When she is fussing just to fuss, we usually let her wrestle with sleep for a few minutes and then she quiets and melts into some angelic position with her eyes closed. We have a “don’t pick up” rule once her needs are met. But this was different – outstretched arms and a whimper that was a plea for comfort. What mommy can deny that?
She and I took to the rocking chair and rocked. And rocked more. We both stared at the nightlight as she moved her head from my right shoulder to my left and then back over to my right. Her fingers traced the curve of the back of the chair and then she popped up and looked right at me. Her round eyes sparkled. Then, my characteristically non-affectionate child (who shakes her head no and runs away at the mention of a hug) gave me a kiss, placed her hand on my face, and let her arm drop back down to be between my chest and her body. I was frozen with joy and surprise. Paisley then nestled into me and the soft part our cheeks met. All I could think of in my head was “This is it. This is it.” Over and over.
It was a peace and calm that has been mirrored in Christmas carols for years. My thoughts wandered to what Mary must have felt that first Christmas night as she was up in the wee hours with her newborn, and the sleepless nights to follow. How it felt to tend to the Savior… comfort Him, rock Him, soothe that sweet baby that would ensure that we could all really live. I wonder if Mary was scared or if the ministering of angels made her hands steady. I’m so grateful for Mary and every worthy woman of God who righteously exercises the quiet power to nurture. What better place for the Savior – or any baby – to immediately be than in a mother’s arms? Right then and there – at 3:00 in the morning – I felt the joy of Christmas as I held my baby who I love more than anything. And as much as I love Paisley, I know that what I experience in this mortal state is a fraction of God’s love for each of us. Christ came to clear the way so that we can experience tranquility for eternity. Because of His great sacrifice, we know that we have an advocate and a way back to our heavenly home. This knowledge and affirmation is what we Christians celebrate. Truly, all is bright.