My Dad's mom is famous for her cooking, but especially her pies. I remember walking into her home on Christmas Eve and being eye level with the long table, and just seeing rows of pies. She would start a week ahead of time making pies. She passed away in 1986 and I can still taste her pecan pie.
My Mom's mom hosted Christmas every year. Under her beautiful tree and in her immaculate house we would open many perfectly wrapped, perfectly chosen presents...then she would hand family members an envelope with their name - it contained each receipt with our name at the top of the receipt and the item circled, in case it didn't fit. We would retire to the dining room table set with her fine china and eat the most delicious meal ever created. Her gravy had no lumps. Her baseboards had no dust. Not a receipt misplaced. Not a gift lost in the back of her closet.
My Mom is the queen of Christmas decorations. Some of my fondest Christmas memories are pulling out the brass angels and cleaning them before setting them out with red tapered candles, which had been lovingly stored 11 months prior. The bathrooms had matching Christmas towels. The ornaments on the tree sparkled in silver and peach.
And now my Step-mom, who joined the family 8 years ago, puts me to shame by mailing a humongous box of thoughtful and creative presents to my huge clan. They arrive already wrapped... in beautiful, diverse Christmas wrapping paper with bows and ribbons and ornaments decorating them. The box normally arrives on our doorstep before I have thought of even one Christmas gift to send to Texas.
My cooking is bordering on lousy.
My organizational skills are laughable.
My house looks like a 5 year old decorated it.
I give awful gifts, and usually about 3 weeks late.
I have failed at Christmas!
I was remembering all of these wonderful, warm Christmassy memories last night and lamenting before The Lord that my children are going to have such strange and paltry Christmas memories, when mine are so rich and lavish, when mine are festive, red, and green! (Sidenote: My Mother in Law also rocks Christmas - and any "normal" memories or traditions my children have are a result of her labor of love.)
And then The Lord transported my mind to the first Christmas.
It was not red and green.
There were no red candles, no pecan pies, no beautiful wrapping paper, and no fine china.
But there were Angels Singing!
Glory to God in the Highest!
Peace on Earth!
There was dust, just like my house!
There were poopy smells, just like my house!
Mary didn't fit into her clothes, just like me!
Their food was worse than mine!!
Christmas is a reminder that Emmanuel, God with Us, has come to Earth. He came to save me from myself. And He certainly came as a reminder that no matter how amazing my cooking, or shopping, or wrapping, or decorating is, I still need a Savior because I'm not good enough.
Even my Nana, Grandmother, Mom, and Step-Mom were never good enough.
But He is good.
And He is here. In my dusty, poopy, frumpy, lumpy house.
And that makes this Christmas perfect.
Behold, my baby proof Christmas tree! Not too shabby, thanks to my beloved husband and enthusiastic children!