Category Archives: holidays

How Not To Lose a Birthday in Your Christmas

Photo Credit: www.rottenecards.com
Photo Credit: http://www.rottenecards.com

Friends, I have a December birthday. It’s December 13th. And every year, my mom would do pretty much whatever I wanted to make my birthday special, and make sure it didn’t get lost in the midst of the Christmas hustle and bustle. (Thanks, Mom!) That included many things, but most importantly always, always making sure to wrap my birthday presents in birthday wrapping paper. My number one, biggest ever pet peeve? Getting a present on my birthday that’s wrapped in Christmas paper or in a Christmas bag. You know what the grocery stores and drug stores all sell year-round? Regular, plain ol’ paper and bags. Even if it’s a solid color! Just not a teddy bear in a Santa hat holding tinsel. Come on, guys.

Anyway, because I’ve got a mom who made my birthday special, and because I managed to have a son sandwiched in between Christmas and New Year’s, I figured writing a post about making your December-birthday kid feel special was appropriate. (Note: This can also be applied to a birthday on any holiday – Valentine’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween, etc.)

I think one great thing I always got to do was choose whether or not I wanted the Christmas decorations to be up yet. I went back and forth pretty much every year about whether I wanted them up. Sometimes, it felt too rushed to have them up already – I mean, the first two weeks of December were about my birthday, right? But other times, it made the occasion even more festive to have everything decorated and lit up! Most important part: the choice being mine.

Another really wonderful thing my mom did was let me have a party. It must’ve taken some planning, too, to get the decorations and favors and treats that weren’t Christmas-themed. Usually, all I wanted was a ridiculous number of my friends over to spend the night (aka not sleep) but she still let me do it, even though we were always horribly busy (read: we were musicians), already exhausted, and there were already a thousand other parties happening that month. She was a champ, let me tell you, with my room right over hers, full of dancing, singing, giggling girls, playing weird games and calling boys on the phone all through the night, and still making us all pancakes in the morning.

I’m sure lots of things she did were just regular moms-doing-nice-things-on-birthdays stuff. But it really made me feel special in the midst of a season that is (thankfully!) not about me. The season of advent can be celebratory, but it can also be contemplative and somber. Not losing sight of the birthday celebration in the midst of that will make a December birthday feel special.

So bottom line, thanks Mom, for not wrapping my birthday presents in Christmas paper. Not one time. You’re the best!

Some Sweet Friends and a Little Partying

Earlier tonight, Hubby, the kids and I went to a party that happens almost every year at my dear friend Shawn’s house. I regret that I didn’t get a picture of her on my phone… she got it on hers. If I get it, I’ll post it!

Anyway, she has had a hard year or two, and the fact that she stills throws this amazing (sometimes-annual) tree-trimming party makes me so happy. She is an incredible woman of God and I value any amount of time I can spend with her… which sometimes isn’t a lot, sadly. I lived with her for three months in college, and stayed with her here and there after that, and her family has taken me in as one of their own. I Coincidentally (not really haha), it’s her husband’s company that’s doing our basement reno! But tonight it was wonderful to see her and share a few moments with her and some other friends we love to see. So for your enjoyment, here are a few Christmas party pictures…

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A photo with the bestie is always necessary.
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College roomies, hanging out twice in one week! THAT is a Christmas miracle, friends.

 

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Just your regular attempt to get a four-person selfie. At least the “crazy face” memo wasn’t forgotten by anyone.

 

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EK had so many cookies. So. Many. Cookies.

 

 

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Even though you can only see half of EK’s face, everyone is smiling. #totalwin

Hubby busted out a tacky sweatshirt, so I ran over to Goodwill and scored that amazing vest. $3, thank you very much! And the kiddos were all decked out in festive attire, so we decided to get a family photo! You see how well it worked out…

OH! I forgot to ask… how do y’all like the sassy new hair? I had mixed feelings about it – still do, truly. It’s shorter on the one side than it’s ever been, but I like that if I don’t want to go sassy, I just curl the longer side under like I did before, and it’s a little more tame. But I like the sass; who am I kidding?

 

The Anticipation and Longing of Advent

Friends, the short season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a blessed season of anticipation. Advent is defined as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event”. Advent in the sense of the Christian church is defined as “the coming of Christ”. I’d say the two are on par with each other.

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As I researched Advent a little more, I discovered that the word is from the Latin word meaning “coming”. Its definition expands to include “the four Sundays preceding Christmas” and “the liturgical season preceding Christmas, approached by some with fasting and prayer”. Other phrases included “expectant waiting”, “preparation for celebration” and the arrival of “something extremely important”. I don’t know about you, but I feel like every single one of those things describing Advent make me even more excited that this is the time of year it is.

I loved all of those, but my favorite word used to describe Advent was the word “longing”. It adds such a personal touch to a widespread idea. To feel a longing for the coming of Christ would be so personal, so intimate, so unique to you. The relationship that it implies is truly beautiful. You wouldn’t long to see someone you don’t know well. You wouldn’t long for time to spend with a person you didn’t get along with. You long to be with cherished loved ones.

It is hard to imagine carrying in your womb the Savior of the world. It’s even tougher to imagine an angel’s appearance and an immaculate conception. But it isn’t hard to think of something truly exciting to be waiting for. We’ve all looked forward to something, waited for something, a person, a moment… Perhaps a walk down the aisle to the one you love. Perhaps the birth of your first child (or your second, or your seventh!). The first day of a new job. The first day of retirement! A lunch date with an old friend. The first time you see a new niece or nephew. We all have an example of a person, event, or thing we’ve been awaiting with anticipation. This anticipation is sweet because we know that what we’re anticipating is even sweeter!

So, for the next four weeks, while we await the celebration of the coming of Jesus, the fulfillment of promises, and the ultimate manifestation of love and faithfulness, I will ponder the feelings of Mary, as she spent nine months in total wonder of the job she’d been given, awaiting the birth of her son, of the Savior of us all. I will be soaking in the excitement that must have been whirring around all who knew the prophecy would be fulfilled. I will be longing for sweet, intimate moments with Jesus, where he can do as he promised, and deliver me from brokenness and sin. What an incredible lover is our Lord, who sacrifices to make us whole! What a blessing it is to worship, adore, and celebrate the birth of a Savior, and to anticipate his coming again!

“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Charles Wesley

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.