Merry Christmas, internet. 

‘Twas the night before Thursday, and all through the house, only one creature was stirring, clicking the mouse. The stocking were hung on a wall with great care, in hopes the wife would fill them with more than just air. The {fur}children were nestled snug in their beds, while visions of rawhides and catnip pranced through their heads.

I know, I know. Be amazed at my poetry prowess. (Insert sleepy eye roll here) In truth, though, it’s Wednesday night, just a mere 11 days from Christmas, and while the husband and dog and kitty are snoring, I’m making sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch because it’s range week (PBJs if anyone was curious), wrapping a few more presents, and am generally just doing things I should’ve done during the day, but didn’t, because….well, because I didn’t want to, that’s why. 

I love Christmas. Everyone who knows me knows that Christmas has always thrown up in my house just days after Thanksgiving, and maybe a few days earlier this year ☺️, and Christmas music has been playing for several months now. #sorrynotsorry 

But as I’m doing busy tasks around the house while my little family sleeps, I’m struck a little dumb. It’s my first Christmas away from all my family. And I know I should be real melancholy about it, right? Don’t take this the wrong way, fam…but I’m still very happy. 
I miss having tons of people eat the bajillions of cookies I bake, and having gazillions of people to give them to, because you know I can’t eat them all. (Or shouldn’t.) I miss my parents, and my siblings. I miss my best friend. I keep looking back and reminiscing on all the Christmas traditions my families have had. 

At my grandparents, we always read the Christmas story out of the Bible on Christmas morning. We assigned a “Santa” who passed out all the presents. At my mama’s, we picked out a new Christmas book every year, and read it on Christmas Eve. (Every year or so, my sister and I convinced my mom to let us open one present on Christmas Eve, too.) 

It’s funny how my mom won’t read my Christmas story this year. I won’t get to be Santa at my Mom and Big Dad’s. I don’t get to traipse through the Festival of Lights in Hopkins Park, sisters in tow, Texas flags made out of Christmas lights shining bright and independent. 

Sure, husband and I drove through neighborhoods to look at other people’s Christmas lights. I’m going to buy a Christmas book to read to Luke and Eastwood on Christmas Eve because that’s what good {fur}mamas do. I’ll read the Christmas story from the Bible Christmas morning, to remind my little family what Christmas is really about. But I’ll be doing it without my mama, without my siblings and the horde of cousins I have, without my dad and my grandparents. 

It’s been a little over half a year since I struck out on my own, waiting on deployment to end. And that half a year has been tumultuous. It has seen tears of infinite joy, & infinite sadness. It has heard slammed doors and angry hangups. It has seen tearful phone calls with my best friend at 2 am because I miss home, and I miss her so much. It has seen laugher and happiness, and our first home has been filled with love and light, sadness and anger, too. 

We added to our little family a cat who is more dog than feline. He’s a jolly little guy who follows me around, mewling pathetically until I sit down to snuggle him. Our spare room has plans to not be a spare, God willing. We have made this place that isn’t our favorite, still the place we end the day with joyous hearts. 

And just 11 days before Christmas, 6 days from our 1 year anniversary as a married couple, I am reminded of what Christmas is about: not just Jesus and the salvation of us crappy humans, but also the love and joy we can bring each other. I’m not perfect. Some days, I lay in bed all day, too emotionally tired to move. I don’t cook dinner every night, and I forget to turn the Keurig off when I’m done with it. My husband isn’t perfect. He forgets the tasks I’ve asked him to do. He never replaces the bag in the trash can unless I hand it to him. He doesn’t like to eat the vegetables I make (when I cook dinner).

But you know what? 

I am smart. I know how to budget groceries and make sure the bills get paid. I can cook, and attempt to at least 4 nights a week. My house stays relatively clean (at least the downstairs). And my husband? Not perfect, but still probably better than I deserve. He takes care of me on the days I find I couldn’t get out of bed. He switches the laundry over whenever he sees it needs to be. He cleans the entire kitchen while I shower just so I don’t have to. 

We are two imperfect beings trying to make our way in the world, without leaving too dark a stain, with God lighting a path unto our feet. Sometimes I trip, and he rights me. Sometimes he stumbles, but I help him back up. 

This Christmas, I am graced with a wonderful husband, a moody old man of a dog, a sweet kitty who likes to use knife fingers and his little shark mouth to show his love, and a Savior who never falters in His love for all of us. 

This Christmas, far away from all I’ve ever known, I am graced with the opportunity to carry on and create traditions that will last my family for many more generations. 

This Christmas, like every other Christmas, is not about what is under the tree. It isn’t about the money that was spent on stocking stuffers. It’s not even about us. It’s about something bigger than us. It’s about love, and joy, and peace. It’s about knowing that the Great I Am has my family in His hands, and knowing that He isn’t letting go anytime soon. 

This Christmas is about growth and change, and about roots and endurance. 

What’s this Christmas about for you? 

Merry Christmas from us to y’all. 

Xoxo, 

Em. 

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