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When Christmas is Different

I. Adore. Christmas.

The magic of the season is a love affair I look forward to every year. From the message of the manger to the family gatherings, this momma enjoys everything about the Christmas season.

This year, I had planned Christmas to be extra special. I spent hours garnishing my old farmhouse with sparkling white lights. The front porch had splashes of bright red with a porch-swing blanket and rocking chair pillows. Red poinsettias were carefully placed by the front door. Inside the house, three trees were adorned and sparkled with cozy dancing lights. The white mantle housed silver and gold angels and an old heirloom lantern.

I purchased perfect gifts and created homemade big bows with fancy glitter for wrapping. Yes, I was going all out. I even had a traditional menu planned with ham and all the trimmings. With child-like anticipation, it was going to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Life was good as we counted the days to the family celebration. Sons began to gather, days before our holiday festivities. The house-party started as soon as the first man-child settled into his old bedroom.

But have you ever had one of those holidays? You know, where things do not go as you hoped?

On our celebration date, four family members were sick with flu-like symptoms. It prevented my parents from being able to join us. (Bummer) It forced my youngest son to park on the couch for days. (Another bummer) It made my oldest son’s love blow her nose all day, and hurt with body aches. (Third Bummer)

Yet, I still hoped for a grand Christmas, and we were making the best of it. We were moving forward!!!

However, thirty-three minutes before the traditional meal was to be served; my oven stopped working. And ya’ll . . . part of our traditional menu includes home-made yeast rolls. Honestly, this recipe has been passed down for four generations, and it is to die for. It is a must-have for my perfectly planned traditional Christmas! BUT I needed a working oven to present my mouth-watering gift of perfection wrapped up in a roll!

With grand-babies begging to open gifts, and man-children ‘starving’ for yeast rolls and casserole dishes, the fulfillment of my dreamed Christmas-day was in jeopardy. HA!

What is a momma to do when her weeks of planning a grand-holiday are spinning out of her control? What do you do when your detailed laid-out plans quickly dissipate in front of you and 12 hungry people?

Here are a few life-lessons that ran through my mind while trying to salvage my family Christmas.

I must expect the unexpected, even with my best-laid plans. Life happens. What truly matters is how I respond to the unexpected. I decided, the minor inconvenience of a broken oven and its uncanny timing was not going to ruin the family festivities. But it was a decision. I consciously had to talk myself off the ledge because I wanted to fuss at my stupid oven. I wanted to throw in the towel and order pizza. But thankfully, that is not what happened.

I must adjust the plans and plan to move forward. Plans are made for adjusting. Isn’t that the way life often plays out, anyway? We have our carefully laid envisions for the day, and out-of-our-control, events interfere. So, I adjusted my plans, and I moved forward. I smiled and used the toaster oven. My daughter and husband placed items on the stove-top to finish craved dishes. I called ‘a near-by friend who cares,’ who allowed me to use her oven for baking the famous yeast rolls. Dinner was late, but dinner was saved.

I must remember that sometimes what I label as a problem is really just an inconvenience. Is a non-functioning oven considered a problem, when I have a friend with a broken heart this Christmas? Does it really matter that my oven took a break when a lady was rushed to the hospital that same day? I have damaged loved ones, sisters battling cancer, and others with hurting relationships. These are brave souls fighting REAL battles. Sometimes what I label as a problem is really just an inconvenience. How about you? Do not let your inconvenience be labeled as a problem. See the situation for what it truly is. What we often call a problem is nothing more than an inconvenient interruption at best.

Friends, though Christmas did not unfold out as I envisioned, though Christmas did not unfold as I had planned, I still adore this year’s celebration. Yes, it looked a little different. Yes, we ate a little later than scheduled. But we did eat. Yes, some family members were sick, but they are getting well. Yes, I still have a broken oven, but a new part has been ordered. And you know, what? One carefully laid plan that will never need adjusting is the baby in the manager. Isn’t this the reason for the season, anyway? This truth never changes. Whether you are facing a heart-wrenching problem this year, or some minor inconveniences, the perfectly planned life-giving King in a manger never needs adjusting. Christ put on human skin to be with you and me now and forever. Honestly, that is enough to celebrate whether I am well or sick, with homemade rolls or without.

Love you ladies!

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