Appalachian Thursday–Christmas Countdown
Guess what? It’s 21 days ’til Christmas! Yup, Christmas is just three weeks away. Are you ready? Are you counting down with joy and anticipation? Or is there a little how-will-I-get-everything-done dread mixed in there?
When I was little, we had a count-down to Christmas wall hanging my mom made. It was in the shape of a Christmas tree and had 24 little beads from which we would suspend 24 little, felt ornaments. There was an angel that went at the top. A Santa, little wrapped packages, a candy cane with sequins–it was wonderful. And I always got to hang the first ornament since my birthday was December 1.
I LOVED counting down to Christmas when I was a child growing up on the farm in WV. Each year I looked forward to all the things we got to do as we counted down. Here are just a few of my favorites:
- Singing carols in the car. Snapping our fingers for reindeer hoofs up on the housetop. Dad substituting our names as he sang, “First comes the stocking of little Sally (his nickname for me).” Rudolph and Frosty and oh, what fun!
- Decorating sugar cookies. I now know this makes my mom a saint. Arming three kids with frosting and sprinkles is a bold move.
- Decorating the Christmas tree. Dad did the lights and hung his one ornament remaining from childhood–a tattered cardboard Santa. We got to do the rest. And no clumping icicles, if you please.
- Hanging our stockings and posing for a picture looking up the chimney. As if we thought Santa would be up there before we went to bed. Honestly, Mom.
My husband and I have our own traditions to mark the days until Christmas–a gathering with friends, Christmas Eve services, peanut butter blossoms, and stealth decorating (he’s not as big a fan of glitter and greens as I am).
But all too often our grown-up traditions get bogged down in hurry and self-imposed pressure to make this Christmas the best ever. This December I’m encouraging you to remember what it was like to be a child counting down the days–not wondering how you would fit it all in and get it all done–but wondering how much longer do I have to wait? Because we are children, after all. God’s children. And what we’re waiting for is a chance to celebrate the best present ever.