Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why Christmas Has To Wait

What's the best Christmas gift I ever received? Hands down, it was a baby.

Hi, it's Sheila.
The last time I put up our Christmas tree before December 9 was in 1993. That was the year I became a mother. I got the tree up in November that year because I knew I wouldn't have time to do it after Katie arrived. I think I got my Christmas shopping done in October in case she came before her due date!

Ric and I decided back then that we would never allow Katie's birthday to be overshadowed by Christmas. We had heard stories of people whose parents always combined their Christmas birthdays with the holiday, and we didn't want Katie to feel as if her birthday wasn't a holiday for our family too.

While our neighbors have had Christmas trees in their windows and lights blazing outside for weeks, our house looks like it does every other day of the year. Our lights and ornaments are still stored away. I do make an exception for our Nativity scene, and it goes up around the beginning of Advent. Eric plays with the figures like they're army men, but having the manger out is a good way for our family to think about the real reason we have Christmas as we count down to the holiday.

So tomorrow, we'll have birthday cake instead of Christmas cookies. We will honor December 9. Before Katie was born, I would sit in her newly decorated pink bedroom and dream about what she would look like, about her personality, and about what she would be. As she turns 17, I can report that she is even more than I could have imagined. Katie is outgoing, adaptable, smart, funny. She is teenager, so sometimes she's moody and wants to grow up too fast, but she has a maturity which I think is rare in people her age. Most of all, she has brought indescribable joy to our lives, and tomorrow we will remind Katie that she is our most precious gift.

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