The Macy’s Day Parade ended with children around Santa Claus singing how they believed. I had watched my children’s faces rapt with wonder as float after float, band after band, balloon after balloon went by on the screen, and now that it was over, I sat as I do every year at the end of the parade and cried. Not because it was over, but because it was beginning…

Thanksgiving. The Christmas season. It is my favorite time of year. But somehow this year, there is little excitement for me.

Perhaps it was because when I had walked into my grandparents’ house earlier Thanksgiving morning, my grandfather’s face didn’t light up. He didn’t even know who my Audrey was at first. Perhaps it’s because I’m writing this from the darkness of a hotel room. A hotel room 6 miles from my grandparents’ house. A house that I’m supposed to be sleeping in. Not here. But with Pap’s health so fragile, he needs the rest and the quiet that don’t come with three small children.

Perhaps it’s because we’ve all been sick for 2 weeks and I still just don’t feel good. (Thus the absence from my blog.) Perhaps it’s because of the depression, the weariness, the loneliness of spending weeks cooped up in my home talking to no one.

I am an idealist. I know that. And I am a woman of tradition, sentiment, ritual. I love all the treasures and routines of this time of year… and yet this year, they are all different.

Our new home is the perfect place to decorate and celebrate. Three weeks ago when I asked my Bri if we could paint the family room and get it together, he decided that any job worth doing is worth doing well, and completely gutted it. It will be gorgeous when it’s finished… when it’s finished. And it the meantime all our furniture is piled into the living room and there’s nowhere to decorate. No room for a tree. He should finish next weekend and we can hopefully begin to decorate. But i sigh and think, “Is it really worth it?” At that point we’ll be home for two weeks before we board a plane to fly to Phoenix to be with Brian’s family.

And y’all. I hate to fly. HATE to fly. I’m claustrophobic. I hate the crowds of the airport. I am terrified of the plane going down. And I will drag three small children through the chaos of Christmas travel… are we inSANE?!

It’s all changing. Life.

We will celebrate Christmas around our tree (if we manage to get one) early. Not on Christmas day. There will be no traditional brunch that I make. There will be no Christmas Eve service at our home church (although that’s even been changing, too). There will be no presents around the tree in Phoenix because we’ll have them here. Out of necessity (we don’t want to pay to fly the gifts home). And we’ll fly home the day before Bear’s birthday, and we’ll miss the Rose Bowl Parade and I won’t have time to prepare anything special for his birthday.

And I’ve cried a lot. Not because we’ll be with Bri’s family. I’m excited to be with them. I just wish we could be with them AND have all our traditions.

It’s because it’s different. All so different. And I don’t like different.

But my kids. They have no clue. They are THRILLED to be sleeping in a hotel room. What a fun adventure! They love that Daddy is painting and sanding and tearing up floors (mind you, I love it, too… I just don’t love the timing). Daddy’s a big, strong, smart man. They cannot WAIT to board that plane. To fly through the air. They don’t care when they open gifts, they are just excited to make lists and buy for each other. The whispers of plans, excitement over what they can do to surprise each other is contagious. They sing Christmas carols in their bedroom and talk about celebrating Jesus’ birthday. They are beyond excited to see their grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles in Arizona, and they are already discussing what to pack in their suitcases.

They are the ones with perspective. The perspective that I need.

Because they know it’s not about them. First and foremost, it’s about Jesus. It’s about believing… not in Santa Claus, but in the miracle of Christmas. It’s about family and being together no matter where you are and what you do. It’s about remembering and anticipating.

It’s not about me.

It’s about Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for.

It’s not about me.

It’s about Christmas.

The perfect Gift.

The love.

The sacrifice.

The redemption.

The wonder.

So I will live these next weeks basking in the perspective of my children. I choose to focus not on what’s different because it’s different, but rather because it brings new possibilities, new adventures, new joys.

We are together.

We are family.

We are redeemed.

We are celebrating.

We are believing.

6 responses to “Believing”

  1. My far away friend…

    It seems as if you have already opened the best gift of all…

    Your words – as always – seem to find a place in my heart reserved for few.

    You are rare. wonderous. genuine. You bless me.

    I am thankful.


  2. Melissa Bruining Teeter Avatar
    Melissa Bruining Teeter

    Wow girl– this year must be the Christmas to form new traditions. Instead of being with family, Mike and I are going to Asheville for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It will be sweet, just the 2 of us at the Grove Park. . . but it will be the first away from my folks and brothers. . . Sending prayers on your behalf for peace in your precious heart as new traditions unfold. Love you so much!!


  3. Oh Angie,
    It is so hard to let go of such special and dearly loved traditions. It’s almost like grieving….there is a real sense of loss. I will pray that God will continue to give you great joy and child-like wonder throughout the season, as well as rest and refreshment!


  4. Thoughts:

    You lament so well. A God-ward (this is key) voice of complaint. A learning. A resolution of praise. Written for the community. You’re a modern psalmist. A good one!

    I, too, am an idealist. Trapped in the not-yet ideal. Sighing with you. It is coming. 🙂

    I’m thankful you’re well enough to fly this year. (Now, don’t start feeling guilty ’cause I said that.)

    Your living room is a metaphor for you; who likewise “will be gorgeous when it’s finished… when it’s finished.” But right now you feel like a pile of furniture in the other room, huh?

    Have Christmas early….the WHOLE thing. Tradition-full. And yeah, I know it’s different. I think that’s what Jesus said in the manger. “This is different.” 😉

    Can anyone DVR the Rose Parade for this family and get it to them on DVD?

    Much love,



  5. It is so hard to make new traditions – especially when they are made out of necessity because of a loved one’s failing health. Our traditions really started to change the last year my Pap was with us and while it seemed and felt so odd and un-natural at the time, looking back it was a wonderful blessing.

    I DVR’d the Macy’s Parade b/c my high school’s marching band was in it and will be getting the cord needed to get it off of my DVR to get a copy to friends whose child was in it – if you do not have another offer, I would love to do the same with the Rose Parade and send it to you.


  6. Angie,

    I understand and sympathize….truly I do! Change is terribly hard, especially on the holidays. And I’m so sorry to hear about your grandfather.

    One small thing about the change – when you are in Arizona, go outside with the children and feel the warm sun and think of it as yet another way that this holiday this year in a new place is a blessing!

    With lots of love from chilly Chicago –


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