Monday, December 28, 2015

The day after Christmas


On the day after Christmas, Abbey came running to our bedroom.   She exclaimed, "I can't find Angelica!".  Angelica is the angel that came to visit us this year.  The doll has sort of the same premise as the "elf on the shelf."  Except, the book ("My Secret Angel and Me") that goes along with the doll tells the whole traditional Christian Christmas story and is focused on Jesus.

The book has gorgeous, original artwork and the text tells the traditional Christmas story in a way that is easy for kids to understand.  The book even includes suggested Bible verses to go along with the story.  The Angel, which we named Angelica, comes to life each night and goes back to heaven to tell God how hard the kids tried to be good.  The message in the book also reminds us of God's grace and how God loves us no matter how good or bad we have been.  She comes back each morning and sits in a new place to watch the children.    The kids really enjoyed seeing each morning where she would hide to watch them.

Now that Christmas was over, Abbey was sad to learn that we wouldn't get to look for Angelica each morning until she came back during the next Christmas season.  Then, she anxiously asked about the advent calendar: "Can I see what's behind the day 26 door?".  We have a little gingerbread house that has numbered doors all around the house (1-25).  Within each of the doors, I put slips of paper with fun activities on them like, "Bake a birthday cake for Jesus," "Visit a live nativity," or "Invite another family to come over in their jammies to watch a movie and have a Christmas treat."  It broke my heart to tell her that there were no more doors to open.  That the long awaited day of Christmas, on the 25th, was here and gone.  I remember as a child those emotions as the Christmas season drew to an end.  I'll be honest, I have those same feelings today.  I just love everything related to Christmas.   So on the 26th, when we got in the car and I turned on the radio station that played "all Christmas music all the time" and instead heard "Have I told you lately that I love you" by Rod Stewart, you can imagine the disappointment.  And then on that evening after the kids went to bed and I turned the television on to the Hallmark Channel and they weren't playing a cheesy Christmas movie, you can imagine the sorrow I felt.  I totally got where Abbey was coming from.

Did you know there is actually a syndrome called, "Post-Holiday Syndrome" or even "Post-Holiday Depression"?  There is just so much fun and excitement around the Holidays, that when it all goes away and one must go back to "normal" routines, it can be depressing for some.  But, here is the good news.  We have so much to look forward to!   This is where the focus needs to shift if one begins to have these "blues" feelings.   Now, I would not say I have the "post-holiday depression", but I do need to remind myself of all the fun ahead!   I reminded Abbey that her birthday was in just 8 days!  I reminded her that we have a ski trip coming up in just 4 weeks!  We get to play in the snow soon!

Plus, there are so many new things to look forward to:  the new year, another birthday coming up, new toys, new seasons, new days which are gifted to us.  Abbey has been loving pretending with one of her favorite new toys:

She has creature powers!
Abbey got this Wild Kratts Creature Power Suit for Christmas and has barely had it off.  Of all the gifts she has received so far, I was surprised this was her favorite.  But, our girl loves to pretend, and I think I would have loved this as much as she does when I was little.  Luke got one as well, so they can pretend to be Chris and Martin from Wild Kratts together.  And, I can eavesdrop on their pretending, which provides great entertainment for me as well.  I got a fun new toy also--a Go Pro.  I am excited to play with it this next year!  Things aren't the greatest thing to look forward to though.  If all the hope we have in the new year is placed on "things" that we have, I believe the "depression" would begin to creep back in.  We have so much to hope for.  Here are some of the non-material things I look forward to in the new year:
  • Beautiful weather to enjoy together
  • The beauty and wonder of God's creation
  • Precious time together with friends and family
  • Fun adventures together each day, including lots of hikes and even snowboarding this year.
  • Watching the kids grow up and experience the gift of life.
  • Funny things that Abbey says.
  • Abbey's funny faces and sweet kisses.
  • Luke's sweet hugs and cuddles.
  • Luke's special cards and pictures he makes for me each day.
  • Watching the kids master new skills/concepts in their home education.
  • Hugs from my hubby
As I sit here and type the list, I realize that I could go on and on.  What a great exercise to do after Christmas!  And if that doesn't help, we think on the whole reason our family celebrates Christmas: because we are so excited at the birth of our Savior.  The one who came as a baby, who was perfect and holy and who died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins.    We deserve death as a consequence for our sin, but instead we get the gift of life eternal with our savior if we believe.  And for me this gives me such great hope--even in death.  When I looked death in the eye after I was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer, this hope helped me get over my fear of death.  With the death of my mom a couple of months ago, this was the greatest provider of hope.  I know she believed.  I get to spend life eternally with her as we will be rejoined together someday in heaven.  There is just so much to look forward to after we move on from the Christmas season.  And, after all of this amazing fun year ahead, there is another Christmas season ahead.     


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