Saying good bye to our tree (and a hard year)

We wanted one more night with our Christmas tree. We love our Christmas tree (OK, I know I do, so I'll speak for myself.) and we especially love our house at Christmas. We knew we would be taking our tree down the next day so we wanted one more special evening.

After we watched football and dinner was all cleaned up, we turned all our lights off and sat by the twinkling of our tree. Our Batman toys were near by and so was the flashlight so we started first by having a hoppin dance party where Little was amazingly impressive with her moves and facial expressions. (Seriously, that girl has some swinging hips and she likes to use them. Just. to. funny.) We sang jingle bells while the kids danced and found their favorite Batman toys. Then we played batman for a little while, just the five of us, the flashlight and twinkling Christmas tree. It was so great, and its the kids favorite thing to do, and I think they liked that both Paul and I were playing with them. That is a bit more rare. Once we all settled down and snuggled on the floor we sang "Silent Night".

We had kind of been disconnected all day. We had friends over, the TV was on, chores were getting done, but then we paused everything and came together. (never underestimate the power of erasing a bad day with intentional time with the kiddos.) We took time to have a moment together. To hold on the last affect of our tree and its magic and its power. We looked at our ornaments, we sat still, we snuggled, we hugged, we giggled, we came together. We put everything else aside and said, for this moment in time, nothing else matters except each other. It was wonderful.

(My husband has to laugh at me and how everything has a bit of tradition into it. He probably thought we were just going to take the tree down, and then I turned into this, "We have to have a moment." I need moments for everything it seems!)

I am sad to see our tree go. Sad to say goodbye to all the magic Christmas brings. But at the same time, I welcome the normal rhythms of life to come back again. This year has been crazy for us. Our oldest was at his worst struggling point this time last year. We had four months of crying, yelling, screaming, struggling, talking, crying, yelling, crying, and then our diet changed. Then a tornado hit. Then we traveled for a month. Then the diet changed again. Then we started a new job and new school. Then we took a breath.

It's been a big year and we need some of our rhythms back. Our weekly meetings. Our Friday night family night. Our Saturday Sabbath. Our prayer time over the kids. A workout routine. A weekly meal plan. So many healthy habits have fallen to the wayside to make room for survival. (Which is funny since these things only enhance and make survival actually possible.) But we welcome them. We need them. We say bring it on.

Welcome 2012. With you we hope to find our discipline for life again. We hope to find fulfillment again. We hope to see the benefits to all of our relationships that intentional planning can bring.

We hope for a fruitful year. And selfishly, a slightly easier year.

This is not our tree, but here is my family on Christmas Eve at my in-laws down in Texas. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!