Today, the Advent Devotional had the sweetest prayer:
"Dear God, help me remember that the best treasure of all is Jesus. He can't be lost, or outgrown. He will be with me forever. Amen."
That prayer jogged my memory and reminded me that, for some reason, since early in the fall, I have been somewhat anxiously anticipating changes to our normal Christmas routines and traditions.
I don't know if it was the absence of Mom for the second year or the addition of Patty for the first, or the fact that the kids are growing up quickly and don't seem to relish things the way they have in the past. But I had this nagging feeling we were up for some shifts in our regular schedule this season.
I wondered if The Babe would figure out that Santa wasn't exactly for real. Kids around him have been telling him the "secret" for weeks now. Both Hooman and Nickels have been chomping at the bit to tell him, but I threatened them within an inch of their lives and, so far, we've managed to make it to within inches of Christmas* with one, firm believer still intact.
I thought this might be the year where I couldn't find matching Christmas morning pj's for the boys because Nickels would be too tall. But, as luck would have it, we have one more year of matchy-matchy photos to cherish.
I wondered if Christmas with Dad and Patty would be strange. I thought, just maybe, that I would miss Mom in droves because she wasn't there. But, we had a happy holiday celebration and I didn't miss Mom more than I normally do...not yet, at least.
After thinking there was going to be some gigantic shift, there was nothing. Which just goes to prove that worrying and anticipating and overthinking things doesn't change the outcome.
I guess you can still believe in Santa, even when others around you keep telling you you are daft for believing.*
And, even though Nickels has grown to just under his Momma's height, there must be Moms designing Christmas pajamas who also aren't ready to let their 12-year-olds out of this fun tradition.
I guess the fact that I carry on customs passed down by Mom (a new ornament for the kids each year, the Advent calendar, Bourbon balls) keeps her alive. The fact that Patty is charming and wonderful to Dad and us makes her a welcome addition to our family.
I feel confident that, come 2012, something in our regular holiday routine will change. Maybe Santa will be outed? Maybe we'll stop buying Starbucks, listening to Christmas music, and driving all over Dallas looking at lights.
I'm sure, some year way into the future, over Christmas dinner, someone will say "Why did we stop doing ____?" or "When did we start doing ____?". And we'll have a lively discussion about the way things were, way back when.
The boys will outgrow matching pj's and refuse to take part in a Christmas morning, matching pajamas, brother's photo. That is, without a little cash bribing.
I know, hopefully in the very distant future, that we'll celebrate the holidays after losing more family that we love.
But, for certain, there will never be a year that, as a family, we'll look back and lament that fact that we lost our Savior.
Praise be to Him, who is with us always. And who takes change and makes it into something beautiful.
**And there are some of us who wish, to this day, that we were ignorant of the fact that Santa isn't real.