Well, I took a week off for the holidays, and I must say it was a beautiful time.
Looking back at my childhood, Christmas was always full of activity. I would spend the night in my brother's room and we would wake up early to open presents - but not before 6 a.m. because that was the rule my parents set.
We would then gather everything up and head over to an aunt's house for a celebration with my dad's side of the family. Food, more presents, lots of talking and loud laughter. However, by the end of the day, when we would get home it didn't feel like a vacation. We felt exhausted, and I just wanted some more time to recuperate from the day.
This Christmas was entirely different. Since it was on a Wednesday, I only got Christmas Day off from work. Nate also had to work on Christmas night, so my parents decided to come up for a little vacation.
They arrived on Christmas Eve, and we first went to a special church service. I'm so glad that our church has a Christmas Eve service, because I have to admit I usually forget about that part of the holiday. There are nativity scenes around and Christmas carols talk about the reason for the season, but the menu planning and gift buying somehow seems to be the most pressing part of the holidays instead.
At the service there was a little girl who acted as the angel above the nativity, and we laughed through the whole singing time as she periodically flapped her wings - after getting a cue from her uncle in the audience. It was adorable, and it made me smile that my husband got such a kick out of a cute little girl.
Christmas Day we slept in, I made fresh bread and started the chicken and dumplings, we opened a few gifts and then we took our dog on a walk through the fresh snow around the lake.
Even the next few days, I worked and then we made dinner and relaxed at night.
It's been a holiday season, when I look back and say "That was refreshing." People at church were talking about going here and there and this party and spending time with those relatives. It seems exhausting, like I used to think Christmas was. But my Christmas was wonderful, peaceful.
Now it's time for a new year, and I hope that the peaceful feeling from last week with reign in my life for the annum. Peace has always been a difficult thing for me to accomplish and was one of the reasons that I memorized the verse "do not worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Even if peace didn't reign in your life during the holiday season, take a step back as we enter 2014 and realize that life doesn't have to be as fast-paced as our culture encourages. Life can be simple and sweet and perfectly peaceful.