I just put my turkey in the oven for our dinner tonight.
I was sitting in the living room and looking at the low and sweet Christmas lights. What an old fashioned Christmas home!
The presents under the tree are humble, but there, and wrapped awaiting the looks of surprises upon our children’s faces. Just “love gifts” — warm shirts, gloves, and hats — and for the girls Tiff and Mary, bubble bath and lotions and cologne. Also, I made a cute package for the girls with a Christmas hot pad and Christmas dish and Santa Claus dish towel. Then, to each of the kids, we gave a gift certificate. To Mary and Brandon, freshly married only for 5 months, we gave a certificate to the grocery store, and to Dan and David, too. Just little things that say, “We love you, kids. Merry Christmas.” Of course, we already exchanged Christmas gifts with the older children at Thanksgiving.
Yesterday, as we came home from shopping, I could smell the stew cooking in the crockpot, even on the front steps outside. It’s no wonder it drew Danny home. But that is what an old-fashoined Christmas home is to smell like … food cooking and folks laughing and giving to each other humble gifts. It’s the spirit of giving and joy.
This morning, I put my crock pot back in place with a little beef stew left. I have added a can of mixed vegetables and some beef gravy mix. It will make a light soup to eat for lunch with crackers and cheese.
The crock pot meals are such helpers for me around the Christmas season. To make the stew, I just put in some partly cooked hamburger, then some onions and carrots and potatoes. (I leave the onion whole, as Papa and his seeds are onion haters. They like the taste but wouldn’t want to eat one.) Anyway, I put in some cabbage, too. Then I added a can of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato soup, and a beef gravy mix from Aldis. Then just add some water … ya can’t go wrong. Put in salt and black pepper.
Then, when the stew is about all gone, you can add some cans of vegetables and water and make a nice light beefy soup. After it boils, I will add some broken up spaghetti. I like to have soup out in case Dan or David stop by, or Mary. This way, I can visit and feed the company at the same time.
One thing I do, too, is this. At the end of the day, I just take the whole crock pot out and put it in a cold place, like the fridge or the porch. Then, the next day, after I have had stew, I just bring the crock pot pan in again, put it back in the crock pot thing, turn it back on, and add the cans of vegetables, etc. to make a light soup. It’s easy and keeps things movin’ around here. Papa is honestly always hungry, so this keeps him happy.
And, ya know, too, I want to say that … Boy, how can I say this? I didn’t always have a happy season at Christmas. I had to stay up alone on Christmas Eve and put toys together by myself. But I did because I lived from my visons from within my heart. The ones God gave me for a restored family, ya know? And now you can imagine why, as I look around me, in a safe and warm Christmas nest … my eyes pour out tears of gratitude to my Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord gave me a new husband, one who cares about me and my children. He gave me exceedingly and abundantly more than I could think or ask. He really did, and I praise Him for it. Out of the first twelve years of my marriage, I think Papa and I were together only a few years at Christmas. It made me very sorrowful and yet, I had children who needed to have a Christmas, and I made one for them. I had to live by the promises of God and nothing less. And He did not forsake me, and He made it all up to me a hundred times over.
I wonder if this is His presence I sense this morning, as the house seems like His manger, lowly and quiet and silent with love.