My mother in law Barb, hosts Second Sunday at her house every month. It is a time to spend with family sitting around the table. Lately it resembles a circus, but we love our monkeys. I love it because growing up I did not live by family and I love that my children get the opportunity to grow up with two of their cousins. Every Second Sunday has been amazing. My mother and father in law just get it when it comes to hosting. The second you walk in you feel so welcome and when you leave you feel missed and in the time inbetween you just feel loved. Hostessing is a gift and we are so thankful for Second Sundays when we get to embrace it.
Second Sunday this month actually took place on the first Sunday. We went to New Hope, PA and went on the Polar Express. I have been waiting to do this! Most of us wore our Christmas jammies and hopped on board to sing Christmas carols, sip hot coco, and do what we do on Second Sundays…make memories with the people we are blessed to call family.
For those that know me well, you know I LOVE Christmas, and the Polar Express encompasses so much of what makes me love celebrating this holiday every.single.year.
My boys are almost 18 months old. And although having two babies to care for has me spinning in circles most of the time, my boys have reminded me so much of what really matters in life and the importance of slowing down and being present in the moment. There is not a moment in the last 18 months I could tell you Doug and I are all caught up with everything that needs to be done. That feeling is STRESSFUL. I like things crossed off the list. But there is no way we can be caught up. It’s just our reality. So I have had to change gears, and accept it and focus less on the doing and more on the being. In all honesty, some days I do much better with this than others. But I have found when I let go of the doing or let’s be honest when I let go of the frustration of the NOT doing, and have a day where I really focus on the being…it is more rewarding than anything I could cross off a to do list.
As the Christmas season approaches, the temptation to do do do comes about. The hustle and the bustle often wraps itself up in a sparkly, big box with a ribbon perfectly tied around it. But the reminder to focus on the being more than the doing comes to me as I am holding my sick son on my birthday this year and feel his heartbeat and admire his long eye lashes. And there it is, that gentle reminder to not think about the overflowing laundry basket or the legos that somehow are procreating all over my house. Just be. Just comfort. Just love.
So as we approach closer to Christmas I think about the story of the Polar Express and how the boy who once celebrated Christmas with complete adoration no longer believed. A bell was ringing but he could no longer hear it.
How many of us aren’t hearing the bell? Some of us are trying to create the magic ourselves. We try to ring the bell all day everyday and some of us can for awhile… but eventually our hands get tired. We think:
How much longer can I ring this bell?
Is anyone even listening to the bell?
Is anyone else going to offer to ring the bell?
Some of us are too busy and fill our lives with so much noise, we can’t possibly hear the bell.
Exhaustion, resentment, disappointment, and apathy take over and Christmas becomes something to do and another item to be crossed of the list.
But, it’s not your job to ring the bell. And it’s not mine. On Christmas, the day Jesus was born it became our gift to hear the bell. Immanuel (which means God is with us) was here in the flesh to give us joy, hope and peace and bring us the Good News.
As I sit on the train with my sons and nieces and see the way their eyes light up and their bodies can’t help but dance to the music, I know they are hearing the bell. And I hold them tight, and pray they never stop hearing the bell. I pray, just as the boys have helped me in the last 18 months, to hear the bell, I can do the same for them through out their life.
Friends, family, anyone reading I hope I can encourage you to be this season. You read that right, to be, just be. Being must come before believing, so don’t try to take a shortcut. I hope you choose to silence all the noise that is creating the soundtrack of your life for a moment and give yourself a chance to hear the bell. This season and every season. And I would like to thank the friends and family that have encouraged me to do the same, especially my two sweet boys and adorable nieces.
So here is my hand extended out to you to get on the Polar Express with me and remember “The bell still rings for one, as it does for all who truly believe.”
Thanks to Amy Petrilla for taking pictures so we can make memories. If you are local to me, hire her! She got FOUR kids to look AND smile at the camera. Christmas Miracle!!! https://amypetrilla.wordpress.com/