It was 1990. I was 11 years old and in the 5th grade.
My school had a Poetry Parade Competition.
I submitted a poem and was one of the 8 winners of the contest.
My poem was read by Tiny Tim during the production of The Christmas Carol.
I share this poem with you today, because, it is what my family is trying to live out this Christmas and I hope for many more Christmas' to come. May it inspire you during this season of giving.
May God Bless You and do something nice for someone today and every day.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL POEM
I was walking down the snowy street;
When I saw someone I'd like to meet.
She was dressed in ragged clothes;
She sat on a bench in a worried pose.
She turned her face and started to cry;
I asked her what was wrong and why.
She said, "I don't have any friends on this Christmas Day";
So she walked with me the rest of the way.
Written by: Jenny Erbel 1990
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND PLEASE SHARE
Each morning I hear these dreaded words...GUESS WHAT MOM!!!!! IT'S ONLY 11 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!! (Or insert 14, 10, 5, 1, etc..)
But don't underestimate my kids. This "countdown" did not start just recently. Oh no, it started before Thanksgiving! "Mom is it Thanksgiving yet?" I got asked regularly.
I would tell the kids how many days away Thanksgiving was and then one sunny afternoon it dawned on me that they were really into Thanksgiving.
So I asked why they loved Thanksgiving so much.
I expected them to say of course that they loved my cooking and loved having their grandmother visiting and that they were anticipating a nice meal around the table sharing all the things we were thankful for!
Because this is why everyone loves Thanksgiving, right?
Silly me! My kids told me they couldn't wait for Thanksgiving because it meant that Christmas was next! And don't you know. The very next day after Thanksgiving my kids woke up and said, "IS TODAY CHRISTMAS???"
NO! Today is not Christmas! Christmas was still 30 days away! Wait, 30 days away? Oh no, I haden't even started Christmas shopping or our Christmas letter, or did I even have a photo I could use of the kids on a Christmas card? I hadn't even started on our Christmas yearbook yet that I do every year. And what about the Angel Tree, or Christmas cookies, Christmas dinner menu? Shopping? When will I do it all? But after a deep breath, 30 days seemed like a reasonable amount of time to try to get these things done...
And then fastforward to today! There are 11 days until Christmas, so my child announced when she woke up this morning! 11 DAYS people! ELEVEN DAYS PEOPLE!!!
Christmas cards are not written, pictures have not been taken, photo cards have not been ordered, yearbook has not even been started, Christmas shopping for family members has not occurred. I don't even have necessary ingredients in my house to start baking Christmas cookies. And we haven't even seen Santa yet! But thank you for reminding me that I have 11 more days to get this done.
You know what I've been busy doing instead? Probably the same things you are doing: my normal every day job. I've been cooking and cleaning and folding laundry. I've been homeschooling 3 days a week and organizing outgrown clothes and closets. I've been paying bills and combing through our finances to find enough money to even have Christmas this year.
Honestly, It would be a really bad day if I thought I had only 11 days to get this stuff done. If I made this all about me and how much I can accomplish in the month of December it would be a really bad month.
Every day my children wake up to what often times feels like a reminder of how many days "left" I have to get the most magical time of the year ready for them. But that's not it. Not it at all.
Seriously, when I take myself out of it all and all the static and stuff that comes along with the holiday is removed, this is such a magical time of year with or without any of the extra stuff we do! We have 11 days left until Christmas and outside of decorating and buying a few gifts we've not done much else...
I love watching my kids put gifts in each others stockings each morning and not taking credit for it! They find things around the house, little toys or drawings they made and hide it in each others stockings when the other ones aren't looking. It's awesome!
They tell each other that Santa did it! I love their imaginations, their play, their excitement for this time of year.
Even though I can do without the 5:00am wake up calls, I love that each morning at 5am (sometimes 6) the kids wake each other up and go running through the house to see what the crazy thing Elf Robert has done or where he is newly hiding from the day before.
And I could also do without my husband waking me up at midnight to tell me I went to bed forgetting to move the Elf for the kids excitement and enjoyment each new day. And sometimes Elf Robert doesn't move until the morning after the kids have waken up or after they've gone to school.
But you know what? They don't care. It is still so incredibly magical for them and exciting. They make Elf Robert gifts to give to Santa and they leave him plates of food and cookies. Watching them give to each other and Silly Elf Robert are wonderful things about this month.
Then it is answering all the questions that go along with the Christmas story that I love getting to sit down and talk with my kids.
Why was Jesus born in a stable? (or per Olivia, a staple?)
What is a stable?
What is the Nativity?
Is Jesus still a baby?
Does Jesus celebrate Christmas in Heaven?
Is Santa Clause like Jesus?
My friend doesn't believe in Santa, but I still do, is it okay to always believe?
Where is Jesus mommy now?
I love watching them color Christmas cards for children they've never met. I love hearing them gather their toys they want to give to other people who don't have as much. Or in the store offering to buy things for their friends or for children they've never met. And I love the gifts they wrap up and give me and each other then say it is from Santa!
I love their excitement and interest in another family we've offered to help in this season.
As I look at this month of December and see all the long lists a parent has to do to make this time "the most magical time of year" for their family, or all the money that ends up getting spent on new and sometimes ridiculous toys, and the anxiety of not doing as much as your neighbors or friends do. It is a ridiculous amount of pressure.
But do me a favor and put that pressure aside with me. Because really who cares if Christmas cards don't get mailed out before Christmas, or even at all. Who cares if the cookies get made or not or if the elf gets moved. Really, who cares other than the pressure we put on ourselves?
As I look at this month of December what I really want to see is the month of December through the hearts of my children. Through their hearts of Gold. The giving spirits that is within their little souls is priceless. Their souls is what brings out the magic during this season. Not all the other stuff; but them. Of course we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and that is not to be forgotten, but they are experiencing it. Watching Christmas happen through their little eyes is spectacular.
It really is the most magical time of year, but not because of anything "magical" that I do or in this years case, don't do. It is magical whether we get cookies made or cards sent out. The magic lies in watching my children give and grow in their servants hearts and see them so enthralled with the birth of Jesus. This is where the magic is.
Making food memories and "thankful" memories, because let's face it, sometimes other memories with children on Thanksgiving are just not worth keeping.
(These are real conversations from today from our real and crazy family. The children's names in this post have been purposefully left out to protect them from being harassed by those of you who might know them.)
Mom, I don't feel... (insert vomit and more vomit...)
Okay, try to keep your aim into my hands until we get to the toilet.
repeat of 2:00am
Stop talking! You are waking me up! (insert crying and tears from a healthy child)
Baby, it's okay to get up and come down stairs now. Everyone else is awake.
He's sitting in my chair!! I want my chair!! That's not fair!
You sat there yesterday, it is his turn today.
I don't want yucky toast and grapes for breakfast! It's gross. I told you I just want chocolate.
You need to eat what I give you or else you won't eat anything the rest of the day.
I don't want apple juice! I want milk!
Sweetheart, you just asked me to get you apple juice so that's why I gave it to you. Please don't yell at me.
I don't like this parade. It's too long. When is it going to be over? I want to watch cartoons.
It's the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Just watch it. The Ninja Turtle float is about to come on and look at all the ballerina's dancing! .
Eww! Mom!! I just saw him put his buggers on the couch!
OK, give him this wet towel and tell him to clean them off right now.
What's that yucky smell? Yuck. Everyone hold your nose. It stinks in here.
That's Thanksgiving Dinner is cooking.
Mom! I got poop on my hands!
OK, don't move, and don't touch anything! I'll be right there.
I don't want to play outside. Can't we just come inside to play?
No, you all need to stay outside until dinner is ready. It's so pretty out. It's going to snow soon and you'll be stuck inside for months.
Grandma Helen, I mean Tori, can I be all done eating?
That is your Nonna. Her name is Nonna. And she is not in charge of how much you eat. You have to finish eating your lunch and then I will dismiss you from the table.
You just ate lunch an hour ago and you had a snack 10 minutes ago. You are not hungry. Go outside and play.
Mommy, I want you to hold me.
I can't hold you while I'm cooking baby, just sit here on the counter and don't touch the knives.
I don't want to wear this! It has buttons. I want to wear my Halloween costume.
I want you to look nice for Thanksgiving dinner. Please put on what I want you to wear just for today.
He broke my tower and hurt my feelings!
Come here. Show me where your feelings are so I can kiss them and make it better.
He hurt my feelings again!
Work it out and go outside and play!!! We are eating in one hour and I don't want to see you until then. You need to play with each other nicely.
I told you not to give me chicken! yuck!
It's ham. You like ham. And your daddy is getting you ranch dressing to dip it in.
Why is this macaroni white? I want the orange kind. It's just made with special cheeses and you'll like it if you just try it.
Mommy, I like this, I just want the pretzels out of the jello and separated from the cream.
Baby, I can't take it apart. Just eat it the way it is.
*I am thankful for my family and my friends but mostly my family. And for batman and for legos. I am thankful for thanksgiving and for loving people and for helping people too. I am thankful for my lego table, but I want it to be a train table again. I am thankful for Nonna and Grandma Helen and Papa Claude and Papi and Tori and for Aunt Cathy and all of my cousins. And I am thankful for orphans because they can all come to live with us.
*I am thankful for my mom and dad and my room. I am thankful for love. I am thankful for loving people. I am thankful for giving people stuff and for having a twin. I am thankful for my family, for my toys and for my school and my car and my house and for love. I am mostly thankful for love and loving people and having a loving family.
*I am thankful for my family and farts and burps too (insert laughter from all the kids here). I am thankful for Nonna and the movie Inside Out. I am thankful for all my family and cousins and my grandparents. I am thankful for my mommy. I am thankful for my family being together and for everyone that helps each other and gives to people.
*I am thankful for Curious George and all the bulldozers in the whole world and for my mom and dad and for my turtle, Lucky.
I couldn't be more thankful for my family.
I am a mother of 4 small children. I am happiest when I am busiest and if the kids don't keep me busy enough I need projects to fill my days. I love Jesus and I love my family and I love the chaos around me for it brings the calm.