Let’s get physical, physical….

I am lying in bed exhausted. My hands feel as though my thumbs could fall off, my fore arms ache, and my back is asking me why in the world I contorted myself into a c shape for about two hours this evening. My feet aren’t happy with me either. The Rooster has had a couple rough nights, and tonight while she wanted to fall asleep around 7:30 or 8, I didn’t manage to actually get her truly asleep until about 9:45. I had her asleep three separate times before the fourth one finally took. Lately we have been coming up with “Roosters Rules for Babies” and the first two are: 1. Never ever leave the baby in a room by herself. Ever. Even for a moment. Even if you have to pee. 2. Babies are for holding, pick the baby up whenever possible.

Loving babies is such a physical act. It is even more apparent with my double helping of babydom. Putting on and taking off clothes, and shoes, and jackets. Picking up and putting down. Rocking and swaying and bouncing and walking. Tickling and hugging and kissing and patting. Holding Rooster in one arm while the Peanut grabs my hand and proclaims “walk!” So we go round and round the three rooms and a hallway that connect into a never ending circle of toddler path. And the feeding. Even the one who isn’t actually being fed by my body still needs to be put in her seat and sometimes needs help with the spoon.

It is exhausting this physical love, even as I reflect on how it is fleeting. There is only a limited window that I will be able to hold both girls as we head for the car.The Peanut will one day take her own shirt off, rather than pulling it over her head and yelling “tuck, tuck!” (stuck, stuck) and there will come a day when the Rooster will no longer want rocked to sleep.

 I never think about the physicality of love, when I think about love I always think about the confessing of emotions or the listening to someone in pain, the being with someone who is lonely. The emotional burdens bared and shared. But that is not the phase I am in with my children, babies are for holding after all.

And Christ, he came as a baby in a physical body. He needed holding and patting and rocking and changing. This Christmas I have been thinking a lot about the physicality of the incarnation. Christ came in a body that grew just like the two bodies that grew inside of me. He was birthed by a woman in labor just like my own babes. He stubbed his toes often as a toddler and fell every couple of steps when He was learning to walk. And later that body was used to physically touch the people society deemed untouchable. He scooped up babies and stroked the hands of old women. He literally carried burdens for people, firewood or well water.

And then the physicallity of the cross, the brutality inflicted on the body that Christ chose for himself. The willingness of Jesus to endure it all. I am struck this advent season, when I think about Christ coming, by the physicality of Christ’s love.

How I want to celebrate.

Sometimes, I put too much pressure on myself for holidays. I don’t know. I spend regular days sometimes, in my worst moments, worrying that I am somehow am screwing it all up for my kids. So, on any given holiday I am capable spending at least half of it worrying that I am doing it all wrong……which ironically, if you are sitting at a holiday gathering worrying if you are doing it all wrong then you are. So relax, self, chill out.

I have been spending some time thinking about Christmas, how I want our family to celebrate. I have such rich memories of Christmas growing up. Of setting out the nativity and reading “The Night Before Christmas,” of gingerbread houses and lighting advent candles. I want my girls to have the same.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with waking up on Christmas morning and looking forward to your presents. We didn’t always have the money to make every kids wish on Christmas morning. But my gifts were always well thought out. I opened them and knew that my parents had paid attention to my wants and needs. I felt loved.

I want that for my girls. I want them to know that I pay attention to and care about the things that they love. But I can already see how fast it can happen, how your house can fill up with plastic and your kids can never be satiated. How it can become all about more, more, more.

I have heard people who are commenting on it all running together. Thanksmas they are calling it. I think that reflecting on what I am thankful for is perhaps the best way to start my Christmas season. But I am not in love with the phrase “Thanksmas.” That whole taking Christ out of Christmas thing. So I shoved it together the other way in my head and came up with “Christ-giving”. Now that is a holiday I can get behind. A whole holiday month I can celebrate.

I want this to be a time where my girls celebrate what Christ has given to our family. The enormity of Him coming to earth as a baby, as well as the smallest miracle of a parking space close to the store with an empty shopping cart next to it when it is raining and we need it most. Christ has given me every good thing in my life, and I want to reflect on that. And I want those gifts to inspire us to give generously, in the name of Christ. To decide that instead of one more toy at our house, we would rather take an extra name off of the angel tree.

I want to celebrate Christ giving me my family, for providing this year for us abundantly. Giving me my salvation and then lavishing his gifts still further. Wanting wonderful things for me. I want to celebrate by allowing Christ to move into our hearts and move us to give. So, happy “Christ-giving” to you and yours. May God richly bless you as you richly bless others this season.

That’s what we are going for anyway….that and copious amounts of cookies.