I set a new personal record this month. It wasn’t anything spectacular and surely not anything athletic. My Christmas decorations stayed up longer than ever. We just passed the half-way point of the first month of the new year and I just packed away the last box of Christmas decorations.
I had a good reason for the delay— really, I did. I was busy celebrating.
Sometimes I start taking down the Christmas decorations on New Year’s Day. Usually, I wait until Epiphany Day, January 6. I try to make Christmas last as long as possible. This year was different. We were into the double digits on the calendar before I got around to taking down the decorations .
I don’t feel too bad about it though — after all, we were gone twelve days in December. Christmas just lasted a bit longer at our house.
The last two months of every year are filled with celebration; my husband’s birthday, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas and finally, New Year’s Eve. That’s a lot of celebrating! Our energy levels and waistlines can attest to that.
This year, for the first time, we rang in the new year at the beach. Then, I traveled to Georgia to attend my cousin’s baby shower on Epiphany Day. The following weekend, my husband and I traveled to the panhandle of Florida to celebrate my brother’s fiftieth birthday.
I have definitely started the year in a celebratory manner.
While baby showers and birthday parties are not that uncommon, the backstory can add meaning to the event.
My cousin and her husband are celebrating the birth of their first child, due next month. The baby (gender to be a surprise) will be the first grandchild of my much-loved cousins. I am beyond thrilled for them. They deserve this happiness. You see, it has been a rough few years for them health-wise. I am so happy for the joy and hope they will experience with the birth of this little one.
Twenty years ago, I got one of those phone calls that punches you in the gut. My mom called to tell me that my thirty-year-old brother had had a stroke and they were on their way to North Carolina to be with him. How could that be possible? I had just seen him a few days before when he was home for Christmas. You’re not supposed to have a stroke when you’re thirty. Suddenly, the years of sibling rivalry seemed very trivial.
I am so thankful my brother survived that stroke with no residual effects and then survived another about a decade later. So yeah, you bet I celebrated his fiftieth birthday. And what a celebration it was!
I anticipate other celebrations this year; birthdays, holidays, my daughter and her husband returning to the states and even the simple joy of friendship.
My word for the year is hope. It goes along with the idea of celebration. Because of hope, we can celebrate the blessings of life even in the midst of difficult times. My outlook on life is hopeful and I choose to celebrate this year.