Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Real Christmas Spirit

I arrived in Frankfurt a week ago.  My first thought was "Wow! The developed world is so sparkly!"  That observation was enhanced by the Christmas "sparkly" decorating the airports as well.  I was missing out on the Christmas "sparkly" by spending almost 3 months in a predominantly Hindu/Buddhist country.

And my cousin, Sarah, has gone over the top in making sure that I was getting my Christmas fill.  She picked me up at the airport late last Tuesday night and Amy Grant's Christmas Album was queued to my favorite Christmas song, "Breath of Heaven."  We wasted no time hitting up my first Christmas market in Weisbaden. I was definitely put in the "spirit" here...

(And I got to share the best candy in the world with sweet Vivienne.) 

A few days later I was completely captivated by the Christmas market in Rüdesheim. The village reminded me of Vail Village and it was good to feel "at home." I especially enjoyed perusing the food huts and partaking in the amazing German culinary delights of glühvein (a hot mulled wine), brats, Bailey's roasted pecans, chocolate covered marshmallow clouds and an amazing dish of sautéed mushrooms covered in a garlic sauce. We joined Todd and Jackie, friends of Sarah and Tom and went to the Kloster Eberbach (vineyard, former convent and setting for the old Sean Connery movie "The Name of the Rose") for a wine tasting.  

For more of the action, check out this creation on Magisto!

Sarah and I spent a day in the kitchen, whipping up some family favorites of sweet and spicy nuts as well as cranberry pistachio biscottis. Christmas tunes were rocking and the Christmas "spirit" was oozing. 

A few nights later Sarah, Tom and I became gift wrapping machines while watching "White Christmas". (I won't tell you who was reciting every single line of the movie... but it wasn't one of the two chicks in the room.) Nothing like Bing to put you in the Christmas "spirit"!

On Christmas Eve, Sarah and I concocted a menu reminiscent of our Christmas Eves on the farm. I was melancholy considering this would be the first Christmas Eve of my life that I would not be spending at my Grandma and Grandpa Weaver's. But being in the kitchen with this girl, gave me plenty of Christmas memories to put me in the "spirit."

And how can you not feel anything but Christmas joy from this "bundle of joy", little Teddy?

Carolyn and Zack, please cover Huddy's ears and know that no one can replace his spot in my heart, but little Theodore is the happiest baby I have ever had the joy of being with. I'm so thankful to know him and spend sweet time with his brother, Sam, and sister, Viv who are full of Christmas energy, which I'm guessing is not just limited to Christmas time. 

Then I got to thinking... I love the feeling of the Christmas "spirit." And it seems like I'm not alone. We all seek out the "warm-fuzzies" whether it's parties with friends, enjoying our favorite Christmas carols and classic movies, setting the mood while decorating the tree and idealizing the perfect Christmas morning with the family.  But those feelings are often fleeting or the thought of these feelings don't live up to the reality. 

And then an amazing moment came from an unexpected place. Tom has done a great job of sharing the Christmas "classics" with Sam and Viv. A few days ago we were watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas."  My ears perked up when the play scene came on. My mom's favorite Christmas ornament plays this very scene and I know how much she loves it so I loved feeling a little closer to her in this way. 

As Charlie Brown is trying to figure out what "Christmas is all about", Linus enlightens him. 

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:8-14 KJV)

I believe we seek the "spirit" of Christmas for a reason. Whether we realize it or not, we were created to seek after this baby who was born in a manger who grew to become the Savior of the world and is the embodiment of the true love that only our Heavenly Father is able to show. This is a more than just a fleeting feeling that passes with the coming new year. This is where I find the meaning of my life and true fulfillment that will not pass away. 

May you know the fullness of our Father's love through the gift of his Son on this Christmas Day. 

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