Friday, December 21, 2007

One Hundred Christmas Gifts

Since we always travel home for the holidays, Joy and I have started a tradition of celebrating Christmas with our family the two days before we slide into the car and strike out on the road. This year, we decided to take Sam down to Union Station where every year they set up a large model train display. The trains set up are in G, S, and O scale, which meant for Sam, they were larger than any model train he had ever seen.

As you can see, Sam was enamored, especially when he discovered they had an entire section devoted to Thomas and his friends. He must have watched James and Thomas make the circuit for twenty minutes alone. There was also a train he could have ridden, but it was closed for the operators to run to lunch, so we had to content ourselves with watching the trains for over thirty minutes. Sam could have stayed there all day, which sounds a little impossible, until you realize just how large this display was. Here is about a fourth of the entire display:
This really was a bit of Christmas, or any day, heaven for Sam.

Finding this display was a bit of serendipity for us in that it helped solidify something Joy and I have been mulling over for a few weeks. In early December, we started our annual Christmas letter. With painting Sam's room and then our computer crashing (taking our Christmas contact list with it) we couldn't finish and get our Christmas cards out this year, but we had decided that we would share thoughts we had on trying to communicate to Sam the light and love of God that were sent to us in the birth of Christ.

One of the practices we've been practicing this year is from a blog on which Joy discovered the practice of counting “One Thousand Gifts”. The idea is to seek God in the ordinary, daily mess of our lives midst laundry and grading papers by simply pausing to see Him in the daily gifts He provides. But beyond that, the list of one thousand gifts is meant to inspire us to thank God (or simply to be thankful) for the gifts we have, rather than to spend this season making lists and then wondering why we didn't get everything we desired.

Truthfully, this is hard for us. Wanting makes us want more. We find ourselves too busy, too preoccupied, too scattered; but we were inspired and wanted to share the inspiration with you. Still, we wanted to start small, so here are our One Hundred Gifts of Christmas, twenty each day through Christmas (in no particular order, and from me, Joy, and Sam).

1. New step stools used to climb on beds
2. Handel's Messiah
3. Choo-choo trains at Union Station
4. Seeing our new baby on an ultrasound
5. Unexpected plates of cookies
6. Little boys who look up at you with big sleepy eyes and say, "can we snuggle?"
7. Buses and trucks of any shape, size, or color
8. Finished rooms painted deep blue
9. Packages with Christmas presents that ship faster than they should
10. Computers fixed by prayer because there is no other answer
11. Construction diggers
12. Playing piano with Sam sitting next to you, playing along and singing
13. Christmas lights in the shapes of trains
14. The warmth of the winter sun after a week of clouds, ice, and snow
15. Healing in the body of Christ
16. Birthday parties for Jesus with 2,3, and 4-year-olds
17. Snuggling on the couch under a warm blanket and watching a movie
18. Hearing Sam sing "Away in a Manger"
19. Unexpected Compliments
20. Uncontrollable laughter

So, there are our first twenty. This practice has been so grounding for us, we encourage you to join with us, either by posting some of your own in the comments over the next few days or by joining in on your own blog.


Lindsay said...

Thanks... Andrew, Joy and Sam for your wonderful post and for introducing me to a new blog Holy Experience.

Some items I'm grateful for...
* A God who knows my every need.
* Bandit, my lovable Shitzu pup.
* My small Christmas tree laden with a host of memories.
* Healing from a horrific sinus infection.
* Prediction of good travel weather.
* Good your Dad being one of them.

jeanetta said...

i think mine would have sat there all day and never moved. right now he is inthralled with a set of toby he just got as it runs its short little circle loop.
merry christmas