Fantasy in Lights


Because it's not quite 2012 and because I feel like this time last week was just a blink ago, Christmas continues. Right here. Right now.

Closing our eyes past midnight and up again at 4am required a nap. So we took one around eight, got up around 9:30, rushed around on and off the phone with Grandma and left to celebrate Christmas with my family at eleven.

We got there just in time for "Christmas Goes Wrong." My dad met us in the carport. Maybe he was glad to see new faces. Or maybe he was our intervention. We stepped inside and before we had the chance to unwrap the Subway sandwich waiting for us, Jake had ripped through every gift he had waiting for him and pouted that he didn't have more. And Emily had written on her brand new, Pottery Barn Kids, pink with chocolate lettered monogram, luggage tag with all her perfect first grade skills in black Sharpie marker (On the outside. Not on the space they give you to write on where it says: Name, Address, Phone Number). Voices raised and little boy tears streamed down his face. Grandma was told, "You're mean. And you made me cry." Then she cried. And I think Christmas came later than she expected (hindsight is definitely 20/20 on the nap) which added to her disappointment. We wondered if we should go.

My sister and brother-in-law waited in the rain and pulled up behind our parents as car number three in the caravan to Callaway Gardens. I called her on the way to wish her a Merry Christmas because I hadn't even seen her and to say "Thank you!" for the green Oglo football she went to three different stores to find for Jake (I finally found one at Target on my lunch hour, and she paid me back.) and the V-Tech Learning Walker she wrapped in paper covered in snowmen for Parker.

This one was called "Winter Wonderland" and was my absolute favorite scene of all.

The two-hour car ride did us good. We got there, and the rain had lifted (in more ways than one). We checked into our rooms, unloaded our things, and made room in two vehicles to drive across the street and into the Gardens.

We rode a trolley for nearly an hour, covered ears with toboggans and little hands with blankets, and oohed and ahhed at lights. Afterwards, we ate pretzel dogs and said 'Hello!" to Frosty, a gingerbread man, and a penguin and shopped. 

My sister, brother-in-law, and niece headed home, and we headed back to our hotel rooms. We sipped hot chocolate, and we listened as Grandpa read from Luke 2.  We saved the best for last. 

Because that's what it's all about - the Baby...born in a manger to save us from our sins.  He is reason for this season. 

And this Christmas season has been one that I'll cherish...always.

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