Wednesday, December 21, 2011

sharing christmas :: shannan

happy wednesday, friends!
already today isn't going as planned. we all know how much i love my plans changing.
i'm thankful for reminders that it's ok. letting go of my way has only proved healthy for me!

my dear blog friend shannan is here today. she blogs at flower patch farmgirl.
i regularly have my socks rocked over there. always edifying and enjoyable reading.
she's a charmer. a wise, hilarious darling of a girl.
i'm so grateful that shannan is sharing a little christmas with us!

Every Christmas has a twist all its own. Each year, it feels a little different.
There have been years where I have focused on all the wrong things
and years where I just haven't focused at all.

Some years I tried extra hard to think on the "right" things and walked away believing that I had failed.
I've bought fancy paper and coordinating ribbon. I've fashioned tags from vintage playing cards before playing cards were even cool. My tree was the perfect blend of quirky and cool. Every bulb was lit.

This year, I fought the grumps while stringing lights on the tree
wearing mens sweatpants with an eighteen-inch rise. I let the kids help - like, really help.

 Two days later, the bottom third of the tree went dark. One more, and the top third followed suit.
So what we have here is a chaotic tree with a belt of lights.
The gifts are wrapped in 2010's left-overs with sticker tags slapped on top.
I've let some things go. I've had to.

 Because what rises up from the inside and fills me up is this idea that the gift is the Giver.
The Baby came to save us. This world, this temporary rental house with the blue carpeted kitchen,
the faces around my dinner table, they are all freely given, not earned.
So, this year, the bulls-eye is the life being lived beyond and around the holiday.
It's the people I know and the hurts I see for myself. It's being intentional and aware.
It's being ready to act, without excuse. I carry around the heft of this truth and it feels so good in my hands.
It feels safe and for real. It feels like the very best way.

Ruby helps Aunt Keisha pack boxes for Samaritan's Purse

We look for opportunities. They don't hide well. We look inside the box and outside the lines.
Our traditions bend a bit at the edges, because sometimes that's what has to give. We have to be willing to trade what we thought was sacred for something that really is.
The season is flying and where I used to feel that dread, that lonesome pit of "I need to slow down and enjoy this", I mostly feel a gut-deep calm - this isn't about me. If we're double-busy living life this year, then so be it. We're having a brand new kind of fun. The moments of receiving are just one more shiny facet of this thing. They all come together and teach us something new about what a gift really is.
We deserve nothing, none of this, and still, we receive.


My hope is that one month from now, the only thing that looks different is the corner of my living room.
The half-lit tree, all shining and reminding will be back in its box. The paper chains will be long gone.
But the heart and soul and the newborn truth of Christmas
will continue to burn up to the rafters of who we are.

shannan, thank you for this encouragement to keep christmas, the truth of this season, always.
y'all be sure to visit shannan's blog, guarantee you'll want to move right in!


  1. beautiful post from one of my favorite bloggers. thanks hannah and shannen!

  2. I love Shannen's blog. I always leave with something after I'm there. I love you, too Hannah. This series was such a brilliant idea.

  3. egads. deep truth. lovely lady. hot sweatpants. ;) how is it possible that each and every one in this series is my favorite?

  4. shannan is my FAVE!!! beautiful post. she inspires me so much. sometimes it's scary because it means i have to do something. ; ) amen... i want my house to be the same, too, come January.

  5. I loved every word. Crying because this is so dead on. We have a wonderful reason to celebrate, don't we? Even if we are celebrating in men's sweat pants.

  6. aww what a beautiful post. shannan must be an amazing person :) xx

  7. Great challenge to keep the meaning of this season close to our hearts and minds all year long.

  8. how cute is this little series? and the button??? and your new?? header???? i am SOOO out of the loop. been taking a little semi-break this month (in case you couldn't tell...) miss you.

  9. This was GREAT as always!
    I Love you know!!!

  10. Hannah, Your blog is beautiful! What a sweet place to visit!

    Shan, LOVE it. You knock my socks off every time.