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The Magic of the Season. (A Grateful Heart)

December 7, 2015
x and em fred 2015

x and em fred 2015

We got our tree yesterday (Fred IV) and as I sat in our family room that afternoon, admiring our sweet tree as the branches began to rest down, I thought to myself – green is a really great, calming color… more rooms need more green. And then I had a funny thought and wondered if God favored a color and that if He did, it must be green because there is so much of it on our planet. (Random Thoughts by Emily, you’re welcome.)

While I have always loved Christmastime, that love seems to grow the older I get. Somehow, even amidst the (wonderful) chaos that has been our life the past few months, my spirit has begun to slow down to notice life’s moments… even if they’re not my own. The sight of a little boy running up to Santa, at our local Home Depot, and giving him the BIGGEST hug – I mean picture me straight up crying as I stood in aisle 3 with a towel rack and a plunger. (#newhomewoes) And then how about earlier in the weekend when I watched a newlywed couple purchase their first Christmas tree together… I couldn’t help but smile as the girl giddily skipped behind him with her hands clasped up by her face. The REASON for the season is Jesus, oh hands down YES and PRAISE, but I’d like to think that maybe He delights in the magic and wonder we feel this time of year as we carry out traditions or skip around in a parking lot full of trees, or as a little child meets Santa for the first time.

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were talking about Santa Claus and the absolute heartbreak you feel when you find out for the first time that he’s not real. I will never forget the day I found out… I was in 1st grade when a boy in my class started blabbing to everyone that his older brother told him “the truth” and that there was no Santa. I sat there with a look that most likely said, You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about and will be on the naughty list this year. But fast forward to that evening when I was watching the show Home Improvement – the episode where the older Taylor boys tell their little brother that Santa isn’t real. I sat there on the couch thinking – wait a minute. If they’re saying this on Home Improvement it MUST be true?! I marched into the kitchen where my mom was making dinner and asked her straight up- “Mom, I want you to tell me the TRUTH. Is there such thing as Santa?” She looked at me straight in the eye and asked, “Do you really want to know?” I could feel the lump starting to form in my throat and the tears welling in my eyes and I said ever so seriously, “Yes. The truth.” My mom continued to look me in the eye and said, “No, there is no such thing as Santa.” Naturally I burst into tears as I said, “What?!? So I guess next you’re going to tell me there’s no easter bunny or tooth fairy either!” (To which my mom’s eyes grew two sizes in panic – which of course I saw – and I ran straight up to my room to continue crying and to write in my diary. Dear Diary, THERE IS NO SANTA. OR EASTER BUNNY. OR TOOTH FAIRY!!)

My poor mom.

Still, each year, usually as I’m watching The Polar Express or Miracle on 34th Street, I start to feel the magic again and my heart says, maybe I’ll let myself believe for one more year 😉 Perhaps it’s something that stays with you, no matter how old you get. At least, I hope that’s the case.

Today I am grateful for the magic and wonder this month brings. I am grateful for a husband who embraces it all as well, and who sweetly smiles at me across the dinner table as we realize – this could be our last Christmas of just the two of us. (Be still my heart!) I am grateful for the parents who let their children enjoy the magic of Christmas, and I am grateful for the guys who dress up like a big ol’ Santa Claus and return smiles to all the little ones who catch his glance… even to the 31 year old gals, tearing up in aisle 3.

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A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey


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  • So so so sweet. Weirdly, I cannot actually remember when I realized Santa Claus wasn’t really delivering my presents each year, but I do know that I wasn’t extremely surprised. I think it was more of a gradual realization for me, which I’m grateful for somehow because I think it must have softened the heartbreak slightly. :'( This time of year is so wonderful because we’re all so excited. xx

    • So glad you were eased into it more than I was! ha! (And I agree – the excitement most of us feel this time of year is the best!!)

  • ALL OF THE FEELINGS! You would think that the magic of Christmas would wear off as you get older, but I’m with you in that I’ve found the opposite to be true. Each year just feels more and more magical. And I one-hundred percent believe that Jesus loves to watch us take such great delight in our Christmas traditions! xo

    • It’s pretty cool that a time that always seems to FLY by can still be so magical, you know? We all tend to savor every single moment and second, even though it happens each year! I love it!

  • Oh yes, I love the magic of this time of year!! I also agree with you about the color green. It’s become my favorite color over the past year and I would have never thought about it years ago. Have a great week!

    • I’ll be thinking of other ways I can incorporate green into our rooms – I’m going to miss it after Christmas!

  • This was the most beautiful post. I think I was in 5th grade before I quit thinking there was a santa. My sister – yeah she still believes and she’s 32.
    I am not bug on any commercial holiday, however my heart has been filled with a little more joy this season. 🙂

    • Love that your sister still believes 😉 Santa may bring some “commercialness” so I’m glad the reason is truly Jesus! XO!

  • Yes, yes, yes. I mean, I tear up at people’s Christmas moments on Hallmark! Don’t even get my started on real life Christmas joy… I just love it! This was the first year I named the tree, but ours is Edward. I said it the moment I picked him out 🙂 We got ours this weekend, too!

    • haha! I do too, girl! AND- the Johnson & Johnson commercials are really getting me this year – whew! (Edward! ha!)

  • Just one more reason I adore you…you see the world so often through a child’s eyes…you see the good even thought underneath you know the “truth”. Merry Christmas Emily!!

    • This made me smile 🙂 Thank you for the kind words. Merry Christmas, Shelly!

  • so many great things in this post.
    I don’t remember when I realized he wasn’t real. I guess it wasn’t a traumatic thing in my life – or I always knew it was my mom haha not sure 😉
    I never thought this about the color green but you have such a great point!! xo

    • Fortunately my parents still found ways to make it fun.. they really brought me in on the secret so that I could help them in keeping Santa alive for my little brother 😉

  • I love this time of year so much too! Everybody just seems so much happier and there seems to be no limit to the amount of joy we can find in everything everyday. It’s beautiful.

  • Awww…Santa may not be real but his magic is! I believed in Santa until I was a teenager because I swear I saw him one time and my mom still won’t tell me the truth of who was in our living room! Enjoy the sparkle of this season 🙂

    • ha! This made me smile 🙂 I love that your mom still won’t tell you – sounds like something mine would do!

  • The simple joys you find in Christmas just makes me love you even more!

  • What a wonderfully written post 🙂 There really is something magical about this season!

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  • Elle

    I agree. I think God as a good Dad delights in those joyful moments around Christmastime. Beautifully written.. and yeah, I felt like I was having an identity crisis when I realized it was my uncle who was dressing up as Santa every year. haha!

    • Agreed, YES! (My dad said he was always afraid to dress up as Santa because he thought we’d recognize him. I can’t even imagine how traumatizing that would have been – ha!)

  • Thanks for reminding me of the magic of the season! I love this!

  • Oh my heart breaks for little first grade Emily…that’s way too young to burst the Santa bubble. Damn that Home Improvement and that little boy. I think though as adults it’s up to us to keep the magic alive and little glimpses like what you saw at Home Depot and the Christmas tree farm are perfect examples of the magic of the season.

  • First grade?!? OH NO…that’s so sad! I seriously love the magic of Christmas. Ethan, my stepson is on the fence about believing. I think he likes to hold on to the magic and miracles though…he said that Santa brings Christmas miracles and makes it all happen…and he’s right. I love Christmas because everything feels more magical, cozier, and I have so much spirit! Love this…

  • chall1018

    Great post, Emily! We do everything in our power to keep the ‘magic’ of Christmas alive for Mason. He is fully aware that the reason is Jesus, but he also delights in the magic and the wonder. There is nothing like seeing Christmas through a child’s eyes. And I am excited for you that you will soon live that, too!

  • What sweet post. I love this season too. I remember when I found out Santa wasn’t real in second grade. I was at a church function and the pastor preached against believing in Santa. My mom was so angry. The preacher was my uncle, my dad’s first cousin. Anyway, she tried to reassure me that Santa was still bringing presents. By third grade, I didn’t believe anymore. I always wondered why other kids got better Christmas than we did. I find more truth and love in celebrating Jesus as the reason for the season now.

    • What a way to find out, Mary! You were about the same age I was. My parents still did such a great job at helping me feel like I was still a part of the magic for my little brother and especially looking back on that now, I love that they did that.

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  • I totally identify with that feeling of crying in the aisle…there is just TOO MUCH SWEETNESS at this time of year to handle. I myself have been crying during a lot of the Toys R Us commercials, especially the one where the mom comes home from the military….done for.

    • SO much sweetness this time of year 🙂 I haven’t seen the Toys R Us commercial… I will have to look for it tonight, when I can cry by myself and won’t embarrass anyone. ha!