Because Life can only be lived a moment at a time.

Christmas, Moment by Moment

My Christmas season is always in pieces---not the seamless canvas portrayed in magazines, but a picture created by scores of random fragments coming together.

A stained glass Christmas.

Each Thanksgiving, as I spoon leftovers into plastic containers and look for new ways to recycle turkey, I vow that this year I'll get Christmas right. I won't let my priorities get so out of line that I'm running around like an elf on amphetamines. I won't experience a moment of horror when I realize Christmas is only a week away and I haven't written my Christmas letter (Yes, I do write one each year and I'm not ashamed to admit it) and I haven't baked a single cookie.

Yep, that's what I always say. And I have yet to succeed.

As Christmas Day 2015 draws to a close I realize while I may not "do" Christmas perfectly I am often blessed with perfect moments:

Shopping in Costco a week before Christmas, cart-to-cart with fellow last-minute pilgrims, listening to carols echoing through the warehouse, and feeling good cheer settling over us all, from the shoppers to the sample ladies. "Thank you," "Excuse me," and "Merry Christmas" bounce from soul to soul.

Listening to "I'll Be Home for Christmas" on the radio as I run Christmas Eve errands and
remembering how the song made me sad during Mr. Pettit's military service---we made our home wherever we were currently assigned, but we also missed our extended family. As I make my trek to Walmart I think about both sons, their wives and our granddaughter spending the holiday at our home and I'm overwhelmed with the sweet realization that extended family has come to us.

Watching children at a Christmas light show; they jump up and down as if springs are attached to their soles and their shrieks of delight ping back and forth in the crowd, causing even grownups to smile.

Holding Sweet Baby Girl before I put her to bed, swaying in the soft light of the guest room. Her head, damp from her bath, rests on my shoulder and my heart rests in her little hands.

My awareness of my blessings is sharpened by the fact that many of our friends and family have been touched by calamity this year. Indulge me as I quote the conclusion of the aforementioned Christmas letter (which I did mail before Christmas):

I try not to focus on why God didn't stop the bad things from happening. Instead I think about all the moments when He did intervene on the roads and in the emergency rooms and the surgical suites. Then my thoughts turn to the intervention, the reason we set aside every December 25 as holy.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
John 3:16-18 (The Message)

May all the colorful pieces of 2016 unite to give you a beautiful and blessed stained glass year.

Merry Christmas!

Wake Up Call

Staying Afloat