Living Christmas in the Now

Saturday night, as my husband Rick and I walked through Target for a box of ornaments, we passed the toy section. “Hang on,” he said. “Let me look for a minute.” As he studied the tiny cars, I had a feeling he was reminiscing. Our children are grown. “Remember when Jamie and Katie were little and you gave them your Matchbox collection?”

He nodded.

“Remember all the Christmas Eves you’ve spent putting toys together?”


“Here’s Thomas the Train,” I said. “Remember how Thomas loved this stuff?”

At home that night, I dug through boxes of pictures feeling older. Pondering the past.

Jamie and Katie, Christmas 1988.

 Baby Thomas’s first Christmas, 1991.

Now it was just the two of us. Middle-aged people.

I found Rick hanging lights on the tree and showed him the long-ago photos. He smiled and kept working.

Tying gold strings on each new ornament I thought about how fast life goes.

How much I’d missed by hurrying

“I’ll help you,” he said, after he finished the lights.

Decorating together, both of us wearing reading glasses, no little children around, I told my fingers to move very s-l-o-w-l-y.

I let my eyes linger on each ornament and really see the glimmering colors.

And then the most remarkable thing happened.

The sweetest prayers rose in my heart.

A prayer of Thanksgiving. Prayers for our children. My husband. Our whole family.

I prayed for my blog readers–some by name–for the precious requests you’ve shared.

Surrendering to the beauty of the moment, it seemed God’s Glory descended into our den.

Contentment came.

I welcomed it.

Living Christmas (and life) in the now, there’s no need to look backward or forward.




  1. What is it about Christmas that makes us reminisce? You and I are about the same age, and I, too, have been wondering why I didn’t savor the everyday moments more. You think, at the time, it was because they were, well, everyday? Now, I see how precious they truly were. I vowed to begin to just breathe and enjoy today, too, because years from now, today might not seem so everyday ordinary after all. 🙂 Blessings to you and yours, sweet Julie.

    • Thank you, Marie~ You’re so right. They seemed everyday. But there’s beauty in the everyday–the tiniest things I’ve overlooked.

      Glad we’re FINALLY figuring it out. xoxoxoxoxo

  2. Mike says:

    Beautiful, perceptive and warm.

  3. Nostalgia … I walk around every Christmas in a bubble of nostalgia. I want to jump up and down and encourage young mother’s to stop and just enjoy.
    But there are things to enjoy here too aren’t there? Middle age has it’s moments of peaceful bliss. The only way to be truly happy is to want everything you have right now in this moment.
    I loved this post Julie

    • Robin, so many of my nostalgic moments include you and your children. I’ll think….remember when we pushed the girls in strollers together? Remember when we took peanut butter sandwiches for lunch at the mall? Remember when we smocked those dresses?

      I love you. Even in our reading glasses. 🙂

  4. marilyn says:

    Thank you.

  5. Hey there,
    Composed a Taylor’s Tips Newsletter last week (that’s all set to go out today) and then I read your beautiful post. Almost feels like I “stole” your idea, but I didn’t. It’s a bit different, but kinda the same. Sort of like you and me. A bit different (you have red hair I have dyed blonde, you have…I have…) uhm, I can’t think of anything else that’s different! We are very much the same. We’re actually two peas in a pod and I love that about us.
    Love you, and thanks for sharing Rick with us.

    • Love you too, B.J./alternate Julie. Loved yoiur newsletter too. We ARE both so much alike. Smiling right now, looking forward to talking to you later today!

  6. Great story … a little like one of mine in the special Christmas edition of “Angels on Earth” just published. We all need to slow down and enjoy the season!

  7. I am slowly by slowly learning to “surrender to the beauty of the moment.” Thank you for the validation I needed of His whispers to me this morning.

    • You’re right, Vonda. It is a slow process. A choice. A daily choice. Surrendering to the beauty of the moment. Of each moment.

      Thanks for letting me know you understand~means so much!

  8. I love this time of year, it’s so special to think back and focus on memories of times when the kids were young…and when we were young! We still have all Mike’s old matchbox cars, and all his old baseball cards. And his great grandfather’s train set still circles under our tree!

    • Oh, yeah, Meggy. We have a train set around our den….used to put it around the tree. I think Rick sometimes wishes he still had all his old Matchbox cars. Once he gave them to our girls, well, they sort of disappeared.


  9. Georgia says:

    Julie: I sit here looking at your picture of you and your husband and say “thank you” for staying together. You both are so blessed to have one another. Broken families cause alot of heartache and I am so glad you two have been spared that pain. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts. 🙂

    • Wow, Georgia. Thank you. It means more than you know. I’m pausing right now to thank Him.

      Sweet blessings to you for taking time to remind me.

  10. ahhhhh — Matchbox cars…
    Did you know that’s how the Tooth Fairy arrives at our house? And then, right after she picks up the tooth, the family dog scares her so badly she leaves without her car…
    (Soooooooo, you wanna guess how many little cars we have? Math is simple: multiply 3 boys by teeth lost…) 🙂
    Our middle son was our biggest Thomas fan. He’d watch those DVD’s (& VHS!) like nothing else when he was 3 & 4. He usually carried around an engine in each hand. For some reason his favorite was James.
    Thanks for the reminisce!

    • I love it, Melody!!! The tooth fairy and Matchbox Cars. Probably all three of mine would have loved that idea.

      Don’t you just love Thomas the Train? Still takes me back. Hmmmm. James. Can’t remember who that was. I’ll have to ask Thomas. Love it when secondary characters get to play starring roles in our hearts.

      Thank you. And I’m telling you, your Key Lime dessert still makes my mouth water when I think about it.

  11. Ah….the other evening was similar in our household. Me, Allen and little Emmie Sweetpea. We hung each ornament, remembering.

    • I’m laughing out loud, Kellie.

      It was more than enough, wasn’t it. Little Emmie Sweetpea. Can’t help but smile when I type her precious name.

  12. I remember seeing my parents and grandparents grow less and less interested or excited about decorating for Christmas, the older they became. I always thought — what a shame. Now I’m in that middle age you mentioned and find myself moving in the same direction. I think just because sometimes you take a beating from life and it takes away some of your spirit. And also, there’s something a little more special when there are little kids around. You see such innocence and such excitement in their little eyes, it is catchy! What a thrill and how it warms the heart to watch your children enjoying the season. Now of course there are grandchildren, which restores some of that, but it is not quite the same as when that lovely childhood spirit filled your own home every day. I think maybe that’s why we reminisce. We’re trying to recapture that spirit. I’m thankful for the memories I have to treasure and for those we still make today. Thanks for sharing your heart and your pictures, capturing those moments 🙂

    God bless!


    • Julie, what a beautiful response. You’re so right. Every year now, (for the past 3 or 4) my mother talks about not putting up her tree. So far, she hasn’t stopped.

      And we are trying to recapture that long-ago spirit!! I guess now, it’s there, maybe just a touch of bittersweet too.

      Hugs to you from Georgia this morning.

  13. Sharon Richter says:

    Love this, Julie! Bringing back alot of memories….love to all, Sharon

  14. Oh, this brings back so many wonderful memories! Matchbox cars and the tree on Christmas morning. And I loved the picture of you and Rick decorating! Thanks for sharing, sweet friend!

    • Thank you, Carla. So much nostalgia here, isn’t there! I thought you might appreciate this one.

      Love you, my friend!!

  15. wonderful isshes altogether, you simply won a new reader.
    What would you suggest about your put up that you simply made a few days in the past?
    Any certain?

  16. It really inspired !! Kudos bro !

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