We’re three days into the month of November. The leaves have almost completely left the trees they belonged to for the past three seasons, the temperatures are slowly dropping, and Christmas stuff is on sale in the stores. And, as much as I hate to admit this – I’m one of those people who is 90% ready for Christmas, including the gift wrapping by September.
I get excited. It’s never too soon to start playing Christmas music. I’m already trying to find a friend to go to Frankenmuth and walk the snowy streets, watching the horse drawn sleighs go by, with those magnificent sleigh bells ringing beautifully with each of the horses’ steps. It’s a wonderful time of year and change of seasons.
But I’m also no stranger to the sadness these holidays can bring for so many people – including myself. And that’s why I’m happy for kadiddlehoppers. Yes, kadiddlehoppers.
So, what’s a kididdlehopper, you ask?
Here. Let’s take a little look back in time, and I’ll explain…
It was Christmas 1994. One year prior I’d become the divorced Mom of two boys, and my sons were now ages 1 and 3. I worked three days a week waitressing while attending school during the week. (Thank God for my family). The future didn’t seem like it was going to look anything like I’d dreamed of as a girl growing up – the husband, kids, big house with fireplace and yard kind of dream. We were living in a cute little mobile home. It was definitely not the home I’d always dreamed of – but it was perfect, actually – just right for the three of us. I just didn’t realize it at the time.
I’d spent all of my not-so-extra, extra money, on making sure Rory and Ian had a fun Christmas, and that their eyes would sparkle widely with excitement when they ran out to see what was under the Christmas tree. My Dad had come over extra early, making sure not to miss Rory’s initial excitement as he made his way into the living room with uncontainable excitement. Ian was only 1 at the time, so the only thing he was really excited about was breakfast. When things settled a little bit, we’d make pancakes. My Dad always loved coming over for my pancakes. And we loved having him. It was a bonus that he could assemble all of the toys that needed assembling!
That initial year, having “just enough” to provide “just enough” was the first year that I was reminded of all that I seemingly didn’t have. And while I’m not usually one to compare myself to others in terms of “stuff,” this time of year has remained hard, since that initial one that was so different than what I’d dreamed of growing up. Every TV commercial reminds me I’m divorced, and will wake up alone on Christmas morning. Dad’s gone, and won’t be over for my pancakes. It won’t really matter what time I wake up because I live alone, so I usually volunteer to work that day making it possible for those with kids to be there and enjoy their own kadiddlehoppers. (I’m getting there – I promise!) My condominium is too small for a crowd (though I’ve been known to pull off one or two), so there’s no holiday meals or parties anticipated here. The Christmas tree remains in the basement because I transport all of my gifts to their recipients. If I’m not careful, all of my thoughts can continue to eventually take me to that “I’m alone” place…
So as the holidays approach faster and faster, I remind myself to stay intentional about recalling all of my kadiddlehoppers.
Back to that early morning in the old mobile home when Rory was 3, and Ian 1.
I got up and unlocked the front door, and making sure not to make any noise, I leaned way over the gifts piled high under the small Christmas tree, and I plugged in all of the Christmas lights. Then, Dad and I sat on the couch and waited. We waited for the sound of Rory’s little piggies hitting the floor, and running into the living room – Ian soon to follow (for breakfast).
And then it happened!
Rory came walking out into the living room, his already big beautiful eyes, even so much bigger with unbelief over what looked like magic under the tree. He just stopped in his tracks, as if unable to move. Dad and I watched as he put his hands up on the top of his head in disbelief, a gigantic ear-to-ear smile on his face, and he yelled, “HOLY KADIDDLEHOPPERS!” Dad and I nearly laughed ourselves off of the couch. Where did he come up with such a word? (Truth be told, it was likely from Dad himself). But Rory moved around touching all of the presents under that little sparkly tree, and could not get any other words out of his mouth except, “HOLY KADIDDLEHOPPERS!” which he repeated over, and over, and over before he even opened one gift. He just couldn’t believe what he saw. And this Christmas my family will laugh about that for the 28th year in a row.
So if you haven’t guessed already, a kadiddlehopper is a blessing that cannot be defined by any words currently known to man, things that simply take your breath away. And if you’re like me, it is CRUCIAL, all year long, but definitely and especially at this particular time of year, to remind yourself of your kadiddlehoppers.
Here’s a few of mine – my sons and their wives, my three precious grandchildren, my cozy little condominium whose grass gets cut (by someone else), and snow shoveled (by someone else), a family that has grown and grown with marriages, Ian and Hayley coming home for Christmas, and I live in the greatest country on earth. The list goes on – and so does yours.
But! Do you know what the greatest of all Kadiddlehoppers is? The actual HOLY Kadiddlehopper? The Kadiddlehopper of all Kadiddlehoppers? The one we must not ever forget? The one to whom the entire holiday season points?
Jesus left heaven and came to earth to be born of a virgin, in a filthy dirty manger on a cold night, surrounded by farm animals. He grew up and lived a sinless life in this world, feeling every ache and pain you and I feel, and then some! He felt hunger, pain, sadness, and rejection, and so much more, all for you and me. And not just that – He took on all of your sins and mine, and died a horrible death on the Cross that you and I both deserve. He did all of that so that you and I wouldn’t ever have to, just so that we could be completely reconciled to the Father. Thank God, we don’t get what our sins deserve, but instead, we get the righteousness of Christ (when we put our faith in Him). That’s what CHRISTmas is all about!
So by all means, count your kadiddlehoppers, but do NOT lose sight of the real reason for this entire season – JESUS! The best and the most HOLY Kadiddlehopper EVER! And by all means, put your faith in Him alone!
Happy HOLY Season, everyone!
I’m including a link to a great article on how to share the Christmas story with your children and grandchildren.