|Our First Christmas with 5!|
Our five kids are now stairsteps from 5 to 13, hitting every odd age in between. This year when it was time to set-up the tree and decorate the house it hit me that our oldest son has 4 Christmases left at home, Lord willing. Friends, that put things in perspective and was a bit of a wake-up call.
|Oh the Joy of Christmas Pictures|
You see I'm a Mom, who's done more surviving the Christmas season over the last 12 years than enjoying. I haven't been a full-fledged Grinch, but at times I've rolled out and frosted cookies with the J Crew so I could make a check on my list instead of a memory in my heart. There have been moments I've focused on the chaos and craziness instead of the joy and love. I've been caught up in the shopping and presents when all that really matters is celebrating the greatest GIFT and being present with those I love. I've given into the pressure of perfection and been worried about what others think.
Over the last two weeks, I've been trying and praying for a different and better approach. And with 2 weeks to go, I have to say God is answering. I've set my list aside and enjoyed moments with my little boys who won't be little for long. I've treasured time shopping with them looking for the "perfect" gift..one I would often never predict. God's granted me patience and provided plenty of opportunities to practice. I've let go of a tradition and embraced less stress. I've surrendered my expectations and embraced a season that will never return.
I still don't do it perfectly, it helps that we're past the toddler years and we still have two weeks to go, but I'm thankful for a different start to this December. If your's doesn't look like you imagined when you dreamt of Christmas as a Mom, can I encourage you to think a bit differently?
Stop for a minute and think about your expectations. Are they realistic? Where do they come from? Will meeting this expectation bring joy and peace? How do these expectations impact the ones you love?
These questions help put things in perspective, but a critical piece to this puzzle is to look at the big picture. We know Jesus is the reason for the season, so it might be helpful to the think about the first Christmas ever celebrated.
We find this story in Luke 2...Joseph and Mary traveling by donkey at 9 months pregnant, there was no room in the end and the baby, the Savior of the world, was born in a stable. Most of us have heard this story for years, we can tell it forwards and backwards, but have we ever imagined what it was really like? Mom, put yourself in Mary's shoes.
Her "Christmas" was most likely not what she expected. It was probably full of chaos and craziness. Now to that we can relate!
Let's look a little closer at her story - in verse 19 we read, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." Everyone was impacted by the events of the first Christmas...shepherds were amazed and spread the news. Kings came and gave gifts. It didn't look like the world expected, but yet it was just what God had planned.
Friends, the Christmas story...the good news the angels spoke of in verse 11, "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord," changed eternity. Jesus, that baby who was born to die still lives today. His Spirit working in and through you, and me, can still change the world. He can change our expectations and reactions, which will then impact others observations and impressions. Our shared joy and witnessed peace in a time that is crazy and chaotic may be just what God uses to draw another to Christ and allows them to experience the only gift that really matters!
So Mom, this Christmas can I encourage to take your mind off the list and set your eyes on Christ. May I challenge you to let go of your expectations and embrace God's plan and life's reality. Can I persuade you to treasure the time, enjoy the moments and focus on the people...especially the little ones who call you "Mom" and no matter how long their wish list is want your presence more than any present!
The other day a friend who's a step ahead on this motherhood journey encouraged me to ENJOY this time because one day I'd miss it. Mom, my baby is only 5, but some of the Christmas fun is already behind us and I do miss it. Chances are none of my kids will ever knock the tree over again or get tangled in lights, but I'm thankful for the memories and reminded that we can make more!
The book of James tells us life is a vapor and it's true - our kids do grow quickly. I think we all know this, but every once in awhile it's good to be reminded. This Christmas I pray you can push pause, reevaluate priorities and be able to enjoy the moments!
This song ties right in...though it may bring tears, I hope it also brings memories and motivation to make more! Merry Christmas Mom, may it be your most wonderful time of the year!!
Dear Heavenly Father, as Christmas draws near I ask You to set my eyes on Jesus...the reason for the season. May your grace sustain me for all the season brings. Help me let go of unrealistic expectations and enjoy the moments. May I share your love and shine your light. May I remember somethings don't matter and focus on the people who do. May I be more concerned with sharing your story than fulfilling my plans. May I give up control and praise You the One who has it all under control. Instead of being frustrated by the chaos or craziness may I be overwhelmed with the joy children experience and you bring. This Christmas help me keep things in balance, make time to spend with You and enjoy the ones I love. Thank you for the gift you gave that first Christmas day...help me receive the love, joy and peace you offer and then share the gift with others. This Christmas may others be pointed to you through me, starting with the ones who call me "Mom." In Jesus' name I pray, Amen