I absolutely LOVE Christmas! And no, I’m not ashamed of that in the slightest.
Yup, I’m one of those people who starts playing Christmas music long before December, delights in choosing and wrapping gifts, thinks fairy lights are one of the most beautiful inventions ever, wears jingly-bell earrings and gets super excited about days spent with family and friends.
Best. Time. Of. The. Year.
But also, unfortunately, one of the most stressful. Getting everything done on time, finding the perfect presents (at the perfect price), figuring out how to fit one more bowl of salad into the already stuffed full fridge – and how to fix the ‘roast’ chicken which is burnt on the outside but still raw in the middle because it didn’t defrost in time and the oven is temperamental at best...
This year, I had one more thing to add to my to-do list – teaching my four-year-old the real meaning of Christmas. It’s not that I haven’t in the past, just that she’s old enough this year to actually start to grasp it. I want her to know that Christmas is about giving, not receiving. Sharing, not clutching. Jesus’ birthday and God’s love, not Santa’s sleigh.
I planned and planned and researched and planned some more. I put together advent calendars and meaningful activities and searched (unsuccessfully) for mini candy canes so I could teach her about it being a J for Jesus with the red being his blood and white being us washed clean ... and honestly? I stressed so much about getting that message across to her that I made myself sick. For a week. Which, of course, meant I got a week behind with the advent calendar and didn’t have the energy to do anything...
I realised as I sat in church one Sunday crying and feeling like an absolute failure as a Christian mother that I was so stressed about doing it all ‘right’ and teaching my daughter that I’d forgotten myself what Christmas was about.
Joy. Peace. Love. Family. Grace. Giving.
I had to stop trying and just be. Stop stressing and just show my daughter every day what Christmas was about. Teach her about gratitude as we decorated gingerbread together to give away. Let her help wrap presents for her cousins and make a special bracelet for her little sister. Watch Christmas lights together. Sit and enjoy time with family instead of rushing around making sure everything’s done. Answer her questions about what different carols she hears mean instead of brushing her aside because I’m trying to get the next activity planned.
Slow down. Relax. Show her what peace is. Let her see me giving, praying and sharing joy with others. Because, as God reminded me that day as I cried, she will learn far more from what she sees me do than anything I could ever tell her.
Even if it comes with a paper plate angel stamped with star shaped potato prints.
I challenge you this Christmas to slow down and remember why you’re celebrating. Take some time each day to not just get everything done but really focus on the One who made this season special.
And have a great Christmas J