Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Trying to Breathe

It's happening.

Despite doing my best to keep on top of all that comes with the Christmas season and all that we've turned it into, I'm gasping for air.

I don't yet feel like there's no time (I think I've got another couple weeks before that feeling slides in), but it's more that everything's happening at once. In a family of 5 children, 3 of which are homeschooling, there's a general, everyday sense of keeping those juggling balls in the air, but adding in the extra shopping, the extra cooking, the extra self-imposed craft deadlines (how's that for a joykill?), the parties and events, the decorating, and the determination to do fun things with the kids rather than sidelining them for my whirling-dervish routine, has steadily been working at edging out the whole purpose of why we do this.

And why do we do this? Not the "Jesus is the Reason for the Season"- this, but the crazy-this? Is Jesus the reason I make myself crazy with the to-do list? Not really. He never asked for all this, never suggested that the calendar overflow along with the cup. I think I do it because I like it. I like seeing people, cooking, making things for myself and others, and trying to make this time of year special. But I'm finding that when it's all about me, what I'd like to accomplish and do, then it's no longer about Jesus. And, I have to face it; I'm not a worthy substitute.

So, am I going to stop the world and get off for a while? I don't think so. After all, I really do enjoy a lot of what I'm doing. But I'm going to be more selective, weighing the worth of my investments to their eventual payoff. Part of me wants my kids to say when they are grown, "Christmas, growing up, was really fun and full of excitement", but if that's all they say, then I've essentially humanized the holiday and lost its wonder and power. What I'd love to hear is, "Part of the reason I love Christmas now is because my parents showed me the joy of Jesus". If I'm not careful, what they'll really say is, "My mom made Christmas an exercise in chaos and the need for anger management because of overestimating her abilities and underestimating the need for peace." Who wants that?

I want to see Jesus this Christmas. I want to look expectantly to Christmas morning, not for stuff under the tree, but for the baby who came to save me from all the nonsense I would attach to His birthday, and so much more. I want my kids to see Jesus, too – to find Him more wonderful than the tree and the lights and the gifts. So everything I do to make this time special must point to Him, since He really is the reason for this season. I'm confident He'll fill my lungs with breath and my heart with the love I need for this task.


Danielle said...

Amen! I know that feeling well. This has been what I've wanted this holiday season as well. I love all of it, but what can I cut out so I can enjoy it and remember the reason why we celebrate, anyway? Some things I've done this year:

*We're doing Jesse Tree readings from Ann Voskamp to prepare all December long. Simplified it to just the scripture reading and then we hang the ornament on the branches every night.

*I've simplified my baking . . . a lot. Just kiss cookies, sugar cookies, and biscotti. We like to give these as gifts too, so I'll simply make a bit more of each recipe. I used to make a lot more, but the truth is nobody really cares. Josh doesn't really like or eat any of it. I don't need it. So as long as we have some for the kids to enjoy and give away, we're good!

*Simplified gift giving. This year we had family photos done so I'm simply giving a framed picture to extended family members. I'd love to give more, but that's it for this year.

*Saying no. I'm saying no to every unnecessary activity. No needless "running." We hope to go to the live nativity and Beachmont because I think that will help the kids in their understanding. We will go to Christmas Eve services. All of this reinforces WHO we're celebrating.

Liz said...

Oh how strange that God is moving hearts on your side of the pond as it is with me and my dear friends this side. God moves in mysterious ways! I pray and hope you find a great balance, and that you all have such happy Jesus filled memories.

For us this year, our question is; If God was giving us permission to write the feast protocol for His Son's birthday, what would we include? What causes us to remember and celebrate? Ditch the rest.

Briana Almengor said...

Great post, Kelly. The comments are helpful as well. I love Liz's question to ponder.
I feel I've simplified as well over the years. Being a mom and a homeschooling one at that sort of forces me into it. Nevertheless, I still always fight a bit of guilt for all the things I don't do and say "no" to mostly b/c I want to give my kids everything. But, I realize that's short sighted of me. In their sinfulness, my children would never be satisfied if I tried to give them everything but Christ. And, if all I give them is Christ, I can trust God will give them fullness of joy in Him. That is my prayer for them and myself as we seek to run a tad counter cultural in our response to the season's madness. :)

Kathy said...

Oh, how I needed this post tonight! I need to repent of getting caught up in the busyness of meaningless things, pointing my kids to a finished to-do list rather than to the Saviour (and in a not-so-friendly way, at that). Thanks, Kelly!