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.