Then as December actually arrived I felt less than enthusiastic about the entire holiday. Can I admit that I felt a bit like the Grinch or Scrooge? All I could think about was all the things I needed to check off my list. There was just so much to accomplish for December. The list kept growing and I felt the stress mounting. My plan to enjoy Christmas, make memories, and be crafty evaporated. My vision shifted and all I could think about was how I would possibly survive the holidays. Just get through it. Just get through it. That was my mantra.
During my nightly devotions I read a verse in Matthew. “But see first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The devotion reading was about priorities. The first line began, “Do not be weighed down by the clutter in your life: lots of little chores to do sometime…” Ohh, that’s what my December had become. I had been aiming for a Pinterest-perfect holiday and it was crushing my Christmas spirit. All those little things on my list had weighed me down and stolen the joy right out of my holiday.
That’s when I readjusted my priorities. My kids don’t care if they complete a dozen little crafty projects. Let’s be honest, those projects will only be thrown away after the holiday season. My kids don’t care if we bake a new kind of cookie each day. They’ll be tired of being bossed around the kitchen and we all know who will end up eating all the cookies – me – and I certainly don’t need them. My kids don’t need a complicated advent calendar with activities that must be completed each day. They might simply enjoy relaxed play time or a day without a to-do list. My kids don’t need a million new gifts. They have so much. My kids don’t need dozens of Christmas traditions. The traditions will become obligations and the meaning of Christmas will be pushed aside. My kids need Jesus and a deeper understanding of His heart, His love, His peace, and His joy.
I’ve thrown out my list. I got rid of all the craft project ideas, put away the advent calendar, chose only one kind of cookie to make, and pared down my gift list to one per child. I’ve lessened my expectations of myself and of them.
I nearly forgot that my actions and my attitudes point them to Christ. I am the model of Jesus’ love to them right now. They’re watching me – seeing how I act and react. They’re learning about Jesus as they move through each day and following in my footsteps. If my joy and wonder of the blessing of Christ’s birth has diminished because I’m focused on the activities, traditions, baking, get togethers, presents, and crafts, they’ll miss the Christ of Christmas. And without Jesus, all the trappings of the holiday mean nothing.