It's Christmas time again! It seems like that can't possibly be true, but it is. This year after hearing my two year old daughter say "It's Christmas time!....Where's my present?" I've been determined to curb their thinking and make this Christmas about Jesus. However, I really struggle with this myself because like most of the moms across America...I have ridiculously high expectations about the magic of Christmas with my family. So I want to curb my thinking as well because with my expectations set to Hallmark proportions, we are all doomed to failure.
I have to fight to remember that the joy of decorating the tree as a family will mean that IF my kids aren't fighting they will at least hang three ornaments on each other and dangle them from one flimsy branch and probably cry when it falls off. Making cookies together WILL mean making an enormous mess everywhere...and then in all of our hair for some reason. Reading our advent book together each night WILL mean that at least one of them can't stop obsessing about some random thing that has no spiritual meaning. Cutting down a Christmas tree as a family WILL mean that my arm wants to fall off from carrying our almost two year all across the farm. That's the reality.
It's SO easy to start to believe that if we take our kids to every magical Christmas activity and event, if we bake the most delicious goodies, if we buy them ALL THE EVERYTHING, then our kids will cherish wonderful Christmas memories and warmth forever. I don't think I'm alone in this. The temptation is so real!
So this year I'm laying down those expectations and with that probably taking away a little of that "Christmas Magic." We got each of our kids 3 gifts. THREE! (This is unprecedented in our home and so hard for me not to give in and buy them dime store junk at the last moment just so they will have a tree that is exploding with gifts.) Their stocking stuffers will be 90% practical, like tooth brushes and socks. And you know what? I think they will still love it. And I'll model for them that Christmas isn't about gifts. I'll show them that my joy as their momma won't depend on our gift exchange. I'll show them that celebrating the arrival of our Savior is the most fun party and greatest gift. We will take our kids to get a gift for a less fortunate child to show them that celebrating Jesus is so much more fun when we invite others to experience his love through generosity. I'll believe with my whole heart this Christmas that Jesus is better than any moment or magic or memory.
Won't you join me? Won't you lay down just ONE too-high Christmas expectation? If you'll join me in this, leave your expectation in the comment box and consider it gone! Let's share the silly things we idolize as moms and help each other focus on the right things this year.
With family and friends that are like family, those cherished moments will still show themselves, have no fear.
PS. I love Christmas and gifts and think they are swell. This isn't one of those posts about the consumerism of Christmas or some angry thing like that. Just to be clear ;)