Legend has it that Albert Einstein wore the same outfit everyday, because it was one less thing he had to think about. If I am honest, the thought of uniforms for my kids has crossed my mind for the very same reason. I imagine just going to one store, choosing one outfit for each of the six kids and putting them all in one closet. This dream of simplicity will never happen; my children would start a coup and I would be ousted.
Why am I so weird? Because life is just too much to juggle! That’s why.
The Christmas season has me all in a tizzy. Want to hear the honest truth about me and Christmas? I am more focused on the traditions and delighting my children than being delighted by my Savior. There. I said it.
While focused on all the fuss, it is understandable that I become overwhelmed and distracted. It’s too much! There is decorating (I hate you Pinterest), baking, shopping, more shopping, and keeping up the whole Santa thing (Lord, please let this be the last year!) My”sparkly” friend, who will go unnamed, is praying for me right now. She has the gift of making everything cute, and has a holiday app on her phone so that everyday she can celebrate one of those funny holidays like National Bacon Day. I promise, Susy Sparkles, I have not turned into the Grinch.
You probably just nominated me for the Bah Humbug Award and I get that. I promise I’m not trying to be a Scrooge, I just struggle maintaining my focus on Jesus when I am desperately trying to deck the halls. Truth be known, I love,love, love giving gifts, especially surprising my kids. I have gone to great lengths to perpetuate the Santa tradition, including hiding all gifts in a neighbor’s basement, and making boot prints on the hearth. Perhaps that’s what throws me off. I have high expectations for myself to create magical Christmas morning moments under the tree every year. I let go of the pressure to beautifully decorate my home a while back because I just couldn’t manage.
One year, when my oldest son was about four, we were visiting my mom at Christmas time. She noticed that the baby Jesus from her Nativity was missing. Our son looked super guilty. My mother offered a quarter to anyone who could find Jesus because she knew my little guy’s obsession with coins. Sure enough, the Christ child showed appeared in the manger within moments.
I don’t want to lose Jesus.
Our family has grown, life is busier, and I’m running to catch up. Just started shopping fifteen days before Christmas! In the chaos of lists, shopping, lights, and parties, I lose baby Jesus. Like the uniform dream, I imagine gathering around our tree on Christmas morning in worship, giving each child a specially selected gift from us, while reminding them that Christ was the greatest gift of all. I imagine having time for our family to do more giving to those truly in need of some joy.
In my exhausted state of mind, I just want to yell, “Why can’t Jesus be enough this year?!”
Yes, I know. He’s the reason we do all of this, right? Every year, on Christmas Eve, after the gifts are bought and the parties are over I stand with my children in the service at church and I sigh really big. My spirit gets quiet, and by the light of the candles, and the sound of someone singing, “O Holy Night”, I finally come into a moment of worship and focus my heart on Christ.
Somehow, in the next two weeks before Christmas, I want to have more holy nights. I don’t want to walk into that Christmas Eve service exhausted and glad it’s almost over. I don’t know what that will look like for me, but I know it won’t happen on accident. I must choose not to let the busyness crowd Him out.
If you were looking for encouragement today, I might have disappointed you. This just seemed the best place to process what’s in my heart. Maybe you need to find Jesus with me.
New International Version (NIV)
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.