“It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!” -The Grinch
Christmas. I love everything about it. The festive decorating, baking, the lights, elf on the shelf, wrapping presents, Christmas carols, gingerbread houses, trimming the tree. I love it so much that every year I overwhelm myself with activities, events, and traditions because I want my children to “experience the magic” of Christmas.
I know I am not alone here when I say I get carried away in all the Christmas craziness. Admittedly, somedays I lose sight of the real reason we celebrate Christmas- the birth of Jesus. I fill my calendar with crafts and baking, gingerbread house creating, parades, concerts, Santa visits and more to make each year full of memories for my children, all the while stressing myself to the max.
So here I was on a Saturday lugging my three children by myself to lunch with Santa at the firehouse. We’d already seen Santa last weekend with his reindeer because Hello? MAGICAL! There, I had traumatized my toddler because, he will want to see a picture of himself with Santa one day! I mean, doesn’t every child have a screaming Santa picture? (totally kidding, don’t judge). But back to the firehouse, another Christmas “to-do” I added to the list because fire trucks, hot chocolate and Santa sounds fun, right?
If there is one thing I have learned about parenting, is that nothing ever goes as planned. And sometimes these activities sound much better in my head. We arrived and waited in the long line to see Santa. Again. It was cold, crowded and very loud. My littlest refused to walk and DID NOT want to see Santa. He was hungry, crabby, and tired. The best combination. My girls were indifferent about the whole thing. And I began to question, what am I even doing here, honestly?
There we were standing in this crowded room of Christmas mayhem, stressed and crabby, making “magical Christmas memories,” (insert sarcasm here) when my four year old pulled at my jacket. I bent down while still holding my crying toddler, and she quietly said, “Mom, this isn’t what Christmas is about. You know, Santa. It is about Baby Jesus’s birthday. He was born on Christmas.”
The weight of her words nearly knocked me over. Truth spoken from a four year old. I squeezed her hand and smiled. Both humbled and proud. Humbled that it took words from a four year old to remind me that this Christmas fluff doesn’t matter. And proud that she KNOWS the true meaning of Christmas. She IS listening to me. “Oh, sweetie,” I said, “that is so true! Thank you for reminding me of that.” Thank you, Jesus, I prayed, for this moment and for the words from my precious one.
If you are paying attention, your children can teach you more than you ever imagined. I learned a valuable lesson that day. One I am proud to say came from my daughter. A truth I preach to my children, but apparently don’t always practice. That none of this stuff really matters. The toys, the events, the elf on the shelf, the Santas. They hold zero eternal value. But Jesus does. He came for the world to save you and me. And that, THAT. is what I need to focus my eyes on. That one night in Bethlehem, the Savior was born, and He would change eternity. The King of all Kings brought hope by coming into the world in the simplest of ways, in a stable, born amongst the animals. So for now, all the other trimmings and trappings, the ribbons and wrapping can wait; for I’m basking in the glory of the birth of God’s perfect son.
P.S. If you are reading this and have never heard about the birth of Jesus or have no idea about his Great Love for you, I encourage you to read Luke chapter 2 in The Bible. And then let’s meet for coffee to discuss.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11