It’s that time of year where our schedules are overflowing and we are running around with the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Making gift lists, finishing up with decorating just in time to race to the kids’ schools for their Christmas programs, making food for my husband’s work luncheon, trying to find a spare hour or two to wrap gifts. I’m out of breath just thinking about everything that I must do. The list can go on and on. Each year, I find that I’m busier between Thanksgiving and Christmas than I was during the previous year. And I am always in a last-minute panic wondering whether or not I am ready. Did each child get about the same amount of presents? Did I remember Great Grandmother? I can’t forget her. (I actually did forget her one year).
On top of my yearly Christmas sprint of trying to make each year more memorable for my family than the year before, I am usually swamped with customer orders of cookies, cupcakes and cakes. However, last year, I realized that I was making a terrible mistake with my time management. More importantly, I was focusing on the wrong things. In my heart, I meant well. I wanted Christmas to be special for everyone. My family, my friends, my customers…everyone. But trying to please everyone also meant that I was stressed out which is never a pretty sight. lol.
My kids wanted to decorate gingerbread houses WITH ME. Not near me, but WITH me. Last year, I worked in the kitchen on customers’ cookies while they decorated gingerbread houses. They had fun, but let’s face it, I missed a special moment that I cannot have back. I was mad that I’d missed out on something so fun with my kids. They, all four of them, are growing so fast and I have not figured out how to make the clock stop. So this year, I took the month of December off from cakes and the business side. We decorated gingerbread houses together as a family. I’d show you pictures of the houses, but the kids devoured them within minutes of putting them together. I don’t think the royal icing had even crusted over before they started tearing the walls down on the houses. But I didn’t care. We laughed as the dragees went rolling across the kitchen floor, trying to get away from little fingers that chased after them. I attended school functions without having my mind wander off with thoughts of what I needed to work on as soon as I returned home.
There’s something so sweet about watching my kids use their minds and their hands to create. In keeping with their creativity, I completely “let go” of our tree. Meaning, I didn’t move a single decoration from where it was originally placed. See, each year, we cut down our Christmas tree and we pull out the box of ornaments. These ornaments are not like any other ornaments. Most of our ornaments were made by our four children over the years and I have saved as many as I possibly could. My handsome husband and I sit on the couch with the box of ornaments, a fire in the fireplace and Christmas music in the background as we watch our kids. They each grab an ornament that they like or created and hang it on the tree. For years, I would move the hand-made ornaments around after the kids went to sleep to ensure that they were dispersed evenly. Come on, I know I’m preaching to the choir. I’m not the only control freak when it comes to the Christmas decorations. But this year was different, I decided not to move a single thing on the tree because I realized through “Mama eyes” that it was beautiful and perfect just the way they decorated it. To change anything just seemed wrong.
More importantly this year, I realized that my focus over the years was on getting things done, being organized or trying to make Christmas perfect for everyone through gifts, functions, parties, food, or decorating. My focus was on the wrong things. My focus should’ve been on WHY we celebrate Christmas and more importantly, WHO we celebrate. It’s not about the presents, it’s not about decorating the house, it’s not about making my kids and my husband happy (although I do my best to make sure they are all feeling happy and loved). It’s about Jesus and the honor of being able to celebrate His birthday. Many babies have grown up to be kings, but only one King came down to be a baby. A baby who never sinned, a baby who would grow to be a man and pay the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem and laid in a feeding trough. Why a feeding trough? That’s what the animals used to eat and drink when they were hungry or thirsty. Did you know the literal meaning of Bethlehem? “House of Bread”. “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.'” John 6:35 When we are hungry/thirsty, when we feel like all hope is lost and when we are unsatisfied, the only real way to fill that void is to rely on Jesus.
I pray that your Christmas season is filled with love, laughter and most of all, Jesus.