My church operates a daycare center, inside which our church office is located. As an office assistant, even though I’m tucked out of sight, I’m literally surrounded by children all day long.
There’s extra excitement in the air among the little ones these days. Every so often, we hear comments like, “When is it finally going to be Christmas?”
I don’t hear things like this from the parents, though—because guess who’s responsible for making Christmas so awesome? (It sure ain’t Santa Claus!)
As a parent, you’ve got things on your plate that your children have no ability to appreciate at this point in their lives
You have to go to work and pay the bills and figure out how and when and where to purchase all those brightly-wrapped gifts that will end up under the tree.
You have to schedule family events and activities and run the shuttle to get everyone there. You have to cook and bake treats to share.
And the list goes on.
No wonder you don’t light up in quite the same way as my grandkids do when you think of Christmas! (That’s Lainey in the picture, almost three.)
But what if you could return to that happy anticipation you felt as a child at Christmastime?
What if you could rekindle the sense of wonder and joy that this season is supposed to bring—not just to kids, but to all of us?
I don’t just mean getting jacked up about what might be sitting under the tree for you this year, the way children usually do.
No, the gifts I hope you unwrap and enjoy are all around you if you only have the eyes to see.
Jesus said, “Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is also full of light….(Luke 11:34)”
Take a moment to look into a mirror. Do your eyes shine from the inside out, or do they look shadowed with care?
This time of year, it’s easy for parents to get weighed down with concerns about finances, challenges with blended or extended family, and plain old busyness.
Jesus said this about that,
“…don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing…Don’t strive for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you.” –Luke 12;22-31
Hmm…maybe we don’t need to stress out about Christmas?
Let me take a weight off you—seeking God’s kingdom is not a complicated, difficult thing. It’s delightfully simple and refreshing.
Begin by shifting your thinking from, “What do I have to get done today?” to “What gifts am I thankful for today?”
Maybe it’s a smile from a stranger, or the sweet sound of your child singing, or the scent of cinnamon. Maybe it’s a brilliant sunset, or a delicate leaf glittering with frost, or the cheerful presence of a chickadee.
May I make a suggestion?
Tonight after the kids are in bed, light some candles. Gaze out at the stars or watch the snow drift to earth.
Breathe deep and clear your mind of the “gotta-do” clutter. Reflecting on the gifts you’ve received today, whisper a prayer of thanks.
Remember, while you parent your children, your heavenly Father is parenting you.
He offers you hope, wonder and joy—at Christmas, and all year long.
(Photo credit: Jameson Maynes)