As I drove to work tonight and I went by the different decorated houses I remembered why I love this time of year. I had forgotten in all the busyness.
For the last two weeks I coordinated a polyana between the cousins, franticly finished shopping (for about 25 people), sent out Chritsmas cards (after getting a portrait done of the kids), bought birthday presents for my Christmas eve birthday boy, encouraged (or forced) birthday boy to write out birthday party thank you cards, wrapped countless presents, made a chocolate birthday cake and fudge icing from scratch, sang happy birthday after lunch on Christmas eve, made pecan chocolate chip brownies from scratch (2 batches), bagged up ornaments and cards for the nieghbors, cleaned, traveled 45 minutes to sister-in -law's for a party at 7pm with tired children...made Christmas brunch--twice (the kids couldn't wait until company arrived at 11:30), made a pineapple souffle for Christmas dinner at my sister's . This in addition to what I do on a regular basis-- keep my kids close to me every day all week...work every weekend, nightshift... watch my baby niece every Sunday...try to fit in some kind of learning, food shop, be a mother, be a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister.....
During these rediculously busy last two weeks, as I was reminding my kids what this season is about, I completely missed it. After my sister's dinner party on Christmas day. My husband and I got the kids in bed and we just looked at eachother. Both of us were thinking the same thing: "We missed it".
I love Christmas. I love the lights. I love the decorations, I love a beautifully decorated tree. I love the traditions. I love cookies. I love the worship music that plays everywhere from the mall to the dentist's office. I love hearing my kids hum Christmas Caroles and singing out "heaven' and nature sing...!". I love Christmas pageants. I love imagining what Mary may have been thinking about giving birth to the Messiah...about who her son was going to be...who he already was. I love to think about those who came to worship Jesus, baby Yeshua, in the stable...the ones who had faith enough to follow a star and the ones who didn't care how crazy it sounded that angels told them to look for a boy sleeping in a manger. I love focusing on the time in history when God drew near to his children...when he sent his Son to live among us.........Only this year I feel like I missed it.
It was too much. Too many presents. Too many people to see (who have more presents). Too many places to go. Too little time to talk and enjoy just being together. I was feeling regretfull. I felt like my kids missed the point of it all....but God did remind me me of something I had done. I did, in all my busyness, reach out to my brother who needed help in a real tangable way (money, rides, time spent helping him Christmas shop for his son, someone just to be there for him...). I verbalized this "help" to my kids as we were doing it and trudging out to Target for the second time that day (the day before Christmas eve!) "We need to help your uncle", "Lets be Jesus' hands and feet", "We need to show our love for our family by being good helpers". My God brought all this to my mind as I reviewed all my regrets of the season. I am so thankful that He provided my family the oportunity to serve during this time. I was too busy to seek out "service needs". Not that I am happy for my brother's situation, but I am glad in my heart that the Lord used me and my kids to minister to my brother.
I love this time of year. I love it because of the increase in the desire of our society to want to help others. I love it because of the Spirit of God is tangable if we take a moment to feel Him. I love this time of year because when done correctly through God's power, it is such a powerful tool to share the Grace and Love of our Father.
We didn't miss it but we were too busy. Next year it will be less. Less stuff. Less people. Less running around. More God. More family. More serving our fellow man (and possibly angels?!). It's time for us to have our own family tradtions that mean something to our hearts. Next year, throughout the whole year it will be different.