Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas With Littles

I was line drying diapers last night around 8:00pm (yes, it was dark outside, but the dining room light was just enough to see as I clipped each diaper to the line) thinking about how life is so different with little ones. It just is.

Some people don't understand why you haven't sent a Christmas card in a few years, why you don't bake oodles of cookies, or why your gifts might have "sticky bits" on the wrapping paper or bows smashed down a little (because your little darlings decided to play bowling with the presents as you were outside for just a few quick seconds to check on something). Some don't understand why you can't make it to your friend's Christmas party that starts at 7:30pm on a Saturday evening (bedtime for your little tikes) or why you can't make an appearance to each side of the family every year. While it's a blessing to have family to visit, no one likes being a taxi cab on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
As our family gains an understanding of how these holidays really came to be (most, pagan in origin), I feel less and less like celebrating and more and more convicted to get rid of the things that don't lead me to Christ (there's that whole John 15 PRUNING thing again). While I don't think there's anything wrong with the celebration of Christ's birth (and no, Christ wasn't born on December 25), the things that I see hindering members of our own family are the things that we, as parents, have to keep a careful eye out for and address when needed. Eliminating if we must (Gasp! I know.). Presents/wish lists seem to be a big one this year. We're trying to get creative with what we're going to do and we have a few ideas up our sleeves.
You see, with Littles, we have an advantage. They're still SPONGES, soaking up everything, making memories and forming habits. What kinds of habits and family customs are we forming? Why? Is Christ the center?
With each passing year, it's harder and harder to break those habits and rituals should we steer them wrong in the beginning.
One idea that we're planning on implementing is using our homemade manger (of which Molly conveniently ate the hay out of...oops!) to place in the center of our living room Christmas morning. Each child will receive a box. We will encourage them to think of something that they want to GIVE TO JESUS. A sacrifice. A discipline. Something for HIM. After all, the gifts we give symbolize the gifts that the Maggi gave to Christ in the first place. This is something that requires prayer, maybe a heart conviction and action as the rest of us may need to lovingly hold that person accountable (no one likes accountability, but what an important part of discipleship!). That's just one idea to take the focus off of ourselves, our wants and put it back on Jesus.
Some acts of service are things that we wrote down:
-caroling at a nursing home or neighborhood
-making cards for church shut-ins/visiting
-making a shoebox for a needy child
-giving to the homeless (blankets, food baskets, food coupons, etc.)
-inviting neighbors to church (entice them with cookies!)
-make a Nativity scene for your yard to share the love of Christ with your neighbors
-Christmas cards (handmade ones by the kids)
-cook a meal for someone that won't have a homecooked meal for Christmas
Service with Littles isn't easy, but the thing I've learned is that people usually don't care when things aren't perfect. We've been to nursing homes and although my kids can be loud (Lincoln has been known to bring his guitar and "jam" for an audience which is quite the scene), most people don't care and just smile.
I love reading the elderly. I wonder what is going on in their minds as they smile and watch our children. I wonder if they're taking a trip down memory lane, remembering their own little ones.
Most people know that you have little ones and it's us that put the pressure on ourselves to be PERFECT. Cut yourself some slack why don't ya. {grin}  If the cookie baking gets done, hooray! But don't beat yourself up over it.
The biggest question is to ask yourself if Christ would really care. Would He care if cookies are baked? Would He care if presents are perfectly wrapped? Would He care if your kids had sparkling clothes for Christmas Eve service? Would He care if your house was even decorated? Would He care if your Christmas breakfast had all of the major food groups?
Here are a different set of questions:
Would He care if you forgot to include Him in the planning? Would He care if you skipped out on fellowship with your church family to buy that last gift? Would He care if you didn't spend time reflecting on the amazing prophesy that He fulfilled? Would He care if you didn't spend time in prayer, in awe of His majesty and love?
He wants US. Every part of us. He wants to know us fully and for us to know Him fully. He desires a FULL relationship. He wants us to teach it to our children so that the next generation would be firmly rooted in Him. When we come to know Him, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, leading us through this crazy journey we call life here on earth. Earth is temporary. Christ is eternal.
So, if you don't get a Christmas card from us, it's not that we don't care (I'm tryin'). If my kids aren't dressed like a GAP commercial for Christmas Eve service, don't judge. {hug} If you receive a gift that was handmade, but took lots of effort and love (and maybe has some sticky residue on the wrapping paper), just say "thank you" and know that we took the time to make it for you because we love you and want to show Christ's love. If you don't find me humming the tunes to "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas", it's because that's not Christmas to me. Sorry. It's just not.
My sponges are watching me.


*Please Note:  This post took a few hours to write, including the interruptions of clipping a rabbit's nails, a phone call, building a Lincoln Log house because a certain culprit knocked someone's down, instructions (again) on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (which resulted in a pasta lunch seeing that we were out of peanut butter), a baby waking and needing to be fed, a few stories read, two diaper changes, a laundry change-over, a naptime and then, I finished.
Life with Littles...ta-dah! {smile}

1 comment:

Rachel E. said...

Sounds like life! Hah. I know what it means to have a post take a long time to actually get posted.

I like hearing your ideas when it comes to Christmas. Some things I have incorporated in recent years are advent, Jesse tree, and buying for the needy. We did our gifts for the less fortunate in October. We wanted to be sure they actually got them around Christmas. The kids really enjoyed it.

I bought the advent book trio that includes Bartholomew's Passage. The kids are really enjoying that. I also purchased a different Jesse tree book which I came to find didn't go with the ornaments I made last year. So my oldest daughter has been drawing the ones we need.

I really would like to have a manger in my living room, but have to keep looking.