For the December Weary Parent

As the days get colder and shorter, our bodies become intuitively more tired even without the extra hustle. It is not because we are doing anything wrong, it is nature’s way of telling us to slow down, sleep longer, linger by the fire, eat a hot meal, just be together. 

And yet..December looms in the modern world which pretty much DEMANDS…the opposite of us. The trees and gardens go to rest, animals go into hibernation, but us humans? It is GO TIME. Who needs sleep when you have coffee? There is Christmas Joy to be had and it doesn’t make itself! Or does it?

Sometimes I wonder if the reason we get sick so often in the crazy winter months is because we are doing the opposite of what our body is supposed to be doing, resting more. 

As a follower of Jesus, my soul can just FEEL the anticipation and magic of this time…but that is often overwhelmed by the noise and the long to-do list that comes with curating a commercialized Christmas. 

And every single year I have this internal struggle between that very curation of joy and the simplicity of the magic and joy that just…IS. Without us doing anything at all.  The magic is just here. If you just got still enough to observe it.

If you are a lover of all things Christmas, don’t take all this the wrong way. I am married to a Clark Griswold of sorts so there is not much room for Grinchery in my house. Although… every time we watch The Grinch, I cannot help fully relate to Cindy lou. Okay fine, I also relate to the Grinch too. Because every year I feel like I am trying my best to make meaning out of this season through simple things, while the world tells me it is not enough. Do more. Buy more. And well, quite frankly it makes me crabby as heck. 

So this year, instead of writing a whole bunch of words about how we should do less and spend less this Christmas (which I really could write a lot of words on this people!) I am reflecting on something different.

You don’t have to cancel all the Christmas fluff activities or cut your gift giving in half in order to honor Jesus better.  I think you just have to listen to your body and heart and simply bring Jesus alongside you and your family in all the chaos. That is, of course, where He loves to be anyway. 

-Think…really think about your schedule ahead.  Look at it a whole month out.  Do you have time for rest? Do you have a margin?  Make a game plan for what is important to you to do/attend this month and what can go. A full calendar can still have margin.

Some ideas:

-Do a simple advent/Christmas reading one night a week while lighting a candle. Kids love candles man, just try it. Add some hot cocoa for extra magic. 

-Check out a stack of books from the library that tell the story of Jesus and leave them in a basket in your house for the next few weeks for kids to stumble on or pick one to read every night together.

-Talk about Jesus every spare moment you can find. In the car rides, at dinner, in the pickup line. Below are some things we will be asking in Kid City this month so you can ask them again on your own to follow up!

“Are you guys excited for presents? Do you think people who were waiting for Jesus to be born felt the same anticipation?”

“Why do you think God sent a baby of all things to save us?”

“Jesus being born brought the world hope, why do you think hope is important?”

“How do you think we can bless others this year since God has blessed us?”

“What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?’

Let us remember. When Jesus was born, it was not this magical euphoric time. The world was dark. Broken. Divided. People were lost, confused and scared. Countries were under some seriously scary leadership.  Not much has changed today but he is still here to save us from ourselves. That will always remain. It is the real source of this magical season. And no matter how many presents you buy or how full your calendar is, if you brought love and Jesus in, you’ve done it right.  Even if you can be a bit of a Grinch like me.

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