the reason for the season… kids :)

Christmas with kids is great. This time of year can be very lonely and depressing without the joy and magic children bring to Christmas. Recently our pastor told us that 5 lead pastors of mega-church size churches in Florida committed suicide this year. For those who know deep sadness, hardship, and the thorn in the side Brother Paul spoke of, this time of year is especially tough. But there’s one distraction. Albiet difficult, I am a mom and my job is to make Christmas a magical time for my kids. A few years ago we told them the truth about Santa. They began comparing him to Jesus and we knew it was time. Our oldest was pretty angry that we had lied to him for so many years. Since then the kids still talk about Santa as if he were coming and bringing us gifts. They choose the magic and suspend their disbelief in order to enjoy the childhood dream. My boys inspire me to lay down my sadness and to continue on in joy for their sake.

What’s there to be sad about? It’s the best holiday of the year! And a new year is only a week away after that! Most sadness comes from those who aren’t here anymore. Christmas meant something when I was a child. We celebrated Jesus’ birth with family. Of course we had gifts, but my parents had 4 kids and not much money. And while there were a mountain of presents under the tree, where there was bare floor the night before, it was the family that made the holiday my favorite. I loved Christmas Eve at my Grandmom’s house every year. My uncle home from college with his buddies caroling around the neighborhood. Food everywhere as we ate cookies for dinner. And my Dad’s family loved seeing us. Kids were their favorite and we never felt anything less. I remember my Grandparents bringing out tubs of clothes and gifts that we had picked out of a catalog weeks earlier. Me and my brothers knew what the season meant. Togetherness. Love. Giving. Joy.

As an adult, I understand what some of my older relatives must have laid aside in order to share joy with us. My kids are so happy and amped up. Today, Christmas Eve, has been the day they’ve been waiting for. We’ve spent the month making decorations, putting together gifts for the family, learning about the birth of Christ, and enjoying the anticipation of the gifts. Yeah, I said it… my kids love the gifts. So do I. Nothing wrong with that. It is better to give than to receive, unless you are a child. Gifts are wonderful and the giant cherry on top of all of the other hoopla.

Very little of Christmas has to do with our faith. As we have the living Spirit within, nothing about the holiday has anything to do with my worship of Him. All of the traditions, the decorations, the stress, the spending time with people who don’t give a damn about me, the wearing myself so thin that I sit down to eat food once a day and fall asleep before my final bite… those things have nothing to do with my Lord. The strain on my marriage, the emphasis on giving to the poor this “one time of year” when it should happen all the time, the heartache over Christmas’ that will never be the same again without my family who are gone, the rude comments that must be overlooked, the desperate desire to sink into sadness over the fact that I may never be completely healthy again. What if this is as good as it gets? With some of my health issues, what if every year after this I get worse and this is the last good year? None of those fears come up any other time of year. None of the other ridiculous demands are made any other time of year. So why does anyone assume that Christmas time (which isn’t actually Christ’s birth month anyway) is more spiritual or has anything to do with Jesus? I guess it makes us feel holy.

For me, as you can see, I am down. I am sad for the future because the past was so great and many of the loved ones in those memories are gone. So what’s the magic of the year about? Giving a wonderful season to the kids. Just like the grown ups before me did. I want my kids to have what I had… no knowledge of the impending divorces, no knowledge of the illnesses my family faced, no knowledge of the dead broke dire financial situations we were in at times. Christmas was when everyone came together and gave of themselves and loved everyone. So that’s why it’s so important to lay down my needs, my sadness, my loss, and take up the cross to share in the joy of Christmas with my children.

I hope you find yourself joyful this Christmas Eve. You are not alone in your loneliness. In the world you may have trouble, but take heart, Christ has overcome the world. Looking forward to special time with my husband and children today and tomorrow as we put down any issues weighing heavy on our hearts and enjoy the love and togetherness that means so much to us. Overjoyed at the love of Christmas morning as my kids are wide-eyed with excitement about the pile under the tree. Just like those before me, that’s what I choose this Christmas season. The kids. This is their holiday.

Hope you have a Happy Season friends. I have not been feeling well lately and I’ve been up to my neck in holiday “stuff,” but I plan on writing more as the season ends and life eases back into normalcy. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

Love,

Jackie

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