Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Christmas State of Mind (Part III)

During the Christmas season, our overwhelmed state of mind can overrule any opportunity for us to be overjoyed.
Here lies the choice---where we can choose stay in the overwhelmed or make a choice that creates room for something much greater for ourselves and our families.

I used to bake a lot—especially before the children came along. I all but stopped ,one, because I didn’t want the battle of being asked for it all day and two, because if it’s sitting around, it must be eaten and that would be my job. I think for a while there, Julia and Brighton thought I didn’t know how to make anything that wasn’t green or lean. I remember the first time I baked cookies when Julia wasn't asleep and was old enough to understand what I was doing. I let her sit on the counter and watch. She wanted to lick the beaters as all kids do, but when I put them in the oven, she did something I never expected. She got down on her knees in front of the oven and watched and waited—the entire 9 minutes!! For one who had just turned 3, this was quite impressive. She was intent on seeing the cookies come out of the oven and ultimately into her little mouth. I don’t even think the theme song to “Dora the Explorer” would have pulled her away. To kneel there was her choice and EXACTLY what she wanted to do at the time.

Again, looking at the magi, they made their choice and saw it through to the end. Their journey was intentional in every sense of the word. They did their research, their planning, so to speak, and they set out with one goal, one agenda. Unlike what I catch myself doing at times, they didn’t plan it on their way to somewhere else. They didn’t try to make it work since it was on their way. They didn’t set out because it seemed like a fun thing to do. They didn’t squeeze it in because they felt like they had to. IT was EXACTLY what they wanted to do. Seeking out the one born King of the Jews was their ONLY focus. Because we know the Christmas story, we know they made the journey. Nothing thwarted their purpose. Nothing distracted them from their mission. Nothing and no one overruled their quest. They chose to set their faces like flint and head for the Savior.

Each year I have to ask myself, what will my choice be? What will your choice be? Will I try to squeeze Jesus into my Christmas between going here and there? Will I drop off a “charity gift” only because I am headed that way for something else and it’s convenient? We don’t want to spend our Christmases being ruled by the calendar, passing each other through the doors of our home, running here and there not even seeing one another’s faces, much less having a moment to ponder the Savior’s birth. Who wants to spend every waking moment slave to a to-do list? How can we help our family make choices that won’t overrule opportunities to be overjoyed? I believe it’s a choice- a pretty monumental one at that.

Let your family SEE you making choices to seek the Lord this Christmas whether it be in your decorations, in your time together as a family, in your giving, in your calendar, in your free time and best of all, in your spirit. If your kids are small, keep talking about WHY you are doing what you are doing, “We are getting the house ready to celebrate the most important birthday ever!” “We are going to bake some things together to celebrate Jesus’s birthday!” “We are going to read some books/listen to music that helps us remember WHY we celebrate Christmas.” “We are going to give these gifts remembering the gift God gave us in His Son, Jesus.” And so on………..they will get the message if we are intentional in giving it to them. I think you see. The choice is ours. Will it be to stay in the overwhelmed or to create opportunities for something vastly different than crammed calendars and pretty decorations?

This third post is the hardest for me—to make the right choices in the midst of it all, in the midst of the dailies, in the midst of kids still needing to eat three times a day and so on. However, I believe with all that I have if I make these choices to focus on Him, He will show up in ways that my family will remember for years to come. With much anticipation, on my part, I will wrap this up in the next few days. I have certainly saved the best for last because it gives the motivation, the encouragement, the reward. It makes everything else make sense. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!


Alyssa said...

"They didn’t squeeze it in because they felt like they had to." Whoa! That's convicting. Thanks for continuing this insightful series of posts!

Dondra said...

What great inspiration! Thank you so much! Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!

TJ Wilson said...

oh, I LOVE this photo of your sweet girl!!