Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Ah! It's that time of year again. Christmas music fills the house. Favorite recipes are found and pantries are stocked with the necessary ingredients. The Christmas tree is cut and decorated. Presents are being purchased, wrapped and hidden in secret places. The family is in good spirits, singing, laughing, and smiling. But, there's a problem. Yes, the music is playing. Good smells from the kitchen are filling the house. The tree is beautiful and the idea of presents has the children giddy and excited, but I have to admit, we're not always smiling and in good spirits.
Over the last few weeks, there's been bickering, complaining, and worry. The little ones have been downright naughty. The older children have had problems with bad attitudes and I hear myself complain about the most trivial things. Of course, the children are very good at mimicking their mother, but when I see it in them, it annoys me. I worry about money. I worry as I never seem to have the time to do anything else besides the basics of dishes, laundry and cooking. Home schooling is being done, but on some days, we definitely don't accomplish my goals for the day. Oh, the kids are learning, but I do tend to have goals that are a bit lofty for this time of year.
Last week, my evenings were filled with rehearsals and concerts for the symphony chorus as we presented our "Holiday Pops" for the community. It's always a great experience for me to sing in this group and the concerts definitely helped to get us in the mood for the season, but on the down side, my husband and kiddos had more responsibilities and missed the presence of Mom in the evenings. I am also completely spent.
One decision we made a long time ago that has helped us was to limit the number of gifts for each child to three. Three gifts were given to Baby Jesus by the Wise Men, so we thought that would be a good number. As our family has added more children, even three was still too much, so we are down to two each with that third gift being for a family in need or extra funds being given to an orphan ministry that we support. The older children help to contribute to this and they are all beginning to understand how the needs of others are much greater than our own. This year, we sent bags of rice and gifts of Bibles. We felt it was essential to not only help to fill these orphans' bellies, but also to feed their souls. I would still like to see us give so much more, but it's a start.
This is a wonderful time of year, but only when we can keep the focus off of ourselves and most importantly when we remember how much God has done for us. Of all of the needs that we have, the need for a Savior who came and took our place on that cross was the greatest. We could have never saved ourselves or faced a holy God without Jesus. His love is beyond all comprehension. I am so thankful at this time of year, but every day when I remember His great love for us.
So, I think there's some repentance in order for the complaining and bickering that our family has done lately. We also need to repent of our lack of thankfulness and our focus being on anything but Jesus. After the gifts are unwrapped, the tree is down and the goodies are eaten, we still have Him. He is all we need. He is all we will ever need.
"Joy to the world, the Lord has come,
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and Heaven and nature sing."