These weeks leading up to Christmas have been tough for me. I just haven't welcomed the season with the usual joy and excitement. I have seen so much heartache, loss, and worry in 2009--several of my friends are facing the holidays without loved ones...people I care about are jobless or faced with uncertain financial futures...people I look up to have lives turned upside down by illness. I've been annoyed by the commercialism attached to the holiday, and the pressure to make each Christmas bigger and better than the ones before. I want the season to be magical for my boys, and I have been at a loss as to how to make it happen. So I prayed, and I asked God to restore my joy and give me perspective. Here's what happened:
I told my class of 4-year-olds the Christmas story. I looked around the circle at their big eyes, and I knew there was no one else I would have wanted to be telling about the miracle of the manger.
I called my mom to tell her our plans had changed and we would be home for the holidays. As I sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas," she started to cry. I knew there was nothing else I would rather be hearing.
I was putting clean sheets on the beds while Baby was in the bathtub. I heard him singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain" to himself while he was splashing around. I laughed, and knew that I would treasure that memory for a long time.
I stayed up late wrapping presents a few nights ago. I thought about the joy that is to come on Christmas morning--not from the gifts themselves, but from the being together--and I knew there was nothing else I would rather be doing.
I sat in a worship service surrounded by my church family singing "O Holy Night." I knew there was nowhere else I'd rather be.
Yesterday I looked out the window to see Goliath hard at work in the yard, bagging leaves to earn money so he could go Christmas shopping for his family. I knew there was nothing else I would rather be seeing.
This afternoon I put on an apron and baked Christmas cookies with Little Middle and Baby. I watched them happily spread icing and shake sprinkles, and I knew I wouldn't trade that moment for anything in the world.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
I am ready to receive my King.