Move this item to the top of your Christmas To-Do list
My day started out on the kitchen floor. As I have been hammering out my Holiday to-do list, my house has been absorbing the aftershocks. The dim lighting, and the glow of the Christmas tree has shielded me from some of this realization but, as I sit on the kitchen floor eye level with the gooey toddler fingerprints, the crumbs from last night’s cookies, a forgotten milk spill, and God- only-knows-what-else, the full magnitude of the neglect suddenly sinks in. I didn’t plan to be in this place this morning. I woke up early with a mental spreadsheet that, if it were actually printed would include blaring red warning signs that read... "We are at DEFCON 1 here, lady. You must get to the post office by noon, order those gifts that have a two-week turnaround (prime shipping has ruined you forever), brave the grocery store as there is no food in the house…” The list was infinite.
I am embarrassed to admit that much of these items are self-imposed. For example, I have personally and meticulously designed our family Christmas card for the last eight years. Even though we live in an age of lovely template photo cards that would take about five minutes, the prideful creative in me must spend countless hours and a great deal of stress (again self- imposed) trying to outdo my design for the previous seven Christmas cards. I’m cranky with the entire family until I get this little baby off to the printer. I know it’s ridiculous, right? Or the fact that I delight in baking from scratch, DIY gifts and seem to volunteer for everything under the sun.
Anyway, back to the kitchen floor. What landed me in this spot was a succession of thuds followed by loud "I’m not joking around here, Mom" cries from my five-year-old. He was so busy playing his middle child role of clowning around this morning that he lost his footing and fell down the entire flight of stairs. Although Dad is his usual go-to, injury always necessitates mommy intervention. My knees buckled as my screaming blubbering boy flung himself at me full force; we sank together onto the filthy kitchen floor. I wrapped my arms tightly around him; I rocked back and forth, and I repented.
Repented of the self-imposed busyness that has been distracting me and making me short in a season that is supposed to be about family. Repented of the pride that I have to make everything look or be just so. And repented that I have let this Advent season become about “doing” at the expense of just “being”-- being with God, being with my family, being mindful of Christ and His impending birth. As I held him tight and felt his weight in my lap, I was reminded of the gift that this moment was. Next year he will be six; I’m not even sure I will be able to lift him, or that six-year-olds believe that momma’s arms cure boo-boos the way that five-year-olds do.
It reminded me of another mother sitting right down in the filth, in the mess, rocking her boy. Did she even glance around to take stock of the muck and the mire? Was she anxiously checking off a to-do list? No, she looked straight into the face of the newborn king and allowed His glory to overshadow everything of this world. She did not concern herself about her less-than-ideal environment, or the fact that her birth plan had gone awry. Instead, she found the greatest peace and joy she had ever experienced as she took time to enjoy her child in the midst of the chaos of bleating sheep, braying donkeys and a cold, dank stable.
Perhaps I should look into the face of Jesus as I am overwhelmed with the to-dos, the mess and the competing voices of three exuberant children hyped-up on candy canes and cocoa. Remembering that this season of Advent is about anticipating Christ’s coming to earth packaged in newborn skin, and that these gifts that we give are really just to remind us and each other of the gift of the Christ--that three weeks till Christmas is not about shipping dates and printer deadlines but preparing our hearts and those of our children to celebrate His birth.
Perhaps you’re not addicted to DIY or baking from scratch, but we all have ways of making ourselves unnecessarily busy at the expense of truly sitting at the Lord’s feet and allowing Him to fill us with the joy of expectant waiting. Jesus didn’t come to earth with prime shipping; He was a long-expected savior.
My prayer for you today, dear friends, is that God will give you the a timeout on the kitchen floor to remind you to slow down and enjoy the anticipation; that you would have those special moments to hold your children and that you would invite Him in to give you all the gifts He has for you this Christmas season.
Ps. Hop on over and like My Facebook page for a free downloadable Advent graphic www.facebook.com/bigbeautifulchaos/