**written at 12:01am 12/26/2006**
And I nearly didn't think I would make it.
I have a hard time with Christmas.
For many reasons, too many to name actually.
It makes me feel lonely. It always makes me feel sad.
Every year I think it will be different. I will sit back and enjoy my children enjoying the holiday - because it isn't about me afte rall.
And it isn't ...
I know that.
But yet the tender feelings of years long gone remain steadfast in my heart.
I do enjoy my children enjoying the day, the food, the fun, the reason for the season ...
But I know I am not alone in this one thought ... how can they all be so self centered? Is it just my children that tear through their carefully wrapped gifts, one after another, with complete abandon - not even recognizing what, who or how it is coming to them.
I mean there is the obligatory reading of the gift tag, the sweet tearing of the paper and the 'thank you' across the crowded room. But then each gift is swiftly set aside and the process continues.
We always try to do the gift opening in rounds; one person, one gift at a time. Each person reveling in the others treasures. Sometimes this works more easily than others ... toddlers don't do well waiting and when there area plethora of gifts, not to mention a vast number or participant ... well their ability to 'wait' is just no longer plausible.
This year I got my children each one gift. A gift I thought about long and hard. Something that wasn’t just wasted money, wasted energy … something that was unique to them personally. Again, a little more difficult with toddlers, but not as much with the older children.
I also asked friends and relatives not to go crazy on the gift giving thing … please, no more toys, stuffed animals or tiny plastic figurines. Buy them books, I said. They love them and will cherish them. Write a personal message, this will mean so much more than a toy that is sure to be tossed in a pile with glut of toys already littering our home.
I said it with a gentle voice … a request, rather than a demand. I said it knowing that I still cherish the few books I have retained from my tattered childhood. I no longer have any of the baby dolls or Barbie’s that I played with; certainly no stuffed animals or cute ceramic figurines.
My mother didn’t save those things, the few that there were … actually she didn’t save anything, but I think that is a separate post.
My issue; I want to save it all for my children, so that they will know how much they were love, how much they were thought of.
I am getting off course here, I know … but this is my space, my thoughts, my heart – so y’all get it in the order it comes to me. My apologies.
So, most people offering up gifts to my children observed my wishes; understood my desire to show my children the true spirit of the season.
Anyway, I so want them to know what Chistmas is and isn’t about.
I want them to appreciate why we are here and why we should be thankful.
I want them to know that they are loved for who they are, where they are.
I want them not to ask over and over and over ‘can I open another present?’
I don't want to hear them say 'is that It?'
I know that I am unrealistic. I know that my children (at least I hope so) aren’t so very different than any other child. They are well behaved (for the most part) caring and sensitive children. They have compassionate souls and understand the need for discipleship …
But still, when we sat down to supper, I asked them what they received today, what they were grateful and thankful for … and it was as if their minds completely forgot all of the gifts and blessing that had been bestowed on them in the past 24 hours.
They could name the most immediate gift, or the gift closest to them … but they couldn’t go much beyond that.
And here is kicker number 1, the things that they were grateful/thankful/appreciative of had nothing to do with God and all He has given them. The Lord Our Savior didn’t get mention.
Kicker number 2, the well thought out and labored upon gifts from their mother … yep no mention there either.
And now as I write that, I can’t help but ask myself if I am as self-centered as they are? I want them to know how hard I tried to pick the ‘right’ gift for each one of them … I want them to know that I spent actual time thinking about them individually so that I could express to them how very much they each mean to me. How much I would sacrifice for them.
Funny huh? I was hopeful that they would acknowledge me, and my sacrifices, my hard work … I want that for me … when they aren’t even able to give that to the King of Kings.
Yikes, who am I?
Maybe I am not capable of teaching them the things I want them to learn.
Maybe I want more of them than they are able to comprehend at this point. But darn it, I expect more of them … because they are so much better than I was.
And they have it so much better too.
Maybe they know that. Maybe they were just too overwhelmed by the day to give proper thanks. Maybe … maybe … maybe …
Or maybe I just want something that doesn’t happen. Or that is just too rare.
Or maybe it is just my past, my desire to do things so completely differently (better) that they were done in my childhood, which clouds my view of the whole thing.
I just know that it’s done. It’s over … 364 days until we try it all again.
Blessings my friends … many, many blessings. It’s late and I am going to go hug my sleeping baby.
The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. - Helen Keller
It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.- Church billboard in Kentucky
With light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, [the angels] began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it "Good News," and it was. -Larry Libby
Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.' - Luke 2:28-32