Bri and I slept in a bit while the kids opened stockings downstairs. When we came down, there was Lindsay, our dear "daughter" home between ministry assignments, playing a new game with the girls while the boys tried out a new video game. Christmas had arrived and they were so excited! The day was spent playing, assembling, mediating, baking, and keeping things to a manageable chaos. In all honesty, it wasn't perfect, but it was life with the ones I love and there was much joy. At times when I would come close to losing my patience with another demanding, hopped-up-on-sugar-and-presents child, I told myself that I would just let it happen and not try to control every moment. And so I didn't. On one of the most hectic and energy-sucking days of the year, there were very few cross words that came out of my mouth.
It is hard to know why things are changing. Surely a part of the reason is the ages of the kids: almost 11, 8, 6, and almost 4...life is becoming more manageable and fun. Maybe another part is now having my own life separate from home. Working has given me life I have not known as a mother and helps me appreciate so much more the time I have with my children. Perhaps I am simply realizing the brevity of life, that we don't have an unlimited store of Christmas days or any other days for that matter. I have come to see that all of life is a gift--every heartbeat, every laugh, every memory. There are no guarantees and I am so thankful for every moment. Whatever the reasons, things are different now than they have been in years past.
Today my heart was also more tuned to the gift of Christ. As we finished the advent calendar we talked about how there is nothing we need so much as Jesus, and that if we have him and nothing else, we have enough. In the future I want to build more service and giving into this day to continue to reinforce this message and to be living more as Jesus did. We have so much more than we need, and I pray that we will all care less and less about the "stuff" of Christmas.
Not an earth-shattering post, I know, and I don't even care if anyone reads it. I just had to write about this day so I can remember the Christmas that I was more focused on Christ, more grateful to be with my family, and less cranky than ever before. Finally, a small thank-you note to my Savior who came out of the endless universe he had fashioned with his own breath into a tiny planet to breathe the same air as I. A small and hopeless sinner I am, yet his love and grace have redeemed me and set me free. Praise you, Jesus Christ! There is no one like you.