Christmas is right around the corner (literally). We are one week out and every year it seems to come even quicker than the last. This year the weeks leading up to Christmas were especially hectic for me. I was leading a committee of moms who were charged with planning and executing this year’s elementary Christmas production at my son’s school. We also have all the normal hustle and bustle of this time of year in addition to hosting my husband’s entire immediate family (10 people!) in our home for Christmas this year. Talk about a long to-do list!
One day as I was in the thick of the endless planning and prep for the Christmas production, I recall my 3 year old son continually trying to get my attention. He did not seem to understand how busy I was or that my to-do list was about a million pages long. I didn’t have time to discuss whatever childish topic he had in mind or respond to a hundred different questions pertaining to why dogs have ears.
As I tried to brush him off again and remind him that mommy “needed to work” right now, I actually caught a few words of what he was saying. He was mentioning something about baby Jesus and asking who the baby’s mom and dad were. I immediately stopped and asked him to repeat what he had been saying, and this time intently listened.
My sweet little boy had been trying to ask me about the story of baby Jesus whom God had sent down to Earth for us. You know, the whole reason we celebrate Christmas? How had I let it escape my attention that I had been ignoring important opportunities and conversations with my child, and most likely all of my children, because I was so wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the details that I needed to get done to “accomplish Christmas”. Laughable. As if Christmas has anything to do with how much I work I get done.
I made sure I discussed with him the importance of baby Jesus, answered his questions about Jesus’ parents, including his Heavenly Father, and we talked about all of the details of that incredible and true story.
After reflecting on that interaction, I decided to maintain our focus this Christmas season on spending moments like that with my family. And not just moments reminding them of Christ’s birth, but also spending moments making memories with them. Memories like making sugar cookies together and laughing about silly old Christmas songs playing on the radio, which we did that night.
In addition to festive holiday moments, I also plan on implementing a favorite tradition from my childhood. My family has always celebrated and opened gifts on Christmas Eve. As we all gathered in the living room in anticipation of opening our gifts, my dad would have us wait as he read from his tattered and weathered old Bible the true story of Christmas. He never wanted us to forget what Christmas is really about, and I never have. I want to do the same for my children.
It can be far too easy to get caught up in the minute details of Christmas planning and the infinite errands that need to be run and somehow end up completely missing the family moments and the Christmas traditions I want my kids to remember when they’re grown. I’ve accumulated a few traditions I am implementing starting this year that both create fun family memories, as well as teach my kids what to really focus on during this time of year – the miraculous birth of Christ. I encourage you to take a moment to make your own list of memories and traditions that you’d like to integrate into your family Christmas this year.