Monday, December 25, 2006

My Merry Little Christmas

No alarm clock this morning. We all slept in until a pleasant 7:45. After breakfast we held our own Advent candlelight service and sang Christmas carols before opening gifts. Then I got started on laundry. (Hey, Christmas or not, it's Monday and I am a creature of habit!)
Between loads of wash, I made No-Bake Cheesecake. I'd forgotten to get something for dessert, but found a box of cheesecake mix in the pantry. Whew! Jell-o to my rescue! I put the turkey in the oven and then we all got in the van for a trip to Hawk Island, where we (and a few other rebels who went to the park, even though it was "closed") played hide and seek on the play ground.
Now, we've eaten our Christmas dinner. Left overs have been packaged up and stored in the refrigerator. The dishes are washed, dried and put away. And the kids are enjoying their new toys and treasures. Sounds like a great day, doesn't it?
Really, it was. And I will do my best to remember it as a great day. But it didn't come and go without tears, and moments of feeling like I'll never "get it right" with Joshua.

As all parents do, I wanted to get gifts for my kids that would light up their faces and bring them joy. And I thought I had made the right choices. They all seemed cool to me! As gifts were unwrapped, the squeals of delight indicated all was well. That is, until Joshua decided his air gun wasn't as cool as Matthew's disc shooter. In fact, Joshua thought his new toy was stupid (never mind the fact he'd been all smiles just minutes before as he was opening other gifts) and now his attitude toward life was decidedly grim.
I tried to reason with him and coach him in gift receiving etiquette. Elizabeth chimed in and said she thought the air gun was neat, and even played with it to try to convince him further. I told Joshua he could use some of his Christmas money to buy a disc shooter just like Matthew's if he wanted. (It was only $5!) Nothing was helping.
In time, Joshua and I were both upstairs and he brought up the subject of his "stupid" gift again. Joshua essentially said I must think he is dumb because I got him such a dumb gift. He really knows how to push me! I told him I was doing my best to pick nice gifts, and if he didn't like what I picked, maybe I just wouldn't buy him gifts anymore. (Admittedly, not one of my more mature comments.)
Joshua stormed off and Elizabeth approached me saying, "I know you're doing your best, Mom." I thought, "Yes, but sometimes my best just isn't good enough!" And I went to my room to have a few minutes alone when I could cry and talk with God. I told Him, though this moment was hard, I know He didn't make a mistake in giving me children. I said I know I can't do this mothering thing without His help. My best isn't good enough. I need Him. I refocused my eyes on Him, and went out to face the day again. (And many times found myself singing the chorus about turning my eyes upon Jesus...)

Ahhh, but now the dust has settled and I am able to see God's hand in the day's events. Isn't what I went through - rememebering my best isn't good enough, and that I need Him - what today is all about? Originally, I thought the lesson was all about mothering, but was it?
Christmas is all about celebrating Jesus coming to earth - God becoming man, and why? Because our best isn't good enough. We need Him! How amazing that Jesus would choose to leave the glory of heaven, to set aside His rights as God and live as a man, ultimately enduring death on the cross! And all because our best isn't good enough. We need His best, and He was willing to give it. All because He loves us. Wow!
I hope your Christmas was a merry one, and that you will take some time to reflect on God's incredible love for you today.

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