From an article originally posted November 23, 2013…
Coming into the holiday season leaves me with a burden that plagues my heart. On one hand, there is the desire to give a reprieve from our story. The lie that a whole bunch of stuff will give my kids a momentary break from our hard. Worse than that, is the plaguing lies that my Christmases are limited, and to make sure they remember the Christmases with me being big, full, joyful, fun.
Then, there is the deep desire for the sacred in our holiday. The want to over-spiritualize each moment and leave my kids with a deep understanding of the sacred season. That raises a bit of a problem, too. I want to inspire my kids, draw them into the greatest story ever told, not bore them with my want to fill their cup with all that I believe and hold dear in faith before I’m gone.
So wicked awesome Christmas filled with stuff and more stuff, that I can hardly contain in my limited ability to keep house, or plunge deeply into the sacred and impart my heart each day to my children? I imagine for all of us there is a battle between these two fronts. In our house, we only have an antennae and no cable and I see advertisers working to gain the hearts of my children even with our limited screen time. Toy stores send catalogs to my idol-making children, every day I’m shown a new deep desire for a toy that will solve the problem of every want my child has ever had, so they think. The if onlys of life start at a very young age. If only I had this one thing, I would be happy.
The balance for parents to discern this holiday season is always a challenge. Always. But added to my loop of lies I’m told is that I only have a few chances at getting it right. It’s an impossibility to know how to move forward at times, I can become paralyzed in fear. The torment for me is the desire for warmth and joy to be remembered. Last year I was still recovering from my last chemo, weak, struggling, and I was about to have my double mastectomy. It was such a hard season, I can hardly remember it. It was made lovely with friends joining us and quiet moments contemplating the sacred. I did most of my shopping online, and struggled to remember where I had hidden all the packages.
I wonder if I seek grace in each moment, walk near to Jesus, embrace my now, I wonder if the balance will present itself. I doubt I will ever silence the fears and anxieties of limited tomorrows, but I can live faithfully today. A friend is creating an advent calendar based on The Jesus Storybook Bible, and you know how much I love that book! Pray I’m not the obnoxious mama baking cookies, quietly whispering in my heart, remember this, please remember this, let this memory be a forever memory. If I’m honest, that thought is on constant repeat. I will drop a hint to my guy, nestled in this paragraph, a camera would be a treat. Hee, hee. With a camera, I can increase the eye rolls in this house, ever pointing the lens at my people trying to document our moments. I already do it with my new camcorder. I love being the family historian!
Especially when I’m documenting joy!
Join me in the battle for the hearts of our children for the sacred, and a desire for fun and joy. We all like stuff, especially kids, but let’s strike a balance. I know the lies that plague me are not the ones that plague you this holiday season, but I know that battle for your heart and your wallet are fierce. How will you find balance? How will you incorporate the sacred? Consider The Jesus Storybook Bible in your holiday. No matter your age, season, life-stage, every chapter will point you to the savior. Every page whispers of the sacred.
I was granted the gift of time in my living room speaking to this gift. That time was such a gift to my hurting heart. What is hiding in this picture are the ugly drain tubes from my recent surgery. I had tucked them in my leggings. I was in a lot of pain, highly limited by my surgery, and this gift, Sally Lloyd Jones, met me right there and spoke so vulnerably and honestly about suffering. She has a beautifully high regard for children and childhood. In this brief moment, she spoke to the fears I mentioned above. My heart of wanting a joyful childhood for my children, and yet, wanting them to honestly know where our story was heading. Sally has a beautiful gift! A very beautiful gift. She has brought us nearer to Jesus through her writing. Is there any other reason to write?
Tell me dear readers, how do you strike a balance between the sacred and the stuff? Tell me the battle that rages in your heart over this season. Many of us come from a painful past, and we are trying to recapture what we wanted for ourselves in this season. It’s so easy to become tied in knots and lose our peace. Talk to me, I love what each of you has to say. I read every word!