Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Reading

Do you have a favorite book you like to read at Christmas?  We have a nice stack of Christmas picture books that we have collected over the years that we pull out and read during the holidays.  Last year I read A Christmas Carol out loud to the kids.  That is a good one, but a little over the heads of the younger children.  Last year we got the audio version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  It is a really cute story and although it is written to younger audience, it has appeal even for adults with a great message about the transforming power of Jesus.  A friend mentioned that she reads this book every year because she loves it and I thought that it might be a great tradition to read it aloud in our home.  So, I made the investment in it (which is a big deal for me because I rarely by books but instead rely on the library).  So, far the younger kids are really enjoying it.  I hope to do a little each day and time it to finish just before Christmas.

So, do you have any Christmas book traditions in your home?

Here are a few of the Christmas books we have collected over the years:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

Well, it is that time of year when I have to realize that I am just a few days from Christmas and I have a lot that is yet not done.  I am out of time.  I am out of money.  It makes me sad.  Maybe if I didn't put the extra burden of trying to make many of my gifts to save money Christmas wouldn't be so stressful.  So, it is crunch time.  I have to realistically wrap up all of my projects.  I have to go through my gift lists and make sure everyone is covered and that it looks balanced.  (Each of my children has the same amount, each of my nephews have the same amount.)  I don't want anyone to feel slighted. 

To be honest, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed.  This makes me sad because Christmas shouldn't be this way.  God never intended for the birth of His Son to be a stress on our lives.  He is the Prince of PEACE!  Every year I say that I am going to break this cycle.  Things may improve, but are still too stressful.  So, I am reflecting a bit this morning and talking to God about He thinks is important.  I want Him to prioritize my to-do list.  Then at least I can have some peace about what gets done and what doesn't.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Cup Runneth Over

My cup runneth over...I should be thankful.

My cup runneth over with children and chaos, dishes and laundry, messes and tasks.  I know that I should be thankful, but so often I have to admit that I am not.  Instead I long for peace and order, quiet and solace.  I crave to just be alone in my house, to have opportunity to catch up, to get ahead of the chores without someone following behind messing things back up.  I want to have time to quietly reflect with God without someone chattering in my ear.  I would love to be able to type a simple post like this without having with a squirmy four year old on my lap.  But that is not the way it is.  That is not my cup.

I am truly thankful to God for my cup - the place He has brought me in life.  I don't desire someone else's cup.  Sometimes I just wish it wasn't so tiresome to carry, that it felt more like a blessing than a burden. I know the things that overflow my cup are gifts.  Why can't I handle it all better? Why am I exhausted?  Am I placing extra burdens into my cup that God never intended for me?  How do I recognize those?  What part of this balancing act do I let fall.  Which things are not eternally significant and should be dropped?  I suppose that it is healthy to ask these things.  It is good to continually check to make sure we are still on the right path and not become complacent to God's voice in our lives.

So, as the Christmas season ramps up in all of its busy glory, I am stopping to question.  Is all that I am doing and participating in actually glorifying to Jesus?  It's His birthday we are celebrating here, so it really should be.  Are there burdens that I am placing on myself or my family that have no eternal significance?  That being said, you may not receive a Christmas card from me.  Don't be offended. I just might have decided that family Christmas devotions were a higher priority this year.  I have already simplified our Christmas decor this year.  I may not even bake a single Christmas cookie.  I figure that my family will still have plenty of opportunities to eat them and we will have less temptation to over indulge.  Maybe we will bake them in January when we have more time and can let the children do more of it because we are not in a rush to merely get them done and checked off the list.

This morning I am not merely going over my to-do list, but I am praying over each of these items on it and seeking guidance from my Helper to know which are my priorities and which I can just let go.  I can't do that on my own; only God knows what is truly important in the long term.