Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Love Hate Relationship with Christmas

 Don't get me wrong here - I love Christmas in all its purity and wholeness.  I love the Bible and the telling of Jesus sacrifice to come to earth and save us from our sins. I love the pure baby in the manger and the virgin birth. What I despise about Christmas is how to actually keep the joy of Christmas in our home. We celebrate the coming of Christ - Advent - with daily bible readings and fun little skits. We bake cooking and play special Christmas music. But, somewhere in there the stress of extra work, making great memories, entitled children and a never ending to do list makes me dread this season.
 I love Christmas morning and the sweet fellowship with friends. I love the break  from routine, having the Daddy home for two weeks and sharing warm cocoa and singing Christmas carols. But, the truth behind the pictures is that my kids, I'm sure no one elses, grow to expect presents and relaxation and fun every minute. My kids will turn a wonderful Christmas tradition of Christmas book reading before bed into the dreaded nightly activity. They argue and it seems the closer to Christmas we get the worse their behavior gets. We have fun things planned, like Christmas shopping together or a  visit to Santa -- ruined by behavior they haven't exhibited in years!
 I struggle with Christmas - the battle of training and working with my kids, verses the spontaneous fun that seems lately to produce whiny children who forget to say "please" and have random strangers at stores asking them what they want Santa to bring them. Ugh! Please stop asking my kids what they want. Seriously, they want whatever they see at that moment.  I  don't have my kids make wish lists, or ask them what they want for Christmas - ssh - I recycle all toy catalogs before my kids see them. If I don't there will sure be a case of the "gimmes"  in our house.
 I am struggling - how to I keep Christ in Christmas? How do I teach my children to be like Jesus and be a servant to all?  If my kids behavior over the last few days is any indication, then they won't have much under our tree. What has happened to my sweet children - they aren't like this all the time, in fact they haven't ever been this naughty. I feel like instead of having fun, I'm using all these teachable moments to train and re-train hearts that are determined to receive instead of give. Even a simple act of cleaning the bathroom to earn a little extra money so we can give a gift to our Compassion child Samara, turns into a 2 hour battle. A simple request of "please go clean your room" turns into a massive fit of rage when caught goofing off for the 10th time.
So, it is a mere 5 days before Christmas, the presents were wrapped  - then Abby unwrapped them. The candy is made - but I can't eat any. The shopping day was planned - then mommy caught a child lying about something they had stolen and instead, the day was spent at home, writing a letter of apology (3 hours long - it shouldn't have taken that long!) and then taking the stolen object back to church and confessing "said child's" sins to the Children's pastor.

So as you think of us - please pray for us! We have company coming for almost the next month and my kids are at their worst. God, please send this mommy some brilliant ideas that will reach the hearts of my children --- fast!

PS - on a more positive note, I found John the best Christmas gift ever. This is one he will forever remember and absolutely love!

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