It's a rainy afternoon and I for a change have a chance to sit by the Christmas tree with all the lights off sipping on hot chocolate and "reflecting"--just like the beautiful lights and ornaments on my tree.
Someone gave us a card this year with the story of a boy who traveled a long distance in Africa to give a missionary a rare shell. The missionary told him, You've traveled such a long way to give me such a lovely gift."
"Oh teacher", the boy replied, "Long walk part of gift." The person telling the story said that when she or her husband would begin to get short tempered during the holidays over the extra time, money, and effort being spent they would remind each other, "Long walk part of gift." That thought has given me a little extra gas in my energy tank when I'm feeling like I've gone just about as far as I can go. I want my family to know that the effort I'm expending is worth it and just part of my love gift to them--rather it's a meal, a homemade gift, or going out of my way for them in some other way.
I don't know about anyone else but the last few "crunch" days are when I have to put a watch on my lips to keep from getting snappy with the ones I love the most--the ones that live with me. I've tried to give myself a little punch in the ribs by agreeing to begin singing a Christmas carol when I catch myself feeling crabby. It's amazing how that works and the spirit of Christmas spreads through the house.
One of my favorite memories this year was when I was practicing Christmas songs on the piano and the kids and I ended up singing them together. At the time we were waiting to watch a Christmas movie and their dad got a phone call. We were waiting and I decided instead of sitting and stewing about "another interruption" I would use the time for something constructive and it ended up being a fun time!
Today I listened to a lady talking about how the first rule of a love relationship was communication. The Lord has been working on me in the area of my prayer life teaching me that just as I make sure that my husband and I have that little "just us" time every day that I should look at my time in the Word and prayer precisely the same way. The time to come talk to Him about what's got me worried, what I don't understand, the tangled areas of my life that I just can't figure out, the areas that seem out of control and lay them before Him, talk to Him about them and trust Him to take care of it all for me and speak to me about them in His Word.
As I listened to her talking about love being meeting someone else's needs without asking anything in return I thought that this is exactly why we need Christmas. It's an opportunity to give to others without any expectation of something in return. It's a time to stop and give and give and give.... I don't know about anyone else but there are some people that wouldn't hear a word from me if it weren't for Christmas. Life has a way of sweeping us down its current and Christmas forces us to stop and remember certain people if it's simply a Christmas card in the mail.
I hope and pray your Christmas is giving to you this year. I hope your reading and meditating on the wonderful story of Christ's birth. I hope your having "magic moments" with your family and friends. And I pray that at the end of the season you're a little closer to the One whose birthday it is!
If you haven't stopped and reflected on your Christmas season yet, why not get that warm cup of cocoa after the children are put to bed and go sit in the living room with candles lit and just your tree lights and think on how good life is and how good it is that the Savior is born!