Lucy and I try to praise that pup of ours when she “heels” and is calm, and trots along beside us, and I wonder why she can’t just be happy doing that? Why does she need to pull with all her might causing herself to gag in the process? Why can’t she just walk and enjoy the ride?
And yesterday morning as she was pulling and Lucy and I were dragging along I realized that that right there is a perfect analogy to my motherhood at this time of year.
December is kicking my bootie, as I know it is most mothers out there. I’m just like Bo pulling with all my might on that leash (and sometimes cutting off my breath in the process) trying to “get there,” instead of enjoying the journey, trotting along taking in the beautiful view. Why can’t I do that??
Sure, much easier said than done. I am well aware. Because I do this every year. And every year at about this time I vow I will do this differently next year. And then December is once again upon us and it’s like Groundhog’s Day. Over and over and over again.
I did try to switch it up this year. When we found out that Max decided to wait until January to come home from his mission we decided we wanted to serve in our own way this Christmas, just like he is serving over on that island of Taiwan. So we decided to go on the service trip to Ecuador we had looked in to taking Grace and Claire on last summer before Grace’s China internship came into play. We decided to go serve in a special needs orphanage there. We had a special little council with all the girls to see how they would feel about this being our Christmas. No gifts, no packages tied up with string, but an experience that we would get to do together and give our Christmas away.
Lucy wasn’t too keen to jump on the band-wagon at first. With good reason. I mean, that’s a tough thing for an 11-year-old to swallow. Especially Lucy.
But as soon as she heard we’d be close to the Amazon Rain Forrest she was on board. Because you know, that’s where one of the “American Girls” went in one of the books she read and to her that is reason enough to switch up your Christmas 🙂
But I dumbly supposed that cutting out all the normal Santa stuff and presents under the tree would somehow make this Christmas season magical. And I’m sure it will…eventually. But until then, there’s a lot of travel plans trying to solidify (way more complicated than I anticipated), lots of worries rolling around in my brain about each individual child of mine, and still all kinds of Christmas hoopla going on, concerts, field trips, family parties, church parties, homework to stay up all night to do, finals coming up, home school to figure out, sports to sit on the sidelines for (really, I think all sports should be cancelled in December), gifts for extended family and neighbors and Christmas cards…those dang Christmas cards! Ha! (We did simplify a bunch on that too…almost to the point of not doing them…but we’ve done them every year since Dave and I got married nearly 23 years ago and I’m much too much of a creature of habit to throw that tradition out the window…).
Yes, December is nutty any way you look at it.
Yesterday for scriptures we came across Matthew 6:33 that tells us to “Seek ye first…”
I loved talking to the girls about what it means to “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” And as we talked we all talked about what things we’re mixed up “seeking” before what we should really seek (God). All the Christmas fluff can so swiftly take away from “seeking” the right things first. Yes, all the giving and beauty and joy is “seeking the kingdom,” but there is so much that is not. So much that distracts us from seeking the Kingdom of God.
So I wrote a big poster that says, “Seek Ye First…” and put it up in the kitchen to help me remember…to help all of us to remember what’s most important. All the Christmas hoopla is awesome and wonderful…but it should only be filling in after we first “seek first” what’s most important:
That Holy Child in that manger so long ago. The best Christmas gift ever given. “Oh come let us adore Him” by seeking that which is most important.
Ok, just had to get that out, because it was a good lesson to me snuggled up with my girls on the couch…Claire and Lucy were still dead-asleep and Grace was nodding, as was Dave over making breakfast in the kitchen, but for me it spoke to my tired December heart.
And I hope that little sign can help me remember to prioritize right.
In other thoughts…
The hot weather of Fall here in the desert has finally turned crisp. We even got to turn on the fire the other night and I’ve worn sweaters twice 🙂 One night Dave turned on the heat and there’s something about the smell of the heater on in the house that feels so cozy to me.
Lucy and I love listening to Tchaikozsky’s Nutcracker Suite whenever we are home together. The other girls roll their eyes and would rather listen to some rapper guy, but Lucy’s eyes sparkle at the classical stuff and she’s the one who most often is first to turn it on.
My neck has been kinked weird so I can’t twist it for two full weeks now. It is a little on the annoying side.
We have only read one Christmas story under the Christmas tree so far this year. When my kids were little we did that without fail every night. I knew it was great back then and I did cherish it, and now I’m just grateful for any moment we get. It seems like there is something every single night I tell you! But I think that’s one thing that helps me “seek first” so we’re going to make it a priority tonight. Nothing brings in the Christmas spirit to me like letting those beautiful Christmas stories filled with goodness wash over us all snuggled up in the warmly glowing light of the Christmas tree.
Ok, so many more thoughts but I can’t straighten them quite right now so signing off for today.
Off to “seek first” all the goodness of this season offers and try to let the other fluffy things slide a little better.