Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wrapping Up Christmas

Another Christmas is in the books. With a house full of 10 year olds the tone was different this year. There was excitement about Santa (marked by a bit of skepticism) and gifts from relatives (R pronounces this word ree-late-ives) but there was also a greater legitimate understanding of Advent. We didn't use Ann Voskamp's book every night, but the nights we did were rich with conversation, revealing insights into my kiddos' hearts. On the night we discussed the Baals/idols in our hearts one of my children said "I care too much about people cheering for me and thinking I'm good at everything."



My favorite thing about Christmas morning was watching them exchange gifts with one another. Our school's book fair was held two weeks ago, so I gave each child a $20 allowance for their siblings and set them loose. (Ideally they would spend their own money, but we aren't doing allowances right now.)

It was so much fun to see them shop. R was decisive and impulsive--finished in under 5 minutes. P took a thoughtful approach, telling me over and over how much he wanted to get just the right thing. K's gifts were personal, yet playful and silly, just like the giver.On Christmas morning the looks on each of their faces as they watched the others open the selected gifts revealed that the joy of giving was becoming real in their hearts.

Some traditions like having a birthday cake for Jesus as part of our Christmas brunch were met with a bit of growniness from my ten-agers, but the tradition of giving a gift to Him was richer.

I am reminded of the beauty of tradition. We ebb and flow in our enjoyment of them, but they remain steadfast as reminders of what we hold dear through the passage of time.

(Can we talk about how I gulped when I saw this picture from our afternoon walk on Christmas Day? He will be my height next Christmas, no doubt...)

And now we bask in the Christmas afterglow. The pressure to do, buy, plan, wrap, bake, party is off. This is the time for pajamas until late in the day. Nestling down, making room for new gifts and reveling in what we have received. We don't want to move on "back to normal" too quickly.

"Don't let the joy of Christmas fade away. Celebrate every day the wonder of God sending his Son on a sacrificial mission of redeeming grace." -Paul David Tripp

Even as I pack up our decorations next week, I pray that I will hold tight to the gifts I received this Christmas. Not the sweaters and jewelry... but the intangibles that this season brings as refreshment to my soul each year.

Jesus received gold, frankincense and myrrh. My heart received insights, peace and memories of moments shared with family and friends. May we, like Mary, take the time to be still and "ponder these things in our heart."

The boxes, bags, lights and bows will soon be stowed away, but may it be said that we are changed.

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