the parents’ Christmas lists
‘Twas the year before Christmas, and all through the world, plan-ahead parents are writing down potential gifts for their family and friends. The parents’ Christmas translate to seemingly endless lists.
A list of the gifts the mommy, the daddy and the children were given. Doing this gives them the idea of what to expect or the amount they could reciprocate in kind. Also, the past gifts that the family gave out, so there’d be no duplicate. I confess I do not do these, do you?
A list of shops where we frequent, or new stores to consider for the year. The mommy would probably trial-shop at these stores to test the products, the shipping schedule and customer service. Then, she’d know if it’s worth buying from when the holidays roll around. *wink, wink, elbow, elbow*
the Christmas build-up
‘Twas the month before Christmas, and all among the parents, there are those who consult their lists again; checking off a couple of to-do or to-buy items.
Slowly, panic is building up. As plans become part of the lists and calendars are being filled in, the realization of being holiday-ready would hit like a child slamming the doors on our faces.
Parents go through each day asking themselves, “What must I add to the list for the children’s school Christmas program or party? Are their costumes complete? What are the gifts my child will give to their classmates and teachers? What is our budget again?”
Slowly, expenses are building up. Money doesn’t seem to stay too long in our wallets anymore. Or credit card bill amounts seem to balloon overnight because of the online shopping.
Until a few weeks before Christmas, some plans do not push through. Some items were not checked off. There are some gifts that weren’t bought. The children got sick. My youngest had fever on the last two days of her school for the year and was absent. 🙁 It’s difficult to see my kid enjoying the Christmas vacation less because she had to rest and take medicine.
Slowly, guilt is building up. A week before Christmas and our Christmas tree wasn’t up yet. The house is still a mess. The gifts were already trickling in, thus, I made a semi-tree out of the pile of gifts. *sheepish grin*
Here I am on Instagram, posting a photo of a tree that isn’t ours.
Not to mention the menu that needed to be planned. Or the Christmas trip to be prepared for, like the itinerary and the packing.
the meaningful gifts
Christmastime is a time of celebration and gatherings, because being with family and friends is important. It’s a way for stay-at-home-parents to reconnect with other grown-ups. The gifts that we give this season show our appreciation for the people God placed in our lives.
Yet, these problems and pauses are God’s way of reminding us to slow down, to rest, and…
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;∼Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The parents’ Christmas is one way to introduce and strengthen their children’s faith in Jesus Christ.
It’s also one of those times that we exhibit selflessness. When we see our children, our partners, our family members healthy and happy, we feel satisfied. When we see our children tearing open the gifts with smiles on their faces, it’s okay if we do not get the material things on our short wish lists.
For us, the most meaningful gifts are the intangible ones. It’s cliché but love, joy and peace are what we desire the most, deep down. Those are the gifts that Jesus could give us, it’s up to us to believe and receive.
the Christmas chill 😉
Maybe, by now, you and your kids have opened every last bit of gift. It’s probably a time to savor each other’s company, to play with the children the toys that they got (Pie Face, anyone?). We could set aside our lists for a while; read a book and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate for a while.
There’s nothing wrong with relaxing on Christmas morning. The dishes and the piles of gift wrapper can wait. Our presence mean more than the presents they opened.
You may be on that planned trip right now. My family and I just got back from ours. The days leading up to the new year could be confusing, I even forgot what day it was, and we may feel like we need to do something… productive. But, being with our family and connecting with them IS productive, emotionally.
Well, whatever we do, or wanted to do but life happened, or what we don’t do for our family and loved ones, God reminds us to do it with love. He sees our mother and father hearts.
1 Corinthians 16:14 (NIV)
14 Do everything in love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.