Every year I struggle with Christmas. I smile at my children and remind them that it's not about the receiving and not about the money to buy gifts and yadda, yadda, yadda. I do believe that the Savior, Jesus Christ was born in a manger in Bethlehem surrounded by barnyard friends and his parents. I believe that he came to set us all free from our sinning behavior and bring us to a hope of eternal life. I believe in Christmas. So, why do I place this sense of false guilt on myself every December that I cannot provide this over-the-top gift giving experience to my kids? Not only that, but I have two boys who's birthdays are the 20th and 21st of December (I know, I should've done the math, but I had other things on my mind). So getting the birthday gifts to remember and not be overshadowed by the other child's birthday and the Savior's birthday is quite the challenge. Of course, Jesus' birth is a huge part of this season and it surrounds our hearts no matter the day, but you know what I mean. I just want my kids to know how special they are on their birthdays. Ok, ok, back to Christmas.....
Why do I get my mind caught up in the comparison, commericialism of it all? I know the Holy Spirit dwells within me through the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Savior. Why can't I be content? Why do I let myself become envious and jealous of those Instagram pictures of glorious Christmas trees stacked high with gifts underneath reaching the middle bows of the tree? The facebook posts of my friends, acquaintences and their friends telling how they're done shopping, in the middle of shopping, looking for the perfect gift or stressing over "getting it all done" make me take my mind off of the real truth of the season and put me on edge about my lack of performing as a typical, American, loving, provisional mother/spouse. I would love to shower my peeps with the 12 Days of Christmas or the desire of their hearts this season but I just can't seem to care about purchasing gifts. I'm a lame giver, I know this. On one hand, I don't want to buy and on the other hand, I want to go crazy and empty store shelves of meaningless plastics that I will inevitably have to pick up or dust off or wash in the near future.
Then my mind is saturated in the visions of Mary giving birth in the stable. I've given birth 5 times now and had I been told that my only option was to labor in the stable, I would've crossed my legs.... hard. But seriously, she gave birth to the one she knew was coming to save us all by humbling herself in a barn. Not much is retold in the scriptures about the actual birth. Shocking. A man wrote those versions, because we all know as moms that our birth stories are riveting and everyone wants to hear it!! But as one who has traveled the road of childbirth a few times, I can't help but wonder about Mary. Her mind was on this child, Jesus. God brought him into this world in the most meager of circumstances. I want to forget about gifts. I want to forgo the shopping for mounds of things under the tree. I want my children and hubby to know that they are so special to me this Christmas! I want to stay there, mentally, in the stable knowing that Christ came from a place of service and giving from the start and I don't want to forget the season of Christmas.
I want a genuine Christmas.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.