Putting the Joy Back in Christmas

Yesterday on Facebook I posted about how the Christmas season had always been one of my favorite times of the year.  When I was a kid I loved wrapping the gifts, decorating the house and everything that came with the Holiday season.  Even into adulthood……I loved it all and embraced every single thing that the season had to bring.  When we first had our kids……that love continued.  I will never forget the year that Libby (our oldest) was born.  Walking into the hospital Christmas night and seeing all of the beautiful decorations.  When she was born very early in the morning the day after Christmas, they hung a stocking on her bassinet.  I still have that stocking and we hang it on the mantle every year.  Then I became a working mother and it seemed like I never had time to enjoy the Holiday season.  Even decorating the house and putting up the tree seemed to take great effort.  With four children, I worried about getting the perfect gifts for my kids, and the cost of said gifts.  The season just became stressful and for years, I have been running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off that last weekend before Christmas getting all of those last minute gift and food for Christmas dinner and breakfast.

The stress of Christmas was compounded Libby’s birthday being the day after Christmas.  Since her very first birthday my husband and I have worked very hard to make sure that she doesn’t feel slighted.  Her “best’ gift is her birthday gift.  When she was younger we would decorate the house early so that we could take down the Christmas decorations after the kids went to bed Christmas night so her birthday would be all about her.  That was DIFFICULT as both Dave and I were exhausted after a long day of opening gifts, Christmas dinner, visiting with family etc.

As the kids got older, it seemed like my stress grew.  Their gift expectations grew as did the expense of those gifts.  I have worked very stressful jobs for years and it seems like November/December are very, very busy times at work.

Somewhere along the line, I have lost what the true meaning of Christmas really is.  It is the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  It’s not about the decorations and gifts or what we will eat for Christmas dinner…..it’s about the gift that is the Son of God!  This year…….I am making a concerted effort to bring my focus back to the true meaning of Christmas.

Does this mean that I won’t try to get the perfect gifts for my kids?  No.  Does this mean that I won’t decorate my house and enjoy sights and sounds of Christmas?  No.  Does it mean that I won’t play every single Christmas CD I own over and over again?  No.  Does it mean that I am going to work very hard to really ENJOY the season and focus on the reason for the season more?  YES!

This year instead of dreading the effort it takes to make the season joyful for others, I am going to embrace sharing God’s gift with those around me.  I am going to focus on the joy that giving wonderful gifts to my husband and children brings me.  I am going to focus on what is right in my world and everything I have to be thankful for.  I am going to focus on the gift that this wonderful time of the year is.

I am bringing the JOY back to my Christmas!!!!!

 

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