How I Found The Christmas Spirit

(Even though it's out of focus, there is just something I like about this picture.)

Derek went Christmas shopping for me on Monday.  I have a strong suspicion on what he might have bought me (I won't write it here and ruin it for him if I'm right).  Whatever it is, I am sure seeing what my husband picked out for me will make up for the fact that I was left to put the kids to bed alone.

I used to be a pro at getting the kids settled in bed in a timely and smooth manner, back in the day when there were only three of them and I had lots of practice since Derek was on the road for months at a time.  I seem to have lost the skill.  I have only had to put the kids to bed by myself a handful of times since we brought the kid total up to four.  Let me just say that it usually ends with me on the brink of a nervous breakdown.  Kids under five have a lot of energy, multiply that times four, and then double it with the last-hoorah-before-sleep surge.  That is how bedtime is around here, which is why it is usually a two person sport. 

(Though I have to admit, Derek takes bedtime to give me a break, and seems to handle it all much smoother than me.  I can't decide if I should blame fatigue and hormones, or claim that the kids behave better for him.)

But back to our evening sans dad.  After threatening an early bedtime, I finally decided to follow through.  I made sure everyone was in their pajamas, and decided the crew was relatively calm and we could fit in a Christmas storybook.  I picked out an adorable volume that had something to do with the Nativity, because I have felt the guilt of slacking on imparting the true meaning of Christmas to my kids.  

Two kids, who shall remain nameless, decided that the start of the story was their cue to start crying.  And they just kept going, despite my pleading with them to calm down.  I finally gave up and just read the story of two little mice who found out a King was coming to visit their stable.  I read it loudly, while the two non-crying children tried to pay attention over the noise.  Then they gave up and started bouncing on the bed, and I resorted to depositing the two crying children in the living room so at least half my offspring could learn the true meaning of Christmas if it was the last thing I did!  (In retrospect, I should have just plopped everyone who can chew down with some gumdrops and water.  That would have cut down on the noise considerably.)

I managed my way through the last two pages and read the final line. "He came . . . even for a little one like me."

I looked at my babies, and tried for some last-minute spiritual instruction.  "Jesus came for everyone," I said, preparing my gospel-for-preschoolers presentation.

But my three year old interrupted me.  "Yeah, because Jesus loves us!" she exclaimed.

And I looked at her, and I realized they hadn't been missing it.

It came as a surprise, because Christmas has felt like a mess this year.  I have tried to keep it simple, but I have still found myself stressed, and crying, and very much lacking the Christmas spirit (and I do blame the hormones for that).  I've managed a Christmas craft, but missed the cookie baking.  We watched a couple Christmas movies, but forgot the carols.  We were consistent with advent Bible verses, but I've been slacking on the Christmas books.  I have felt like a big failure in the Christmas department.

But my little girl instantly put all that in perspective for me.  Because Christmas, it has never been about what we do.  Christmas is about what Jesus did.  He came, because He loves us.  I was worried they weren't getting it, but I was the one who had lost my Christmas focus.

And as I let those sweet simple words, from a children's book and my daughter's mouth, soak into my heart, I felt a little bit of the Christmas spirit soak back in too.

Merry Christmas, friends.  Wishing you all the joy that comes when you remember that it's really all about Him.

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Becky @ bybmg said...

You're doing great, mama! I feel like Christmas with little ones is just hard - and just trying to make sure they get it can be tough. Merry Christmas!



Trish at Birdhouse Books said...

That is a beautiful story and a perfect message for Christmas. Your family Christmas photo is lovely, too!

Angela Tolsma said...

love your photos.

Becky @Disney in your Day said...

This is so sweet :) Also you are a saint for dealing with 4 kids - I honestly can't even imagine handling one yet, much less 4. Beautiful family!

Meghan said...

This is beautiful Callie. Thanks for sharing.

Lauren English said...

Your family is beautiful and so is your heart for them, Callie. I can't imagine the ups and downs of growing and nurturing four littles but I have loved getting to know you and learning about how you do it through your blog. Your kiddos are lucky to have a mama like you! :)

Kelsie Kleinmeyer said...

This is so so sweet. Your photos are gorgeous!!

Jennyb said...

You sound like you have a gorgeous family. The photo is beautiful too. Merry Christmas!

Cara Owens-Kindly Unspoken said...

Found you on the link-up this week. Like you, it sometimes amazes me how intuitive our children really are and even when we think they aren't listening, they are. Hearing my children's sweet prayers this past week was really special for me and hearing them thank Jesus was so sweet. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Long Ladies said...

What a lovely family! You are in a very busy season of life. I remember how when I was there (with 4 littles 5 and under), all those cliche' words didn't help, so I will spare you. But this one thing... keep looking for those moments when the Lord speaks to you. And record them! You won't believe how much you forget. ~Cheryl @The Long Way to Go

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