Our home has become a Christmas Carol as we have “Decked the Halls” with splashes of Christmas everywhere. The Christmas tree stands like a proud grandmother decorated with sentimental ornaments that span the decades. Gazing at ornaments bearing our children’s names bring back so many fond memories. Like most moms, Christmas prompts memories only a mother can remember. The season is a time of reflection and remembering. It seems to trigger countless emotions and memories in everyone; some good, some bad and some, well, not so pretty.
As the mother of seven, each Christmas shared with my children holds a special place and is treasured in my heart. Some of our children do not get to come home for Christmas and we miss them terribly. Most of our children are grown, with families and children of their own. Our family is a “special blend” full of unique personalities. As with all families, we have experienced our share of personal ups and downs. Sometimes it feels as though I am riding backwards on a roller coaster, holding on for dear life as it continues looping over and over again.
One of this year’s treasured memories is of Candice’s three year old son picking out his mother’s ornament on our tree. She made the ornament when she was his age and it shows her preschool picture. I love watching his face light up when he points to her picture and announces, “That’s my mom!” One day he will have her ornament hanging on his own tree. While it is a future memory for him, it’s a treasure for me today.
Even with the not so good memories of our family, I am reminded that God works out all things for His glory and our good. Each child is in their own special walk with the Lord, some just a little further down the road than others. My husband, Robin, reminds me of this biblical truth all the time. He always seems to know how to say just the right words when life starts to make me feel overwhelmed or dizzy. He reminds me that everything is going to be all right. These simple words of wisdom always soothe my soul and bring me back to balance.
For me, the key was to look at my children the way God sees them. It is important to remember that God has made each person, family member and child, unique and special. Just because they are not you or think like you does not make them wrong, just different. God has a special purpose for each of us. Here’s a great exercise for you before your family has their first get-together. Take some time this season and write down the good qualities you see in your children and other family members. When I did my own list I discovered some wonderful things about my children that I had taken for granted.
For instance, Ethan, the oldest, loves a good adventure and is always stepping outside the box, while making his own way in the world. Adrian is a natural born salesman with a beautiful smile and a servant’s heart. Christina is articulate and loves to please the Lord. Candice has a special heart for children and is a terrific mom. Layla is a caring soul who uncovers the very best in every person she meets. Carter is spirited and a hard worker. Good looking too! Hunter is tender hearted and gives to others like every day’s Christmas.
Regardless of the way things may appear right now in your family, try the exercise and remember to thank God for each person. After you have written down their good qualities and thanked God, proclaim out loud these words from Lamentations 3:57, “You came close when I called out, you said; it’s going to be all right.” It really is going to be all right, God says so!
While Christmas may only be one day a year of celebration, the birth we celebrate has changed lives every day and forever. Mary recognized quite early the significance and purpose of Jesus birth. In one verse, Luke 2:19, we see the magnitude of her earthly understanding and the value of God’s children revealed. “But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Let us all ponder the magnitude of our responsibility for the welfare of our world, and then, take action.