The whirlwind of the Christmas season has started. We've already been to a live nativity and helped with gingerbread house making and cookie decorating. We still have band concerts, parties, shopping and a cookie party to come. All of this on top of our regular regimen of practice, Girl Scouts and music lessons.
It's easy to get so busy simply getting where we need to be somewhere close to the time we need to be there that we forget to stop and treasure the moments. It's easy to go through the motions -- attend church, see a Christmas pageant, read our favorite Christmas books, go caroling and gather with family -- without ever really enjoying the season.
Unfortunately, the most joyous time of the year turns into a time of stress, and sometimes hurt, for many. When our stress level rises, we're less likely to offer grace and patience to family and friends. We're less likely to enjoy the shopping, the baking and the schedule juggling. And we're less likely to savor the precious moments of awe and discovery with our kids.
We took our kids to a live nativity last night. It was actually a walk through the events leading up to Jesus' birth. We heard the story of Adam and Eve from Moses, the prophecies of Christ's birth from David, Isaiah and Micah and saw all of the events involving Mary and Joseph. The highlight was the manger scene, with a real baby and a real cow -- even in the 28-degree weather. The scene was awe-inspiring. It really brought home the reality of a baby born in a stable and what that meant for us.
Watching my kids stand next to the baby, I could see in my mind the shepherds -- some of whom probably weren't that much older than my oldest daughter -- gathered around Mary and Joseph. They had come to see this baby that a host of angels had told them about. And now, I was sharing that moment with my kids. It was a moment to treasure.
Yet, we almost missed that moment. The only time we could get to go to the nativity was nearly at bedtime. It was cold. My youngest was having a tough day. We contemplated staying home or leaving my youngest and daddy at home. I'm so glad we didn't. I'm so glad we decided the moment was more important than our comfort.
This Christmas, do what Mary did when the shepherds came to visit. "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). Enjoy the moments of awe and discovery with your kids. When you or one of your kids recognizes the awesomeness of Jesus coming to earth, stop and ponder the moment. Share a conversation with your child. Pray together. Sing a song of worship. But stop in the middle of the hustle and bustle and treasure the moment in your heart.
Christmas is a busy time. There's no sense in pretending that we can clear the decks on our schedules and simply ignore the family gatherings, the office parties and the kids' obligations. What we can do is take a moment, just a moment, in the midst of the busyness and treasure the times when we or our kids find Jesus in the season.
Looking for ways to create moments to treasure with your kids? Check out Lori's new e-book Everyday Christmas: Helping your kids find Jesus in the everyday moments of the season. You can find it on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or as a PDF download at everydaytruth.net.