What Christmas song gets you every time? The one that stops you in your tracks, makes you bend your head for a second, and stills your soul? For me, it’s O Holy Night. Yours might be Jingle Bells for all I know. What I do know is that Christmastime is a time for suckers like me to get sucked into sloppy sentimentality. It’s kind of funny if you think about it. We have seen the same movies, put up the same decorations, sang the same songs for generations, but it gets us every time. Maybe the regular-ness of it is what gets me. Seeing the Santa sleigh that my Grandma had on her record player every Christmas as long as I can remember, now on the shelf above my computer, missing 6 out of 8 reindeer, dented and scratched from years of kids and grandkids playing with it, brings me back to every Christmas I have ever known. It’s strangely comforting.
The stress my kids feel at 11, 9, and 5 is more than I felt in my entire childhood combined. Their school is an amazing school, yet highly competitive. They aren't allowed to laugh loudly at lunch, throw snowballs at recess, have Christmas parties with cake and punch, pass out birthday invitations…they are expected to do hours of homework a week, and be at the top of their game every day. Do I blame their teachers? Nope. They are amazing and fantastic. Do I blame the administration? Nope, except a 10am start time to their day would be nice! I get why things are so hard. Much of the rest of the world’s 4th and 5th graders are light years ahead of our children academically. We, as a nation need to make education a priority more than ever if we want to keep up with the rest of the world.
I had a long talk with Maddie about this last night. I told her, “Maddie, your Daddy and I don’t want to make your life “easier”, we want your life to be filled with peace.” How do we do that? I don’t know fully yet, but we are trying some things to bring peace to our own home.
What I do know this season is that more than ever we need to draw our family back to the truth of Christmas. We need to immerse ourselves of the blessing of God come to Earth. We need to create opportunities for us and the girls to look into the eyes of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. We need to hear the angels sing again, and listen as the shepherds did to the truth of God come to Earth to save us all.
We are using an amazing tool called the Advent Conspiracy to guide us through this season. If you don’t know about it, go check out their site. Rob and I will be posting on our progress through the Advent season with the girls periodically between now and Christmas.