Surviving Christmas

The packages have all been unwrapped. The 1254-piece Lego set has been assembled. The stockings have been emptied and the Christmas dinner consumed. Christmas is over.

To be honest, I’m just a little bit glad. Christmas this year kind of got lost. Between hockey tournaments and unexpected trips to Kentucky, many of our traditions didn’t happen this year. I was still shopping the weekend before Christmas. I didn’t wrap presents until late on Christmas Eve. My mantra for the last week has been “If I can just get through Christmas …” as if Christmas was something to be endured.

I sat in Christmas Eve service on Monday night exhausted and trying to focus on Jesus, and I failed. It wasn’t until we sang “Silent Night” that I finally felt that focus slipping into place — for just a moment. By the time we got home, I was back to being focused on my to-do list: feed everyone, get showers, read Christmas books, read Luke 2, put everyone to bed, wrap presents, etc. I even snapped at my girls as we wrapped their presents for my husband.

It’s a rare Christmas Eve that my husband has more Christmas spirit than I do, but that was the case this year. By the time I fell into bed on Christmas Eve, all I wanted to do was sleep until next week. But the next morning, sitting in a circle in front of the tree with my family, I found what was missing — in the prayer of a 9-year-old.

We sat down to take a moment to remember who Christmas is really all about — Jesus. We each took a turn praying and thanking God for Jesus. My 9-year-old’s prayer went something like this: “Thank you, God, for Jesus, your one and only Son. Thank you for sending Him to die on the cross to save all of us. And please help people like the Connecticut shooter and the people that did 9/11 to find you, too.”

In that moment, I got the Christmas spirit. My daughter’s simple prayer reminded me that Jesus came and He died, even for people who do horrible things. He loves us all, and Christmas is for everyone. As she prayed, I felt like the Grinch as my heart grew to enjoy the simplicity and love found in God’s amazing act at Christmas.

It didn’t matter that I had missed much of the Christmas season. It didn’t matter that my husband and I didn’t manage any big surprises for each other this year, it didn’t even matter that my brand new Christmas-present dishwasher broke. Because my daughter’s prayer reminded me that it’s not about the stuff, it’s not about the traditions, it’s not even about the family get-together. It’s about Jesus.

So my day after Christmas wish for you is that your Christmas was blessed and your families are well. May you enjoy the rest of the moments in this year. And may you keep your focus on Jesus throughout the year.

Linking up today with A Wise Woman Builds Her Home and Word Filled Wednesday.

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