god bless the christmas mamas, every one

Around here, Christmas looks something like this:

It’s Christmas lights and long lines and photo cards and apple cider and a last minute this and a beautiful that and it is all going too quickly.

We play cards and dominoes, Sorry and twenty questions, and we eat too much chocolate and laugh too loud, we stay up too late and the kids are too excited to sleep in and it’s the only Christmas these beautiful faces will be the magical ages of 8, 10, 11, and 12 and I ache a little when I think about that.

In one dark theater we watched Frozen and in another we gazed on beautiful dancers and cheered for the Nutcracker, we have read scriptures around our sturdy kitchen table and spoken of the Advent of Christ with awe in our hearts, and all of the stories point us to Him and His love and the wondrous tale of how He came for us.

I wrestle with a torrent of holiday emotions and a mountain of red and green work, I clean and cook and clean again, I shop and wrap and shop some more, there’s one more batch of hot cocoa and one more pan of cookies, we carry tired children from cars and weary hearts to the manger for a little peace and a silent night.

Christmas will wear you out.

Jesus mamas know that love doesn’t grow on trees, and if we’re going to have any love to give our babies we have to kneel and receive some first.

This year I have one wish for all the mamas I know. I hope you open your bibles in the quiet hush of Christmas morning, either before the chaos begins or during a lull in the flurry of joy, and I pray you find God’s gift there for you. It’s wrapped and waiting, carefully selected just for you. It is the gift of love and perspective, of strength and faith, it breathes hope into your tired bones and waters even the driest of souls.

We don’t often mention His gift in conversation, it’s the one we think we may never actually get, and the one no one but our God can give us. But we need it most of all.

Because when the lights fade, the tree comes down, the carols end, the work slows, and this epic seasonal joy rolls into everyday life we will need His voice singing over us.

Christmas will come and go. A new year will begin and become an old year too quickly. Our children will grow and change. Birthday candles will be lit and blown out. Smiles will shine, tears will fall, every season has its beauty and its pain and 2017 will be no different.

But God never changes. He doesn’t come and go. Our Heavenly Father isn’t a candle that can be blown out or a day that is checked off on the calendar.

He won’t move away or let us go or take a few days off.

As we clean up shredded wrapping paper and discarded bows from the last of the gifts tomorrow, His gift for us be rewrapped and waiting for us the to sit in the quiet and listen again to His voice.

Christmas is never really over because Christ is born to us, He is God with us, every day of the year. Again and again we can come to Him and He will have more love and beauty to give us than our hearts can hold.

Happy, joyful Christmas to you, dear friends. May it be the best and most beautiful Christmas of your life. And may the gifts never end.