Mistakes to avoid during Christmas
Someone once said that mothers set the tone of the home. I imagine this is particularly true during the holidays. And it is also true at my house.
Long before the lights started going up, or the sales began to be advertised for the season, I thought to myself, “I need to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.” How I wish I could say I stuck to that intention.
Unfortunately, like most mothers, I got caught up in trying to make Christmas truly special for our family, and in the process I lost sight of what was truly important.
So, to all my fellow mothers out there who desired to make memories that your children would remember for the rest of their lives, but you felt completely exhausted and drained in the process, let me share with you a couple of major mistakes I made this Christmas.
The first mistake I made was to get caught up with the distractions of Christmas rather than discussing the purpose of it.
This year we put up twice as many Christmas lights; we bought presents for others; we wrapped presents for teachers and made candy cane reindeer for classmates; we baked cookies and put up a bigger, brighter Christmas tree. We did all these things with the hope of enjoying the Christmas traditions that make this season so much fun.
However, I found myself making checklists of all the things that needed to be done and explaining what we were going to do rather than describing these traditions and why we were doing them.
In such instances, we often ended up having disagreements about our Christmas plans or presents, and we did not spend enough time simply talking about and celebrating the birth of Christ. I had become distracted from the very thing I wanted to point the kids to.
My second major mistake was not having my own heart focused on Christ, the true meaning of Christmas. Despite hearing messages at church and in my daily Bible readings, I found myself on edge most of this holiday season. The pressure of creating a perfect memory consumed me.
Ironically, I was snapped back to reality during a simple drive to a piano lesson. The traffic was particularly heavy, so I popped in a DVD to entertain my kids and help avoid the inevitable whining that would occur from being stuck in the car so long. It turned out the DVD was “The Nativity Story.”
After a while the kids grew quiet, and I was able to listen, truly listen with the ears of a mother. I heard anew about the glorious reality of God wrapped in the flesh of a precious baby. I listened as this miraculous child descended upon an unsuspecting earth through the womb of a virgin and was born in the most humble of circumstances, a stable.
It wasn’t about the lights, gifts, trees, and decorations; these things do not point to the real meaning of Christmas.
Christmas really is about simply remembering the birth of Jesus, the joy and peace we sing of in our songs. How could this simple truth escape me most of this holiday season?
It is my hope that many of the mothers out there did not make the same mistake I did this Christmas season. I hope that you were able to use the unique activities of this season as platforms to have conversations with your children about why we celebrate Christmas in the ways that we do, and why Jesus is so special.
While I recognize that not everyone celebrates Christmas, I am glad that I can celebrate and mention the name of Jesus publicly and more freely and experience less push-back from the politically correct yet religiously intolerant — at least for now.
[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]