A mommy lesson to kick off Advent

Samara Christmas 2014

Samara posing after helping to decorate our tree last night. (11/29/14)

I opened my computer with the thought of writing about the Christmas stress that so quickly descends upon us. I know our budget has already felt the restraints tighten and we aren’t even to December yet. But as I started my laptop up (as a distraction to the suitcases that still need to be sorted through and unpacked from a couple weeks ago), Samara came in asking me to play with her.

This question isn’t extraordinary or rare. In fact, it’s pretty common around our house. My girls love to play and they love to have Kyle and I play right alongside them. Samara, who will be four next week, seeks out the quality time (she is so much like her daddy).

Too often I find myself with the same response I had this morning—not right now, but I will later.

Later to a four-year-old is as good as a straight-up no.

Already slightly guilt ridden, I lost it as I heard her go up to Kyle and say, “Mommy doesn’t want to play with me.” I was helpless to stop the tears. It felt as though a small piece of my heart tore at the sound of her disappointed voice.

They are only little once. Everyone has told me this, and I’ve never doubted how quickly it would go by. I did, however, underestimate the responsibility that comes with stopping to play with my girls.

In a season that never slows down. Where more has to be better, I have to wonder how my priorities may shift during a holiday season. On the tail of overcooking and overeating, I have a birthday party to plan for a daughter who won’t tell me who her friends are so I have no idea who to invite, and then we slide right into the plethora of holiday get-togethers. It is an ever teetering balance of friends and family, gifts versus no gifts, another large meal on an already tight budget…and the daily needs of two little girls who are growing up before my very eyes.

The reality is that the chores and decorating can wait. My daughter cannot. I never want her to feels as though she isn’t my priority or that I don’t have time for her. I never want her to stop asking me to play or to spend time with her. Of course, she’ll need to learn that there are times when mommy and daddy need to get things done (and she’ll have her own chores to do)…but for today, it can wait. For today, my role as mommy take precedence over everything else. If for no other reason than to enjoy these precious, fleeting moments while I still have them.

This also happens to be the first week of the Christmas advent season. This week has a focus on hope. That hope which comes only from Jesus is to fill our hearts and our homes this season (and all through the year of course). It is this same hope that assures me that I’m doing okay as a mom. It’s this same hope that reassures me that just as God loves us, He has given me an opportunity to love my children and show them the love I have received so freely.

During this Christmas season, I pray that you find hope in those moments that initially feel like failures. I pray that the hope of Jesus fills your heart and frees you from the guilt. Hope is more than just a wish, it’s a word rooted in trust. Hope is knowing that there is something more and believing it with all your heart, soul, and mind. That hope when placed in Jesus is life changing and I pray that you are able to rest in that hope.


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