I woke up feeling a little sorry for myself this morning, sorry for my family, too. It hasn’t been the Christmas season we expected or wanted, and I’m left wondering: how do you give your kids a good Christmas when nothing seems right in your world?
We’ve spent the entire month of December ill now. Influenza spread slowly from one family member to another. Several children ended up with infections. My asthmatic lungs were hit hard and our physician threatened me with hospital time.
Thankfully, it was just bronchitis and not pneumonia.
Just bronchitis, ha.
A pharmacy worth of medicines clutters our kitchen counters still – fever reducers, cough meds, antibiotics – you name it, we probably have it right now. Or at least that’s the way it feels.
Then, this weekend during our church Christmas program practice, our middle boy began complaining of stomach pain. By the time we had removed costumes and were ready to leave, he was on the floor curled up in a ball, crying. It frightened me because he is our tough cookie, the kid who rarely complains of pain.
So, when he started to scream that his stomach hurt, I left immediately for the closest ER!
We spent a day and a half at the hospital under observation, with many people praying – the world over. The surgeon mentioned appendicitis, but his symptoms didn’t fit exactly. Finally, his white blood cell count dropped, his pain subsided and we were able to go home.
We were overjoyed! He talked about playing with his little brother and sister and how happy he was to come home in time for Christmas. I grinned in the front seat, glad to have my funny, enthusiastic boy back. We were almost home.
All seemed right in the world again.
And then, suddenly it wasn’t.
Our oldest son woke in the middle of the night with an asthma attack. Then, I got sick and so did he. On top of that, the only little one who didn’t already have an ear infection complained that his ear hurt.
I’ll admit, friends, my heart travelled straight from rejoicing to complaining because it’s almost Christmas and it just doesn’t seem fair, really. Our children were only back at school for a week, and already ill again!
How can you give your kids a good Christmas when everything goes wrong?
I know I’m not the only one struggling for joy right now. In fact, I’m certain that many of you are experiencing trials much deeper and more painful than ours. If I really knew the depth of them, I’d probably be ashamed of my own complaining.
And maybe you’re a mom like me who doesn’t really mind so much for herself, but for the kids!
Maybe you lie awake at night worrying about life circumstances. Maybe you’re experiencing the pain of loss or separation from loved ones. Maybe your finances are in such a state that you don’t even know where your next meal is coming from.
Maybe you catch hold of joy for a few moments only to quickly lose it again.
Whatever your lot might be this Christmas, know this: you can still give your kids a good Christmas.
You can give your kids a good Christmas without health, without money, without extravagance.
You can give your kids a good Christmas in spite of pain, loss, broken relationships, and whatever other trials you might be experiencing.
You can because He came.
9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
He came! Emmanuel, God WITH us – that’s what Christmas is really about. Christ, the Hope of the world, in human flesh, for love of our wandering hearts.
We have to let go of this expectation of holiday perfection and embrace the reality that human life is flawed, messy, painful, even at Christmas.
Christ came right into the midst of that mess, born in a stable – there’s nothing clean about that.
You want to give your kids a good Christmas?
Let go of the worry.
Show them Hope, Love and Peace.
Teach them of the Savior who willingly left Heaven’s splendor to suffer alongside us here on Earth. That’s a Love like no other, my sisters in Christ. He chose us. He chose pain. He chose death, so that we might experience life in abundance.
He did it for you, for me, for them.
He did it “for all the people.”
The wonder of Christmas has little to do with presents and food and fun.
The wonder of Christmas is the keeping of a thousands-of-years-old promise, hundreds of promises, really. The wonder of Christmas is Christ.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Do you feel it, friends?
The joy of Christmas is spreading right through us.
It cannot be contained. The whole of creation leaps with joy – He is born! Promise fulfilled, salvation at hand, redemption nigh. Hope in human flesh.
Here’s how to give your kids a good Christmas: tell them the story of Jesus.
It’s the only thing that truly matters.
Clinging to hope and joy along with you this Christmas season,