We had a good Christmas. We didn't make the requested sausages and pancakes from the last few years. We had blueberry muffins and bacon instead. We opened stockings and gifts, picked up Steve's Mom from the nursing home, then shared a potluck Christmas dinner with some other families in our church. We came home, watched White Christmas with his Mom, gave her the shoes that Steve's siblings all bought her together, ate a quick snacky supper, then took her back to the nursing home. We drove over to see the light display in a nearby town, then came home, watched an episode of Monk together and decorated more Christmas cookies before bed. It wasn't a fancy day, but it was a good day. We didn't even have very much fighting between the kids.
Yesterday evening and this morning, I saw friends on facebook talking about how they weren't able to buy gifts for their kids, and I was thankful we were able to give gifts to our children, even if it was only about $40 per child. I think everyone was happy with their gifts, even if they didn't receive big-ticket items. I had been feeling badly that we couldn't spend more and that we'd mostly bought practical gifts instead of fun gifts. It just put things in perspective to remember that just being able to buy gifts was a blessing. It helped that my children (other than a few comments) seemed to enjoy their gifts and were thankful for them. All those hours spent worrying that they'd be disappointed were such a waste of my time and energy.
I saw friends posting that they weren't able to share the day with friends or family, and I was thankful that all my children were home, safe and sound. I was also thankful we were able to share Christmas dinner with our church family, and Steve's Mom. I'm even more thankful to know my parents and possibly sisters will be here this weekend to spend a few days with us. Maybe we aren't taking a trip anywhere, but we spent Christmas with friends and family, and that is so much more important to me.
Even worrying about our gifts and the events of our day show how privileged my life is. Some people are worrying about basic necessities when I'm hoping I can give my family a magical day. We had a warm home, with our electricity working. We had food in the cupboards, a working refrigerator (even if it is in the basement), and plenty of clothes to wear. We have a bed for every member of our family, and lots of blankets. We are healthy, even if we do feel like we get hit with too many viruses at this time of the year. We have nothing to complain about.
I shouldn't have spent so much time worrying about making Christmas good or perfect for my kids. But I did. As if it's my job to make Christmas be perfect? As if Christmas is about our enjoyment and happiness anyway, rather than celebrating the Savior?
I can not be everything to everyone, though I keep trying to be. It isn't even God's plan. He wants my family to look to Him, not to me. Sometimes, the expectations I put on myself are so heavy. I have to remind myself that is my yoke, not God's yoke.
"For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:30
Hopefully next Christmas I'll be able to keep a better perspective. I'm pretty sure that Peace on Earth doesn't include worrying about if my kids will like their gifts, or if they will be bored. I'll have to come back and read this again, to remind myself of what is truly important, and where true joy and peace lie.