Written By Amy
In my last post I shared about an “intentional Christmasing” time our family had together. Today, I would like to share with you another intentional plan I had for my family this Christmas season that didn’t work out so well. Let’s back up just a bit first. Last year, our family went to this wonderful Christmas performance at Cherry Hills Community Church called “Christmas at the Ranch.” Maybe you’ve been. I loved it, because it was a Christ centered event, with high quality singers, performers, and meaning. The songs were all about the real Christmas, the focus on the birth of Jesus and the hope we have in that. This is what I wanted to fill my children’s hearts with in the midst of all the bling and sparkle of Christmas. I couldn’t wait to buy tickets for this year.
In my intentionality to make this happen, I was online as soon as tickets went on sale a couple of months ago, buying seats for my family (even paying a little more for better seats than we had the year before). As the night of the performance drew closer, my anticipation was great! I pictured our happy family, dressing up, going to a nice dinner out down by the church, and the enjoying the concert together, letting our hearts be filled with the joy of the season. Ha ha.
As our family left the neighborhood that night, I had a joyful heart–a night out with our whole family together is a rare and treasured event. About 15 minutes into the drive my children started arguing…and because we were in a two-row car that night, their close proximity escalated the situation. Jon and let them work it out for a minute or two, and then attempted to de-escalate the situation. They settled down for a bit and then out of no where a push from one, a smack from another. Now I had two children crying (this would be more palatable if my youngest wasn’t TEN!). I struggled to keep my spirits up as the kids settled into a quiet simmer at each other. In the midst of this, traffic came to a slow crawl, and my hopes of our sit-down dinner were slipping away. By the time we reached the area of the church, most of our moods were sour, we were hungry, the kids were mad at each other, I was mad at the kids for being mad, and we couldn’t decide on a quick restaurant to grab food (sit down out of the question at this point). We spotted a Chipotle, and swung in there. Somehow on the way from Chipotle to the church, Jonathan and I had a tense discussion between the two of us, which completely tanked any happy spirits I was holding on to. We walked into the church a stressed, grumpy family. I am not proud of this, but it took until the second half of the performance for me to find any joy as a mom in this situation. I prayed as I sat in my seat that God would help me have a joyful heart in the moment. I looked over at my family, and two of my children were asleep. Wow.
I then had a woe is me pity party. “Why as a mom do I put in all this effort to teach my family the real meaning of Christmas and this is what I get? Why did I spend all of this money? This was a total waste of time.” I was able to scrape my mood off of the floor by the end of the night, but would I do it next year? Not so sure. I know now that I had overdone my expectations quite a bit, and that I had obviously put too much hope in this one experience for my family. I also know this story above is real life. It is what happens more often than the picture perfect scene I was hoping for. I can even laugh about it now!
Here’s the amazing tie-in to Christmas. In hindsight, had I known how the evening would turn out, I would have never bought those tickets. However, God, in all of his intentionality, did know how sending his one and only Son to earth would turn out. He knew it would end disastrously for his son. Yet, he still sent Jesus, in the form of a tiny fragile baby to this earth. God sent his son, in the most vulnerable state possible, to lead the world into a relationship with him. After 33 years on earth, Jesus would be hung on a cross in a brutal death. Great suffering, anguish and pain. And yet, God went through with it. He still sent Jesus to teach, love and set an example for us. He still sent his Son to die, redeeming us of all our sin, for all those who put their trust in Him. God had hindsight, and foresight, and decided, because of his great love for us, to still buy the ticket.
Christmas is about love. I am going to remind myself of that during this stressful time, filled with expectations that most likely won’t be met. God bought the ticket because he loves me, and that’s all that matters.