“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Emmanuel” (which means “God with us”).
I love the magic of Christmas- the wonder of it. I love twinkling lights and decorating the tree. I love Christmas cards and nativities and the elves and Santa. I love Christmas cookies and carols and pageants and plays and the Nutcracker and wrapping gifts and the music and …
My love for the season can be a TAD overwhelming.
Then I became a mom and may have overwhelmed myself with the belief that I make Christmas happen:
I fill the advent calendar with the crafts, activities and traditions that my family will remember;
I buy the gifts that we wrap and deliver;
I read all the Christmas books and insist we cuddle by the fire;
I pile us all on the piano bench and lead Christmas carols;
I drive…and drive…and drive to all the amazing Christmas happenings that are happening around us.
Last year I did a lot of planning and not a lot of executing. The first week of advent started well! We did everything that was listed for each day- the craft, activity, reading- done. We saw Christmas lights all over the Seattle area. The second week, we all got sick. (Maybe it was exhaustion from the previous week? Who can really say.) I was beyond frustrated that we were missing all these important things!!! Then I saw the important things happening in my own home:
Little hearts wanting me to tell them stories of Christmas past;
Little arms wanting hugs and cuddles;
Curious minds wanting to see pictures of me and daddy when we were little on Christmas;
Tired bodies wanting nothing more than to cuddle up and watch the Christmas lights sparkle on the tree.
They want me.
That’s it. Just me.
They want me to be with them.
The reality is I’m with my kids ALL the time. But to be with them…to stop, put everything down and look them in the eyes. To listen, really listen to their imaginations run wild. To hold them and not even think that the laundry needs to be folded or their hair needs to be brushed or whatever constantly distracts me.
Maybe this is what my Christmas gift to my family can be.
To embrace “Emmanuel. God with us.”
He gave up heaven and angels singing and perfection to be with us. To enter our world and feel what we feel and touch what we touch. Then He asks us, so gently, to be like Him. Sometimes I forget that the holiest ground might be right in front of me. I can be Jesus to the hearts that live in my home. The simplest way to be like Jesus- and hardest to get to- might just be being with them.
I’m never going to get it exactly right because I am never going to be exactly Jesus. And that’s ok. We will still go look at Christmas lights, read stories, sing carols, and a few other things, but I want to make sure there is space to be with my people. To see them this Christmas and memorize them at this age, memorize my husband and I in this season of life and cherish the fact that they even want me to be with them! It’s a window in our lives as a family. We will never be here again and instead of making myself dizzy trying to plan how we will enjoy it I want to just BE IN IT.
Remembering my Savior who came to a broken world to be in it with us.
And that’s what makes Christmas.
Kristi Williams is a wife to a man who makes her laugh, a mommy of two girls who are pure magic, and a a girl who is just trying to color a little more grace into every corner of life. She loves to drink tea, read to her kids, and play at the beach. When she’s not folding laundry or cleaning bathrooms she can be found at kmoodswings.blogspot.com.