“Best Christmas ever!”, says my daughter mid-jump, eyes twinkling bright like the northern star.
I may have said something like “woohoo!” but deep inside I tried to recall past Christmasses and, taking my daughter’s declaration too seriously, secretly doubted that #Christmas2019 was our best one.
The other day my husband and I were talking about the ordinariness of this Christmas. It’s really not that bad, to be honest. It’s just mostly uneventful and maybe even forgettable.
Sure there were pancakes in the morning, Christmas carols on loop all day, late-night Christmas movies. But some Christmas traditions were amiss, no out-of-town holidays, no advent calendar, no homecooked meals, not a lot of Christmas shopping or partying. Most of this was because I had to work through the Christmas break, which means I was pretty much holed up in front of my laptop, with little energy left for merry-making when the work hours were over. (Shout out to David and my Mom for holding the ~Christmas~ fort when I couldn’t.)
As a mother who wants to create memorable Christmasses for her kids while they’re still young, I have to admit I worried a lot about not being able to give them something worth remembering this year.
Then again, this is why “grownups” don’t always know better, and why it sometimes feels like children know something we don’t. In retrospect, there’s a reason why the Messiah came in the form of an unassuming child, in a stable, on an ordinary day.
We tend to think we need to offer Him myrrh, frankincense, and gold because that’s what the wise men did. In the same way, we focus too much on splurging on expensive gifts and planning the best holiday trips, thinking that these are the stuff that “the best Christmas ever” is made of.
I learn it doesn’t really take so much to make Christmas memorable for the kids—just some extended cuddle times, a new pair of fluffy slippers, a stack of pancakes, Christmas carols all day, store-bought cookies, our presence, our love, our time.
And this is exactly how I want to remember Christmas this year.
That somehow, for all its ordinariness and for everything it seems to lack, my daughters still think it’s “the best Christmas ever.”
What a humbling experience, to receive this kind of grace that children are capable of giving so generously and effortlessly. And, ultimately, to receive this amazing grace of a good, good Father who simply loves us for all our ordinariness. Every day of the year.
Thank you Jamie, for these beautiful keepsakes to remember this Christmas by. We love and will forever cherish every single one of them!