Monday, December 8, 2014

Peek-a-boo, Baby Jesus

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I love the colors, the lights and the anticipation.  My kids enjoy this time of year also but for other reasons:  getting presents!  I love presents, too, but I like to give them.  
I'm running very behind in planning this year's Christmas including buying presents for the kids.  I'm not usually too ahead of the game and will inevitably do some last-minute shopping, but this year the budget for my last-minute shopping will be pared down.  We got walloped with a hefty medical bill last week.  Seeing that bill dampened my spirits.  It also stopped future shopping trips right in their tracks.

When the kids overheard my husband and I talking about that bill and how we'll really, really need to be careful with our spending, they thought that we were going to have to cancel Christmas altogether.  I could see in my kids' faces that they were worried.  I assured them that things were not as bad as they'd imagined and said not to worry.  We'd have presents under the tree.  

I half jokingly added, "If three presents were good enough for Baby Jesus, you'll get three presents as well."

I didn't mean to silence my kids, but they were speechless.  In their minds I know they'd imagined getting more than three presents.  They were probably hoping for at least 100, not that they've ever gotten that many before (or probably ever will!).  

I hated that my bad mood had quickly dampened my kids' spirits.  That bad mood wouldn't help anyone enjoy any part of the holidays.  After assuring them Christmas wouldn't be canceled, I needed the kids to focus on something else.  So, we concentrated our thoughts on Advent.  That was the night that we lit the first candle. 
Real-life finances put me in a bah humbug mood most of last week.  That bad mood kept me from being positive, hopeful and helpful.  I needed to let go of some of the frustration I was feeling.  I also needed to finish decorating the house.  We ran out of time the day we took the Christmas items out of storage, and I still had a few more boxes to sort through.  

I am so glad I went through those boxes.  I found our mangers in those boxes.  Those mangers depict such a happy day, including the reason for this holy season.  Hundreds of presents that my kids hope for are not the reason for the season.  Baby Jesus is the reason.  

Unwrapping each manger (we have several), I began to set them up around the house.  By the time the last one was out, our home was looking even more festive and I began to feel more at peace.  Feeling peaceful brighten my mood.  

Something else helped brightened my mood.  

We have a tradition that started with my family when I was growing up.  We would set up the crèche in a prominent spot in the house and then set out the figurines.  The Holy Family, the shepherds, the kings and the angel all took their spots.  The smallest figurine would stay hidden until Christmas morning though.  


Well, because Baby Jesus didn't arrive until then, silly!  

I happily continued that tradition as I set up each manger.  Memories of my childhood, of my relatives and of simpler times came to my mind.  One by one, as each manger was displayed, I felt a wave of joy.  I also felt some giggles coming on.  That happened when I gathered each Baby Jesus figurine and looked around for the perfect hiding spot for them.  

Where is Baby Jesus hanging out in our house until Christmas morning?  

Peek-a-boo!  He's in the drawer!  
Granted, it isn't the most reverent place for the newborn king to rest, but it's a drawer that we never use, so the kids will (hopefully) never find them.  They'll stay stored in the drawer until midnight on Christmas Eve.  That way the kids can keep their focus on Advent.  Advent is a time of waiting.  It's a time for preparing.  We're are patiently waiting to celebrate Jesus' birth.  

Being patient.  And keeping focused.  I'm trying to do that too.  Focusing on being positive, being hopeful and being helpful.  I'm working on those things every day because being sad or frustrated or angry doesn't help me.  It certainly doesn't help my family either.  My family would rather see me smile.  
This manger scene made me smile.  Can you spot
the items that might be a tad out of place?  
We keep old traditions and make new ones of our own.  I love sharing traditions with my children especially my favorite Christmas tradition.  When my children wake on Christmas morning, they'll stare in wonder at the manger scenes.  They'll stare in wonder, and then they'll smile as they realize that Baby Jesus has arrived.  

My children's smiles.  They can instantly melt any sadness or frustration.  I'm glad for that because I know that I shouldn't worry as much as I do.  I know that I shouldn't think that I have to carry the entire weight of the world.   I need to remember instead to take time to breathe and to enjoy happier moments.  I promise to do more of that this Christmas.  I promise to smile more too.  

Now, if you happen to visit us before December 25th and notice that Someone is missing from one of the manger scenes, go ahead and take a peek in the drawer.  I smile each time I open that drawer.  I smile and can't help but get a little bit more excited.  I'm excited because Baby Jesus is on the way.

xo, Cat

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