Another article I wrote for our MOPS group:
I think as moms we would all love for the holiday season to be a special time with our families when we come together to relax and enjoy each other while celebrating the birth of our savior, Jesus. We want it to be perfect. The perfect Christmas picture, the perfect gifts, the perfect memories.
However, the reality is often very different.
There's the Christmas shopping, party planning, cookie baking, program attending, card addressing, present wrapping, travel going, lack of sleeping, children whining, and a partridge in a pear tree.
The perfect Christmas often gets lost in the shuffle, or we're simply too worn out to enjoy it. Do you know what I mean?
This year, I'm trying (and not always succeeding) to remind myself and my kids to slow down, to enjoy the season, and to concentrate on our blessings rather than our wants. It's a constant battle. That's for sure.
The fact remains, however, that no matter how we do spend our holidays, the memories made during this time will stay with our children for years to come.
And now, just because it always makes me laugh to recall it, I would like to share one of my favorite Christmas memories.
It involves one of my 3 younger brothers (please, feel sorry for me, I deserve it). Seth is the middle brother and has been stubborn since the day he was born. This stubbornness made itself known in a particular way one year during our church's children's program.
Each grade level was assigned a part in the re-enactment of the Bethlehem story. The kids in my class (third grade?) were the angels. We totally rocked our pillow case dresses and cardboard wing ensembles, trust me. :-)
The oldest brother's class (kindergartners?) were the shepherds, and Jesse (the oldest of the 3 boys) was totally thrilled to wear my dad's bathrobe and walk down the center aisle herding the "sheep." The "sheep" were the preschoolers - Seth's class. And their costumes were adorable. Each child came dressed in footed sleeper pjs and were given woolly ears and a woolly tail to wear pinned to their bums. Their whole part in the program was simply to crawl down the aisle "baaing" while the shepherds walked with them toward the manger scene at the front of the church.
But Seth was totally NOT cool with his big brother being a shepherd while he had to be a lowly sheep with the other little ones. He pouted, he fussed, he threw a tantrum. But, my parents were determined not to give in to his antics, and he came to church that night in his sheep costume ready to go.
Or so we thought.
As I stood on stage singing "Silent Night" with the other angels, watching the cute little shepherds herding their sheep down the aisle, I started to hear some people laughing.
I looked and saw the shepherds, their adorable little sheep crawling and "baaing" as they went. And then. THEN. I spied one adorable, vaguely smug, stubborn-as-all-get-out sheep standing up and walking as upright as he could muster - with his nose in the air all the way down the aisle. Seth was dressed a sheep alright, but he was determined to walk with the shepherds no matter the cost.
While that program certainly didn't go according to plan, and my parents were probably mortified, that story has provided our family with many laughs for many years. I certainly can't tell you what I got for Christmas that year or really anything else about that Christmas, but my whole family remembers the moment when Seth the sheep was determined to be Seth the Shepherd. It's a family classic.
So, when all your perfectly laid Christmas plan don't happen exactly as you would hope, don't worry. Chances are that the memories made during all the mishaps will still be invaluable.