Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Spirit

This weekend was full of Christmas FUN and excitement!  The first annual Habel Girl’s Baking Day took place on Saturday – I practically had to be rolled out of there.  We had miles of tables piled high with Christmas goodies – cookies, candies, tartlets.  It was just what I needed to wash the stress and anxiety of this time of year away.  I’ve been struggling with time management because of working my full time job and working for Nora’s Naturals (really, I work two full time jobs!).  I am so incredibly grateful for the busyness of Nora’s Naturals though.  Never in a million years would I have considered that I would ever be a small business owner, but here I am - fulfilling a dream of mine that I wasn’t even aware I had.  The dreams for my life have drastically changed over the past 2 years. Growing up, I just wanted to be a wife & mom and work a 9-5 job –boring normalcy.  I’ve already attained my two most notable dreams – being a wife and being a mom.  But now, the dreams and goals for my life have changed to include being a stay at home mom and wife.  I know what you’re thinking….Nora’s already in school and Archer will be in school next year.  But being a stay at home mom means so much more to me than staying home while the kids are home.  It means being available for them – to take them to school and pick them up.  It means volunteering in their classrooms where they can see the importance of giving back to our community.  It means being home after school (the hours when kids get into the most trouble) and helping with homework.  It means being able to attend school programs and functions and field trips.  It means being present for my kids full time, not just when my job allows.  Not only would it allow me to be present for my kids, it would also mean being available to minister to the hurting & wounded in our community.  There are so many days when I receive a text or a call from a hurting friend who just needs to talk – but I’m “chained” to a desk and unable to talk or help in any way other than to pray from where I am.  I am not a materialistic person, so if I have to go without so that I can make that dream a reality, then that is what I’m willing to do.  Emptying myself of me so that I can fill up with Him. 

This Christmas season, I’ve have decided to eliminate some of the usual things from my yearly “Christmas preparation” in order to have more time to just “be still”.  I want a simple Christmas.  So when you notice our family is absent from your collection of Christmas cards, know that it’s because I want to take the money we would have used for those cards to give to a family in need and the time it would have taken me to get them prepared and mailed will be spent with my family.  I won’t apologize for it.  It’s my choice.  Saturday on our way out to my Aunt Carol’s house for our baking day, the kids and I were listening to Third Day’s version of “Do You Hear What I Hear” when Nora piped up from the backseat exclaiming that “Christmas is about Jesus’s birthday!”  I asked her if she understood why we celebrate Jesus’s birthday though, and she declared, “Because we always celebrate birthdays”.  In a feeble attempt to explain the gospel, in unexpected and overwhelming tears, I explained that since Jesus was born that night in a stable, we can have eternal life with Him if we trust Him.  That we can have JOY and PEACE and GOODNESS.  That God sent Him that night as a baby boy to save us –from despair, from sin, from eternal darkness.  It was a moment of clarity, not only for the kids, but for me as well.  As the words in the song hung heavy in the air of the van, they struck me: “The Child, The Child, sleeping in the night.  He will bring us goodness and light. He will bring us goodness and light.”  He has already brought us goodness and light.  The day He was tortured, mocked, and hung on a cross.  The day He willingly climbed up on that cross to have his hands and feet nailed in; to have a spear thrust into His side. That day was a dark day indeed, and yet it was filled with an insurmountable light. The light of a new and living God who comes to make all things new. He died so that we could live. The ultimate paradox.  The ultimate gift.  It’s hard for me to explain the gospel to my kids, when I feel inadequate to be the one to teach them because I have so much to learn yet myself.  And yet, in those moments, God in His infinite goodness, gives us the wisdom and the words we need to convey His message.

In closing, I pray this Christmas season finds you all filled with the true spirit of Christmas.  It’s not the warm fuzzy feeling you get from being with family.  It’s not the gifts you receive under your tree.  It’s not the perfectly decorated home or the yummy goodies that line your countertops.  It’s that Jesus was born as the ultimate gift for you and for me.  He sacrificed His LIFE as His gift to you and to me.  Christmas is about sacrificing and giving.  And receiving that gift of eternal life that Jesus so freely offers each and every one of us.