The Family Christmas Manifesto

It is that time of year again. The holiday music, the twinkling lights, and the massive amounts of guilt that I am not doing it right. The house is not pretty enough, the activities are not festive enough, the gifts are not good enough. I’m not enough to turn the holiday into The Holidays, even though I am the mom and that is my job. The “not enoughs” is the holiday song that runs through my head, and frankly it is less welcome than a loop of “all I want for Christmas is you” as sung by Alvin and the Chipmunks. So I am writing a new holiday manifesto and it goes a little something like this.

In this house, we will celebrate. Our savior came, a perfect gift to an imperfect world, and we will trust that in our imperfection the Lord can work miracles of love, and joy, and peace and hope and laughter. Maybe even a Christmas miracle or two.

In the midst of my crazy house and this crazy season, my soul will commune with Mary the Mother of God, who gave birth in a stable and allowed so many to come worship. She perhaps, was hoping for a moment of peace after pushing out her baby boy in a barn with neither a midwife or her mom to help her, but she chose to embrace the strangers, the foreigners, the animals wandering in and out. I will join her in taking my crazy circumstances and pondering all these things in my heart, because the Lord gives good, good gifts, all year long.

I will not trade in my blessings for perfectionism that can only be found on Pinterest and in Lands End catalogs. I will reject the lie that the people around me are disappointed in me and proudly give the gift of home-made baked goods. Because they are made in love, and they are delicious (if just a little wonky).

When the Toddler takes the carefully crafted hand-made wreath and uses it as a hula-hoop, we will laugh. When the dinosaur gets added to the nativity scene, we will laugh. When the baby takes a header down the stairs and ends up looking like Rudolph, we will slap the reindeer antlers on and take the holiday picture anyway. We will laugh, and we will invite all our relatives to laugh with us. The third candle in the advent wreath is joy after all.

We will recognize that now is not the season for perfectly placed white twinkle lights and candle-lit advent readings. The lights take too long to put up and would likely never come down, and even if the girls don’t burn themselves on open flames, both have been known to take large bites out of things made of wax. We will decide that this is okay, plug in the snowman inflatable and give that man a hug on the way out the door even if we are already running late for church, because sometimes the two-year-old should get to make the rules. Merry Christmas.

We will delight in the repetition of the exclamation over the lights, and the snowman, and the penguin, and the baby Jesus. We will not be annoyed, because it is all really neat, that is why we do it.

What we lack in elegance we will make up for in exuberance and we will stop apologizing for that, because Christ came, and is coming again and this is to be celebrated!

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8 thoughts on “The Family Christmas Manifesto

  1. You go girl!! I love this and can relate on a lot of levels here at this house. And if you really did take the holiday card photo starring Rilla-roo….dolph, then I can not WAIT to see it, lol!

  2. Christmas should be an interior atmosphere with our hearts being focused on the sunshine of the Son. It’s HIS birthday, and the world has gotten SO material that it sucks the joy out of the season. Think simple and loving and all will be merry. Never swamp your children with gifts for that is to sabotage the meaning of the day. Cookies are wonderful gifts, handmade crayon drawings are special….gifts of the hands and the heart. Do remember handmade potholders when your girls get older. Grandmoms and Aunts rejoice at the effort. I’m certain the looms are sold with the colorful bands of fabric. Love your openness and crafting of thoughts.

  3. i love you abby! love your posts and your openness…we relate to the chaos and craziness (in our own unique way, and even tho i feel secretly guilty that we even have any craziness and chaos since afterall i am a stay at home mom and “should” have it all together)…

  4. Remember the memories you remember are days when you were 5 or so and your sisters were older. Mostly what little ones respond to is Mom and Dad’s attentiveness and love. Which, by the way, I have seen in your home many times. As long as Jesus is invited to his birthday party, everthing will be terrific.

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