I was asked to share at a MOPS group this Christmas season and I would like to share my message with you. I hope it will encourage you during this busy time of year.
Disclaimer: My opinions are my own and do not represent MOPS International
My background of being a professional chef I remember this time of year in the industry. Preparing for various holiday parties and events; getting to work super early and leaving late at night, it was the pure adrenaline rush and passion that just kept me going. One Christmas Eve still stands out to me, working at a luxury hotel in Palm Beach and we got to our last table of the night! I worked in the fine dining outlet of this hotel and one of the dishes a colleague and I were responsible for was called “The Torchon” and it took days to prepare for in advance with the different components. I was still in my adrenaline rush, Yes, we made it to our last table, let’s finish strong! I got out my mandolin to slice the apples for the dish and then all of a sudden I saw blood on my work station. The pain finally hit me. I looked at my station and next to the apple was the top part of my middle fingertip cut off. I bit my lip to suck in the pain. I knew I had to tell my chef. I got bandaged up, the station was thoroughly cleaned down, finished service, and then I went to urgent care as my finger was throbbing!
The first five years I was home with my girls, I was concerned about making sure they had the perfect Pinterest Christmas. I felt that I was under so much pressure. The table and home had to be Instagram worthy. The same meticulous care and pressure I had when I working full-time now channeled through me again. But no matter how hard I tried it was never perfect-
- the budget was beyond blown
- the craft looked liken explosion vs. what Pinterest had
- soufflés had fallen
- the goose was overcooked
- pictures not coming out great
- people got sick (primarily me the day after Christmas I had to go to the hospital since I was so dehydrated from a horrible stomach bug, click to read the post)
- and then me falling asleep in the middle of Christmas day because I was so tired
A couple of years ago I decided to shift my focus because I wanted to love my Christmas again and enjoy the entire season (see more of not having a Pinterest Christmas).
It all comes down to time, money, and family.
Time– What are the things you want to remember this Christmas? I want to enjoy the time with family and friends so I won’t get crazy scheduling different things. For every one thing, you say “yes” to you are initially saying “no” to at least two other things. When you decline an invitation to go to someone party or event, it’s ok. Remember what are your kids going to remember as they grow up, their mom who relished Christmas with them or their mom was completely frazzled and stressed out.
Money– When Christmas has come and gone what will you be happy with on your credit card or bank statement?
Family– Who do you want to spend Christmas time with?
Don’t let things take over and make you forget the reason for the season when God sent His Son to us.
Enjoy the here and now and don’t be focused on the Why’s, How’s, and What If’s. I want to be more like Mary by treasuring this time in my heart.
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
One of the things I remember from school is that we have an internal camera with our eyes and minds when we blink, like Jim & Pam from “The Office” when they take mental pictures on their wedding day.
You’ll see that Mary treasured the moments, the time, these special images in her heart; she didn’t whip out her iPhone and miss things.
In Luke 2:41 – Mary & Joseph lose their 12 year old son, the Messiah, on their way back home from Jerusalem after Passover. It reminds me that it’s ok to have bad days and that God is watching over our children.
Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. 42 When Jesus was twelve years old, they attended the festival as usual. 43 After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, 44 because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends.
45 When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. 46 Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple, sitting among the religious teachers, listening to them and asking questions. 47 All who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
48 His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
49 “But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”[d] 50 But they didn’t understand what he meant.
51 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
52 Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.
Mary continued to treasure these things in her heart, she cherished when he was born and also when he was growing up.
I want to think about Mary-
She was a young teenager who loved God and believed what the angel told her about carrying the Messiah, Emmanual vs. Zechariah who was a priest in the temple who doubted God that his wife Sarah who become pregnant.
She then became pregnant without a husband and through it, all God was with her and she didn’t doubt him, she praised Him (see Luke 1:46-55)! God used this wonderful branch called motherhood where he sent His Son to us as a baby. He would then later die for our sins innocently to save us.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and remember to enjoy this season.
If you are a mother and need community please go to www.mops.org to find the closest MOPS group near you. We weren’t meant to go through motherhood alone.