As I think back on this Christmas just past, I'm grateful. There were lots of blessings. But I think one of my favorite events was when our family participated in advent wreath devotions together each Sunday in December leading up to Christmas, on Christmas eve, and then on Christmas morning (I know, not coming from a liturgical church I've never been able to get the sequence to where I'm in time with the rest of everybody. My oldest son is Catholic and he explained that it's supposed to be every Sunday starting with the one following Thanksgiving and that it's OK if it lasts past Christmas).
Sometimes I feel like I'm not as effective of a mother as I'd like to be. Heck, sometimes I even feel like I've failed. The truth of the matter is that sometimes I have failed. But God is so good to me, and the Holy Spirit frequently encourages my heart that He knew exactly who I am and how I'd be, and that He chose to give me the sons he gave me because He wanted me to be their mom. Anyway, my middle son does not appear at this time in his life to be spiritually interested. When he was young he proclaimed faith in Jesus as His savior, and announced that He wanted Christ to be first in his life and to follow after Him. But it seems as if he's meandered away from this in the last couple of years. The other day when he was complaining about how boring church is (the joke among my sons is that it seems like I am always commenting as we drive away from church how wonderful it was, how I felt God so near during the song and worship time, or how deeply the sermon moved me, or how every time I see so and so at church my faith is encouraged by her, or some such thing). My husband John commented that it's all about object relationship; I'm not sure that my son got John's point but I sure did. John's right, when we love God, we delight in His word and so a church where the Word is everywhere is just naturally attractive. Anyway, I'm digressing here. It's just that given this son's lack of spiritual interest and my youngest son's current lack of desire to be around me, I was so grateful that they willingly participated each week in our advent devotions.
I was grateful that God made a way for us to make time in our crazy, conflicting, schedules to sit together in the candlelight and read scriptures and talk about our hope, love, peace, and joy because of Christ. To celebrate God's coming to earth in human flesh. During those few moments it was as if time stood still and we were at peace together. Somehow the boys stopped all their critical, teen age talk and reflected on something larger than themselves and their school friends and world. There weren't a lot of words, we mostly just read the scriptures and prayed the scripted prayers, but it was a genuine experience. It made sense of the season and I know it helped me stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas and to put lots of potentially stressful situations into perspective.
What about you, what was one of your favorite things from this Christmas?