Is the excitement that comes with the countdown till Christmas on as strong at your house as it is at this house? It’s a daily question here, ‘How many more days till Christmas?’ Oh, the joy and anticipation for us all! But especially for little people!
This year has brought its own special Christmas gift wrapped early for us in the form of a tiny little human. Today marks 3 months since Winston’s birth. The best thing that happened to us in 2020! The most amazing miracle. We are still celebrating. Still in love. And it’s expanding the richness of this season for us. I think that every time I look into his sweet, innocent baby face and kiss those squishable chubby cheeks that I see and kiss a piece of heaven. But when he howls and slows me down, I know I’m kissing heaven laced with humanity. The slowing down this package deal brought with it has particularly been a gift all its own this year!
The hustle and bustle of the Christmas flurry and race looked a little exhausting to me before we even started. So, I asked God for His words to me on navigating it. I heard, ‘Go slow. Experience and enjoy it.’ Those who know me well know that this is not typical for me. I have tended to be the ‘go big gal’—the ‘angel’ that’s a blur racing to get plates of cookies and yummies made, the house all Christmassy and the gifts all big and wrapped. Not to mention all the parties or shows or events to go to. But this year I chose to go slow. I chose to embrace those words. Some of it was a forced deal because fast-paced and a multitude of activities don’t fit with the schedule and the pace that comes with having a three-month-old on board. However, much of it also needed to be chosen. There were days at the beginning where I resisted it in my spirit and pushed to get quantity done. I ended up worn out and frustrated each time.
So… I chose to embrace slow instead. I chose to focus on quality of experience rather than quantity of experiences. I chose to trade in perfection of experience and projects for peace while we experienced doing the projects together.
What that meant for me practically was shaving my ‘to do’ list way, way down. I went from six kinds of cookies and five kinds of candies on my list down to three kinds of cookies and three kinds of candies. At this point, I only got one kind of cookies made and two of the candies. And it may just well stay that way. I hold the rest with open hands. Everyone is happy with what we have and if I pushed it to do more it would only be for me. This would not be worth the exhaustion this year or pushing everyone to get on board. I would turn right into an unkind angel with flapping wings if I pushed for more.
We did cut out cookies and decorated them together and the kiddos had so much fun and are so happy! Never mind that it took more than twice as long as normal this year or that I was bouncing baby for half of the decorating time. The cookies turned out beautifully different than I dreamed they would thanks to kiddos’ imagination and creativity being released as they did them. The chocolate candies were dipped by the kiddos mostly too. So again, we aren’t talking perfection. But there was so much peace! So much joy. So much enjoying each other and the experience. It still hangs heavy in the air here. And now I wish I’d have chosen in earlier seasons to go slow. To trade quantity of experiences for quality of experience. To go slow and trade in perfection for peace. But it’s never too late to start now! There will come a day when the chocolates and cookies will be done to a bit more perfection and then I will miss all the little helpers and watching their joy and creativity come through in the gingerbread cookies that are decorated.
I look at the cookies today and my heart is so full. I see personality and charm in each one. I taste love when I bite into them. I see smiles increasing and hearts staying warm towards each other as I purposefully choose quality of connection over quantity of activity. It has taken us a bit to figure it out for sure and we haven’t gotten it all right. There have been moments of needing to let go, of needing to wipe tears, forgive, give grace and move on. But I’m so surprised how every time we give the kids another option of quantity versus quality, they choose quality. They are smart! Smarter than me when it comes to this! It has meant I needed to let go of MY list a lot, but the trade off and peaceful atmosphere has seriously been so, so worth it!!
So, in the middle of the last scramble that can come in these last couple days before Christmas, don’t forget to go slow. Breathe in peace and follow the Prince of Peace. Exhale peace and walk in peace.
Marinade in the love of heaven come to earth. Stay in it a little longer than normal. And then go give it away to your husband or wife, to your children, and to everyone else you meet. It’s why He came. He came to bring quality of connections; peace instead of performed perfection. Love. Stop and kiss the baby a little longer. Look into the eyes of the ones around you and chat a little longer. He became the gift so many years ago so we can be the gift today. Right where we are in our corner. The world feels sadder and more broken this year than some Christmases. 2020 hasn’t been an easy one. You can’t change the whole atmosphere, but one choice at a time you CAN change the atmosphere around you in your corner! Go do it brave, my friend!
Merry Christmas from our house to yours!!! Because the gift lives inside us, we get to be the gift. Stay in the wonder and amazement of what that means and be blessed!
by Vera Smoker
Hi there! I am Vera, blessed wife of one and mom to three wonderful little people who make my world go round. I am an unashamed lover of Jesus, passionate about authentic relationships rooted within the identity that comes first from my relationship with Him. I’m a lover of good books, fat journals, sunsets and sunrises, long quiet country walks, and time with my family around campfires or on our front porch. Growth and mentorship are high on the list of values for me and I always thrill when I get to celebrate the wonderful journey of growth and discovery with others. The Hubs and I both love hosting so come relax with us sometime and we will chat the time away and connect over a good cup of coffee or chai!
God Made All of Me Matching Games
This set includes 16 matching games each featuring 4 vibrant real-life images with life-giving identity statements. As children place each matching card on the corresponding photo, they are speaking out words of truth and life over themselves. For non-verbal children, allow them to match the card as you speak the words over them. This fun and interactive set is perfect for engaging your little ones as they use their brain and their spirit to learn, grow and love life!
Gah. It’s good. The end of the week is almost here and I’m tired. But it’s a good kind of tired. I’ve been challenging myself to ‘stay present’ more lately and while it definitely takes more emotional energy, it’s been so rich. It’s easy to stay glibly present in good moments, but the hard ones? Those are the ones I have tended to run from.
Kintsugi has always intrigued me. When a small dish from the treasury of my Grandma’s china that had been passed down to me broke the other week, I almost tossed it right into the trash can. But mid toss I stopped and said out loud, ‘No. Verna! She knows how to do kintsugi! I want to do that with this dish.’ At that point I immediately picked up the phone and put in my request for a little help and know-how for the project which turned into a fun morning and lunch together.
In the past, and sometimes still, I can find it difficult to slow down the intake and focus on being established instead of frantically going for more. I’m learning that it’s okay to give myself permission to listen to the same message or read the same chapter over and over again; to learn and re-learn a new habit; to move in peace and let the message or lesson sink deeply into my spirit.