Christmas Can Be Hard

Truth about Christmas from Glennon Melton on http://www.momastery.com.  She writes,

“…we use all the sugar and booze to stuff down our discomfort  because our unease and sadness and fear aren’t supposed to show up on Christmas, right? If they do, if these feelings arise- we must be doing something wrong, right? Because everyone else is HAPPY today, right? Because everything’s supposed to be shiny and perfect and happy and bright, right?

Ha! That is hilarious! No. No, NO! None of that is true. God never suggests that holy days will be easy and shiny and bright. Commercials tell us that.  The folks who sell the shiny and bright stuff tell us that. If the original Christmas story taught us anything, it’s that holy days can be brutal indeed, complete with rude innkeepers and tired donkeys and nothing to put your baby in but rags. In fact and forever and ever amen – Holydays have been marked not by SHINY but  by HARD.

Fear not, said the angel to Mary, We Can Do Hard Things. For Nothing Is Impossible With God.

Listen- when you feel tired and sad and small because you’re perhaps being sucked  into old family dynamics today — because the ICK is arising — find a quiet place in your home to remember. Did you know that the two most repeated phrases in the Bible are Fear Not, and Remember? In order to FEAR NOT, we have to remember. So take a moment to remember that you’ve made it this far. Remember that it’s OKAY to be human. It’s okay to have all the feelings today. It’s okay if your people SEE your real, true feelings. It’s okay to be a little human and uncomfortable and icky.  As a matter of fact — that’s what Christmas is ABOUT. INCARNATION. It’s about GOD deciding to become fully human. If God decided that being human was okay —  certainly you can decide the same. Don’t stuff it down. Let it come and go. It’ll go, if you let it come. Feeling uncomfortable is not a problem — it’s the numbing and the running and the rejecting of the discomfort that starts all the trouble. Let it come. Make like Mary when she responded to that angel – raise your arms in the air and say to all the feelings: “HERE AM I! LET IT BE!” Holy stuff happens after that level of surrender.

When I feel scared and uncomfortable in my skin during the holidays, when I find myself frantically inhaling my fourth brownie like it’s air that will help me survive (which I did last night) I invite myself to sit on my special pillow and close my eyes and take a few deep breaths. I check back in with God. I ask God to remind me how wildly and completely loved I am, in all my beautiful, messy humanness. Is it a little weird? Yeah, maybe. Tish (my daughter) asked me what I was doing there recently and I said “I’m just here remembering how much God loves me.” She looked surprised and said, “Mom! How could you FORGET that?” And I smiled and said, “Well, sister – my prayer for you is that you never, ever forget that- not even for a second. But if you ever do, you can use my pillow, okay?” The next day, after a fight with her brother, I found Tish on my corner pillow, closing her eyes and smiling.

Nobody’s life or family is perfect. Every family is brutiful. And so what we are celebrating today is not how things should be — but how they ARE. Messy and beautiful and human. If messy and human and poor and a little broken and totally unconventional and even scandalous is good enough for GOD’s little family — it’s good enough for yours, too. Let yourself and your people be messy and beautiful and human today. Don’t try to fix them, just love them. Don’t try to fix yourself, just love yourself. Let it all be…”

TRUTH.  Lovely, freeing truth.  Thanks Glennon.

– Read the whole post at: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/12/23/d-day/

Bragging on my kids again, or not?

I have the most awesome kids in the world!  The back of my suburban Mom car is covered with honor roll stickers.

On someone else’s car this week I saw a sticker that said, “Your kid may be a star student but you drive like an idiot”.  That really made me laugh.

Then I read the essay by Glennon Melton below and it got me thinking.

What am I bragging about my kids for?  What is that teaching them about what’s important in life?  Do they feel that their “success” is necessary for my love?  Am I only proud of them when they make straight A’s?  (Of course not, but do I communicate that?)  How can I value their CHARACTER more than their success?  How can I help them develop (and value) things like perseverance, empathy, compassion, and kindness?  How can I weed out pride and the pervasive trait of self-absorption while still encouraging them to do their very best?

Parents, read this – it’ll make you think.

http://momastery.com/blog/2012/04/23/bragging-rights/

How do we teach them that character is MUCH more important than their “success”?