Sunday is laundry day in our house, the hampers are all busting at the seams by the time I manage to drag it all down the stairs and start the vicious cycle of washing and drying that never seems to end. Last Sunday, Claire asked me if I could help her get goldfish mid treacherous journey down the stairs and I yelled my hands were full and to hold on.
Life with little seems to always be leaving your hands feeling full and if you forget everyone is all to eager to remind you. It’s what the dentist said to me when Briggs and Claire were getting cleanings and Colbie spent the entire time wandering and climbing on every surface (at one point diving off a sofa and the receptionist had to catch her… it was a glorious parenting moment). It’s what the kind older man said to me as I checked out at target for the 3rd time in one week and all my kids were melting down and begging for candy. It’s what anyone anywhere reminds me of when i’m in public with all of our kids that resembles a traveling circus of Ferrell cats.
Yes my hands are full. Yes, at the end of the day my brain feels fried and my body tired. To deny the beautiful mess this season is would be pointless. My hands are full so not much else is. When your hands are full even little things are hard to do. Claire’s simple request for goldfish was nothing more than poor timing. My hands were full so I couldn’t help. When they aren’t full I can.
I think one of the biggest struggles in the Christmas season is the pressure that flanks our calendar from every side. Come to this, be here, and make sure your kids fully understand one of the greatest miracles of all time. Oh you don’t know how? Here’s 70000000 options of how to teach them and you should probably do a minimum of three to lend to all of their different learning types.
I currently have a Jesse tree ornament box that is on day 10 but have zero ornaments hung, an email with curriculum I desperately want to teach to my kids that a friend wrote, and two Ann Voskamp advent books I think they will have to graduate from college to understand. Claire’s 5th birthday is tomorrow and preschool thinks holiday parties for my kids are what I live for (Its not just FYI). My hands are full. It’s all good and none of it’s that hard but when you’re hands are full the simplest request can take you down.
What change we could make if we’d embrace where we are and slow this train down. Especially this time of year. You know what makes teaching hard? Rushing out the door to 1 billion holiday activities. We are talking about teaching 3 and 4 year old that God came as a man to die for their sins because he loves them that much. There’s not a part of that sentence my four year old won’t have 5 follow up questions for. While our three year old will just put his favorite question on repeat, why can’t I see God?!
I think Satan’s best scheme yet will be nothing more than constant distraction and busyness, to keep us moving so we won’t sit too long with our questions or our wonder. So we won’t just think about how utterly beautiful it was that God wanted so much to be much to us that he sent Jesus to put his love on display.
Time is a beast I cant fight, I remember that every time I open my fridge and glance at the first picture I ever got holding Claire. She’s five tomorrow. That’s five Christmas’s with her and yet I remember the first time I held her in my arms. I remember the first Christmas morning with her. I remember thinking I’d never take another moment for granted because life was so precious to me that first Christmas but time marched on.
If we aren’t careful we will miss it. We will miss every teaching moment and every perfect messy memory because we wanted to do it all. We will put up trees and hang lights, wrap presents, go to parties, and then it will come and go and we won’t feel the true weight of this season. All we feel is relieved when its over. If your hands are full but your heart feels empty then don’t empty your hands, make room for what matters. It won’t be easy, not everyone will understand, but it will be worth it. Merry Christmas!