There’s only 10 more days until Christmas. TEN DAYS. Yikes.
Right before Thanksgiving, I was really looking forward to this holiday season. I was excited about visiting our parents, shopping, buying a tree and decorating our home for Christmas. And then I started to feel totally overwhelmed when I realized all I had to accomplish in the less than 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
That overwhelming feeling pushed me into a crappy place, which was worsened by the dark cold winter that so quickly fell upon Indy. I started going to bad places, taking things out on my kids and myself. Being short with people I love and even shorter with people I don’t.
We don’t push Santa at our house. Only our stockings and one present come from Santa. If our kids ask, we tell the truth. But we never stop playing Santa because it’s fun and special.
There’s something special about Santa. There’s something special about *this* Santa.
When we left the first church home we had in Indianapolis about a year and a half ago, it was rough. I struggled with many things – leaving the only church home we had ever really had. We left a community in which we felt very comfortable, knowing so many people and being known by so many as well. The location was even in our neighborhood, which meant many of our neighbors were not only our physical community but also our spiritual community. But it was time for us to move on.
Walking into a new church is never fun. It’s something we had been putting off for quite awhile before we actually make the move. It’s uncomfortable. It’s new. It’s isolating. You question whether or not it’s the right choice. The right place for you. The best fit. And you walk into a new church over and over while searching for that right place and best fit.
And when you finally find the right place, it’s still uncomfortable, new and sometimes isolating. Even a year later.
But then Santa comes to your community group.
Friends, we have been very blessed to find our new home. We’ve been placed in a church with all these new and different people whose names we still don’t know but we’ve found a small group of amazing men and women in all different walks of life and in all different places with God. They have turned our new church into more than just our new church. They’ve turned it into a family. One I wasn’t sure we’d be able to find after leaving our last church family.
What does Santa have to do with any of this? Well, “Santa” is a member of our community group and when he showed up this week to group to surprise the kids, Lucas ran at top speed to him and literally jumped into his arms. I almost cried. I so wish I had it on tape. It was total abandon. Leaping into the arms of someone who truly loves him. It was so beautiful and it reminded me of how loved I am by the people around me and by God. And it totally changed my outlook on being overwhelmed.
I’m still overwhelmed – I still have SO MUCH SHOPPING to do. So much work to do with the end of the year approaching. So much cleaning from slacking for too long. No lie – I’m still overwhelmed. But it’s not consuming. I’m trying to enjoy the season with my kids. To not only give love and good parenting, but to give some grace where I normally wouldn’t. Because I’m given grace every day. And my kids won’t learn what grace is if they aren’t shown it.
So at Target tonight I enjoyed shopping for the kids. I thought about how much each would love the things I was picking out for them. I thought about the joy we’d see on Christmas morning.
And I thought about how many people love me and my family. And it made me happy for the hustle and bustle of the season. So I’m going to embrace it. Join me?