Turkey. Christmas trees. Burl Ives. 5 nativity sets. So much wrapping paper. A Lego nativity advent calendar. Too many Amazon deliveries. Bows everywhere. 2 batches of Chex mix. 3 failed batches of fudge. 3 Christmas movie nights. 3 Finnish pulla braids.
And laced into all of it were some really fun family memories.
"We just want to keep that Christmas magic alive for a little longer."
This is a variation of things I've heard over the past few weeks. Everyone's talking about Christmas magic. I get it... I love Christmas, too. I love snow, and reindeer, and cheesy songs and obnoxious decorations. Love it. What I'm not totally understanding is what parents mean when they talk about that magic. I see parents frantically running around, overspending, over-stressing, and feeling anxious about creating this amazing Christmas experience for their kids.
Maybe the Big Guy in the Red Suit is a part of your Christmas tradition. Maybe you love to give extravagant gifts to your kids. Maybe you are a DIY champion and love to make thoughtful, homemade gifts for everyone. Maybe you do your best and try to survive this time of year.
Whatever your Christmas traditions are-- I would like to propose that the "Christmas magic" doesn't come from the stories we tell our kids, or the presents we buy. It's not about the parties and the delicious food. It's not about awesome decorations and perfect Christmas cards. The Christmas magic our kids are going to remember comes from us, as parents, pointing them to something valuable. We spend a lot of energy preparing for Christmas. We make intentional plans to make this time of year special. We have family memories in mind that drive what we do.
When the gift wasn't right. When the turkey was dry. When the family photos were hilariously terrible. When kids get sick just at the wrong moment. When it doesn't turn out like we hoped... We are still pointing our families to Jesus. We are taking time to turn their attention to the Savior, born in Bethlehem. We are giving a gift that might not give us the instant gratification of sparkly-eyed kids with new toys but we are kindling a flame in their hearts that will sustain them throughout their lives. That flame will not only sustain them, but give them life; life that will impact and reach others.
Dear friends, Christmas magic isn't sparked from an awesome idea on Pinterest. It comes from giving of ourselves. Our time. Our energy. It's about small moments together. It comes from the intentional turning toward Jesus. It comes from receiving the gift of an unlikely Savior.
I hope you are thinking back on your holiday season, remembering the small, magical moments that will turn into lifelong memories.