The day after Christmas, I watched my young adult son back out the driveway to travel to his other “home.” The reality of Christmas now vs Christmases past continued to stir in my heart. I can remember, in what seemed only a few sleeps ago, his body wiggling excitedly as he lied in bed on Christmas Eve. His anticipation for what the morning would reveal literally coursed through his being.
But, as years go by, the traditions and expectations change. Not every child is available to pick out the tree. Decorating it may not top the priority lists of big kids. The holiday moments that seemed so whimsical seem to elicit less wiggles.
Ironically, the very things that we, as parents, wish for our kids can appear as distractions to holiday expectations. Jobs. Relationships. School. Humanitarian and church missions. Healing.
This year, again unfolded differently than expected. The new family board game never got played. Friends called my kids at times that defied my scheduled timing of events. No family movie.
As I nibbled on a Christmas cookie and processed the disappointment I felt, God opened my eyes. And I saw things through a different lens.
What actually unfolded throughout the day was what I have always prayed for. That my kids would develop closer relationships. For a rest from the hard seasons we have endured. peace in their souls. Life giving relationships. And finding joy in the midst of walking the new territory of young adulthood.
Did they enjoy their presents? Yes. I still embrace the challenge to be creative and surprising. But honestly, I now realize that there is no one size fits all expectation package that will satisfy. Some years may look different than others. There will be Christmases when seeking compromise may be worth seeking. However, there will also be ones when we recognize the gift in letting go.
It’s a matter of changing your lens and remember that Jesus’ birth disrupted eexpectations. He changed the lens through which everything would be viewed.
Isn’t that the point of celebrating anyway?