Normally, I am someone who wants to start listening to Christmas music in June. By the time November rolls around, I am about jumping out of my skin because I am so excited about the holiday season. Even though we live overseas—which definitely makes the season a little more low-key—I still love all things Christmas. The music, the lights, the cozy feel, and the food. Oh, the food!
But for some reason this year, I am having trouble getting into the spirit. I feel like June was yesterday and so I can't figure out how Christmas can be in just a few weeks. It's been a busy and crazy and emotion-filled year and December just sort of snuck up on me. And because of that, I haven't purchased even one gift. We are planning on doing Christmas fairly small this year, but still, it's December 7 and I have nothing.
So, today I actually started thinking about what to give the kids. We have a few traditional gifts (like Christmas PJ's and an ornament) and there are a few things that I know each of them want, but I usually like to throw a few other things in there too. As I sat down today to think through things and to search online for ideas and inspiration, I really started pondering what the greatest gift I could give them would be. And it was easy to see that it isn't the Legos or the dolls or the big set of craft supplies. No, it is something much bigger. I want my children to have the best.
The best me.
I want to give my children LOVE: I want them to have a mother who truly loves them and expresses that love not just in words, but also in deeds. I want my actions and attitude to exhibit my deep love for my kids so that even if the words were gone, they would never question my love.
I want to give my children JOY: I want to create a joyful home—one that is full of laughter and silliness and a true grasp that all things are in God's control and therefore we can always rejoice. I want to be a joyful mother, not doing my work grudgingly but with a cheerful heart and attitude.
I want to give my children PEACE: I want our home to be a peaceful place. I do not want our hours and days to be filled with stress, hurry, and angry words. I want to be organized, disciplined, and rest-filled so that our home is a place that the children (and Jason) long to be in after time in the "real" harsh world. I want my family to be in our home and just say, "Ahhh...."
I want to give my children PATIENCE: I want my children to have a patient mother—a mother who understands their ages and limitations and extends them loving grace even in the midst of training and discipline. I want to be patient with their short-comings, personality quirks, and childish ways.
I want to give my children KINDNESS: I want my children to have a mother who looks for ways to serve them. I don't want to just do the bare minimum while I quietly hope that no one else needs anything. I want to be intentionally kind—looking for ways to express my love for them. I want to speak kind words—to them, about them, and about others.
I want to give my children GOODNESS: I want to give my children a mother who is good and who seeks the good for others. I want to always be above reproach and never afraid that listening ears may pick up on sinful hypocrisy.
I want to give my children GENTLENESS: Oh how I long for gentleness! I want to give my children a mother who speaks in gentle words and with a gentle tone of voice. I want my facial expressions to be gentle, my touch to be gentle, and my correction to be gentle. I don't ever want my kids to avoid me for fear of harshness.
I want to give my children FAITHFULNESS: I want to give them a mother who is always, always faithful—faithful to them, faithful to their daddy, faithful to my word, and faithful to my work.
I want to give my children SELF-CONTROL: I want my children to have a mother who is strong enough to control her words, her actions, and her body language. I want my children to see a mother who intentionally chooses to do and/or say what is right even when emotions are high and sleep is low.
And so, although I am sure there will be some Legos and dolls and craft supplies under our tree this year, I pray that our home will also be filled with gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. And those, my friends, can't be ordered online.