Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All I want for Christmas..... is PEACE

Every year my children ask me what I want for Christmas... and it's usually always the same answer...

"I just want peace... not peace on earth, not peace in this country, just peace of mind, a peaceful home, peaceful attitudes [in my children]."

maybe it's too much to ask of them ... I supposed it would be easier to give them $5.00 each and have them pick up a candle or notepad for me from Walmart to put under the tree. Even though the peace I so dearly want seems to have no monetary value, it still comes with a hefty price tag, one that they are unwilling to pay.

Unselfish, considerate, loving, putting someone else's needs before your own, thoughtful, generous, kindness, compassionate
I have to confess that I struggle with modeling these qualities in my own life at times, and lately it seems that I'm not doing a very good job in front of my children. I often wonder what my children see when they look at me.... do they see:
  • a broken down mama who is worn out and weary, who cannot seem to handle the constant bickering and arguing, but who somehow never gives up on them or God [and who's so grateful that He hasn't gotten weary or given up in His dealings with me].
  • someone who fails them miserably way too often and yet who still tries to ask for their forgiveness when she sins against them.
  • someone who continually points them back to the Lord as the better example and who tries to deflect any attention to her [since the Lord is the only one who will not fail them and He is the perfect example... ]
  • someone who is weak and who cries way too easily (and often), but who also keeps trying to show love to them even when they are not very nice to her [i know i know... i need to grow a thicker skin and not let it get to me....]

Every year during the Christmas season, I find myself becoming a bit more jaded - not because of all the commercialism, but more because of what I would see as "phony" families being portrayed on T.V. commercials, shows and movies. These images cause many of us to feel defeated, knowing we can never attain that level of perfection, that it will always be just out of our reach. These stories show people who cannot wait to get home for Christmas to be with their wonderful, loving families; how they will move heaven and earth to get their kids home for the holidays or to find a way to get to Grandma's house for dinner. I know that no family is perfect and perhaps I am showing my cynicism here - but it seems that I have no choice but to lower my standards, my expectations of what I would want Christmas to be for me, for our family since I know it will never be like a Hallmark card commercial.

In the end I know a lot of it depends upon me and my own attitude . . . but I confess I am really getting frazzled and tired of waiting, hoping that maybe this year might be different - that the bright star in the sky, the "little Lord Jesus" will dwell in each of our hearts [in my heart] in a meaningful way - that will reveal a true transformation in each of us [in me].

I realize I cannot passively sit around and wait for that transformation to begin in my children - as it may never happen. I can only focus on me and be willing to allow the Lord to bring about change in my life. That may be the catalyst for change in the rest of the family.

So in a few weeks when I put away my boxes of Christmas decorations, I know I may never have that special ornament of "peace" on my tree. But deep inside there is a still glimmer of hope--(there's always hope) and I sense a different kind of peace that I know in my heart only comes from Him.

Merry Christmas dear Jesus.... and may you form a small bit of peace in this fragile, worn-out heart and if you see fit, use it for your glory, Amen.

1 comment:

madame said...

Patti,
I've come over from AinM.

That post resonated with me. Really. I could have written something very similar.
I don't know how old your children are, mine are 5, 3.5 and 16 months. The boys bicker, scream and fight ALL the time, and I am not that much better at controlling them either at times.

You sound like you really love your kids and believe me, even if they go through difficult times when they are a bit older, they will remember the love of their mother. My mother was also like that, often frail, weepy and broken. She would just yell, and then cry.
But I know she loved us. She would sit up half the night ironing towels for me to sleep on when I had an ear infection. She listened to all of our tales from school. She tried very hard to put a presentable costume together for our Christmas plays. She never missed a school play.
My mother had 10 children, with all the stress that comes with that. She was usually pregnant or breastfeeding, usually sleep deprived and overworked. Very often there were other stress factors to add on to that.

I am similar. I'll break down and cry in desperation, or I'll snap back at the kids.
One thing I don't want to do is allow others to get the best of me while my kids go wanting. I'd much rather cut everything that isn't essential or enjoyable out, anything that causes stress. I'd rather be less popular with the outsiders, even with my husband, but not take my frustration out on the kids.

I think children are a lot more peaceful in homes where their parents are happy or at peace with themselves. I'm on my way there, hopefully.

One last thing, I hope I don't make you feel bad... I wouldn't tell my children that all I want is peace, and that they have to change. My dad used to say things like that, and it was hurtful. We had put the time into making something nice and felt that he didn't really appreciate our efforts.
He then reverted to saying all he wanted was "for us all to be happy, but you can surprise me if you want to!" And we did.

Oh, and I totally understand how you feel about the "perfect family and perfect Christmas" thing. It's annoying, isn't it?

Hugs,
Madame