I am the worst Christmas mom.
I don’t mean to be. And I come from a long line of Christmas greats, I really have no excuse. My mom celebrates Christmas with the zeal of little orphan Annie with daddy Warbucks’ credit card. And my grandma Mickey? Don’t get me started. The baking, the handmade teddy bears, and the elves tea party??? The woman was Mrs. Santa.
But I am at my worst at Christmas.
And in the scheme of things, I could be much worse, but I still carry much guilt this time of year.
The financial stress? The organized chaos of part time decor? The limbo of wait? And – the thought provoking menace of motherhood.
To be a mother. A mother who bore the savior of the world. The burden of an unconventional conception – an unavoidable destiny – a horrific future.
I can’t stop thinking of her… Mary, truly? Did you know? And if you knew, were you not horrified? How did you face it? How did you cope?
Even as a child I remember an obsession of sorts with “moms” at Christmas. My mom would take us to buy for those in need, Toys for Tots, and Angel Tree Missions, and I thought this was sweet, to buy for these children. But what about their moms? Would they receive nothing on Christmas morning? And then when I became a mom I realized all moms wanted on Christmas morning was for their babies to be blessed. Still, I wanted every mom to get something.
And every Christmas this weighs on me. And every Christmas I seem to be more in tune with the weight of motherhood.
I think back to four years ago this Christmas … And I wonder about a mommy about to give birth to a secret. A secret she hid from the world. A secret she birthed and ran from – so that he could have more than she could offer him. And that secret calls me “mommy.” And I grieve sharing our Sam with her and I wish to comfort her and tell her of his vandalist deeds. He is no longer a baby – he is our boy. And the older he gets the more I crave knowing her, and some how sharing with her the glorious life she shared with us.
Every Christmas I remember, I am forever in debt to a stranger – a life giver – mother of my son.
And Christmas present? Empty arms mean mine are full. Hearts that cry out for redemption, redemption that cannot come the way they had hoped. And redemption that is still within reach. Hope being all that calls them through the darkness. And for the second Christmas in a row, we have a tiny foster human in our home. I am flooded with agony for moms who need to have their children with them, and were it not for this fallen world and the brokenness of sin, all would be well with them and their baby.
I am crying for the millionth time this season.
In the brief moments I am whole, I imagine wholeness in this season for all moms. And I long for a brawl at 5:00 am in a JcPenney the day after Thanksgiving.
That it could be simple.
And I say this without piety or judgment, but from the broken state beneath my tree. For a moment today I experienced the hope of restoration – the glimmer of peace that comes with the season and I vowed to be different. I remembered for a moment what it was like to minister and be ministered to.
To be a mom; virgin, broken, hopeless, hopeful, foster, adoptive, biological, childless – It is to identify with those in need. Those in broken states and those with poopy pants. And there are the crappiest of us, caught on video mauling one another at Walmart. And then there’s most of us – who just want the goodness of Christmas to shine through.
And maybe I am jaded and perhaps no one can identify.
So be it.
Christmas is about the birth of the Savior of the world. But it is also about a mom. And the mom-ness of Christmas slays me. Moms with everything. Moms with nothing. Moms with hope. Moms without.
And I swear I will be different and I promise change in the new year – and I meet a mom with less than and I may look as though I am more than.
But I think I am every mom.
I want a better world for my children. I want them to be happy. I want them to believe in something they cannot see. And as I pick the tree up off its side for the 10th time today, and put the toddlers in time out again, I begin to put the ornaments back on the molested tree – it occurs to me I am not the worst at Christmas.
I am at my best.
Broken, scared, prayerful, in desperate need of a Savior. This unfortunate state is precisely why a young mom birthed a tiny Jewish boy into this tragic place. Her “yes” meant that I am a new creation.
Of course, the time in which I am a new creation, forever different – at one with my God – perfected by confession – washed clean by the blood of the lamb, is measured by the brief experience of my renewal and the next time I have to put sheets on a bunk bed. Or the next time the vandals knock over the tree.
It is the weakness of imperfection. A cuss word. A flared temper. An unbalanced checkbook. Not enough. Too much…
For whatever reason I am not this deep or broken at Easter when the Christian calendar deems it is time to reflect and repent, but I think that is okay.
Because it is now that I am with every mom. Here at the foot of a tree. An evergreen. The hope of my life – abundant and everlasting. A symbol of He who is eternal. And there may not be homemade gingerbread or mistletoe – but there is hope and a new year – and a chance to grow ever nearer to my God on this sacred ground.
With this truth, it is always a Merry Christmas…
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.