Monday, December 29, 2008

I Forgot the Turkey, God Didn't

Christmas 2008 is finally over. The dishes have been washed, the wrapping paper cleaned up, presents have been put away and family and friends have gone home.

Now there is quiet, and in that quiet a time for reflection.

For me, the month of December brings with it a to-do list that can only be mastered by a ninja of time management, which I am not. I start the month out with the intention of staying on top of my game. My gifts are bought before Thanksgiving. Holiday shopping lists are prepared and kept on hand. Event plans are penned down before December 1st and the day planner kept open for all to see. But, then we enter December and a snowball of “I forgots” begins to take shape.

I was ready for our nuclear family Christmas events, but I forgot that in the midst of that I had writing assignments due, school functions I was heading up, and physical therapy sessions. Oh and then there was the class party I forgot I was hosting and the cookies I forgot I had to make for the fellowship following the school Christmas presentation.

I took all these “I forgots” in stride. I was overwhelmed, I was exhausted, I cried more than once but I was able to stay the course. That is until the Titanic of the “I forgots” was remembered. We were traveling out of state the weekend before Christmas not to return until the night before Christmas Eve. That’s right. The weekend when Christmas meal shopping is done and the last minute details are taken care of (including wrapping presents); I would be out of town.

It wasn’t that I forgot we were traveling, I forgot when we were traveling. So, the night before the trip while we were packing, I was listing everything that had not been done and could not be done now that we would be out of town, including the purchase of a turkey for our Christmas meal. By the time midnight rolled around and the last suitcase was zipped, I had sworn off all future holiday travel.

I must admit this declaration of travel free holidays brought with it a sort of relief. Knowing this would be the last time I would be drowning in “I forgots” with no time to remember made the trip north quite bearable. Well, it would have been bearable had the Lord quit trying to convict me. I wasn’t listening though so it was okay.

We reached my in-laws house and by the second day, something had changed. I was no longer drowning in “I forgots”. I was embraced by the love of family.

You see, I love my husband’s family. In fact, I have no problem calling my husband’s parents Mom and Dad because I love them as a Mom and Dad. They are my second parents and I know they are gifts from God.

Although I was basking in my family’s company, I still held my declaration of “no more holiday traveling” in my heart. And, the Lord was still convicting me.

On the third day of our visit, I was sitting in the living room talking to Mom. We discussed family and society. It seems a lot of her friends would be alone this Christmas because their children were too busy to take the time to travel home. More than that, we discussed how the view of “family” in society’s eyes has degenerated over the years. Where children once cared for their elderly parents, now it’s common to turn them over to nursing homes and visit when it’s convenient.

Our conversation took a personal twist when I learned that some of our own family members have become too busy to invest in family. Tears welled in Mom’s eyes and my heart broke.

When did I forget the true gift of Christmas? God invested in us when he sent His only son to this earth. That birth was a gift to us. That gift grew up and Jesus spent his life investing in people. Why would I take that gift and turn it towards selfish things. Is wrapping presents, cleaning the house before Christmas morning and shopping for our holiday meal more important that the investment into the lives of family?

As I finished talking with Mom and walked back towards our room, I repented.

Lord, please forgive me for my selfish declaration of no more holiday traveling. Please forgive me for putting my to-do list above your to-do list. Thank you, Lord, for my family. I treasure my time with them and will always stop what I’m doing to invest in them for investing in your people is my gift to you.

For the first time in weeks, peace flooded my heart. The “I forgots” faded into the background and Christmas looked a whole lot brighter. As I entered our room, my cell phone beeped with a text message from a friend whose family would be dining with us Christmas day. She asked if we had bought a turkey yet. Still covered in peace, I replied no. “Good” she wrote back. Her message went on to say her neighbor had just given her an 11 pound turkey for us to eat on Christmas day. That’s right. A free turkey delivered to my friend’s door for us to cook on Christmas day. I didn’t have time to get a turkey. God did.

December is busy. With school-aged children and everything else life has to offer, it’s the nature of the holiday. But, I will never again place that busyness over my family. For the true gift of Christmas is expressed through the love we share with each other. I love you Mom and Dad and although I’ll see you many times throughout the year, I am already excited about next Christmas.


Mary Moss said...

Wow! What a wonderful post. I have the feeling that many of us have had similar experiences this year. The whole week has just seemed somewhat calmer and peaceful for our family as well. I don't think that would be possible without keeping Christ as our focus.

We had a couple of major melt-down's too! I'm so thankful God waits for us to get over ourselves:-)

Tammy said...

Thanks you stopping by.

Yes, she did do the tabs at the top of the posting. After the design was finished and posted,I added the information behind each title.

Angela said...

I completely know where you are coming from! I was one of those people who let the art of being busy take me away from what was truly important. I received that biggest lesson a week before Thanksgiving. I was rushing over to my parents on a Thursday afternoon to pick up my son. Barely staying long enough to say Hi and bye. Little did I know that my quick "bye" was the last thing I said to my dad. I have relived that moment more times than I care to admit, and now realize its ok to let other things go, but family time cannot be put on hold.

Love you friend! Great post!

Melanie said...

This was so good to read. A great lesson of the heart.

Dead to Self said...

Ah the wonders of our God. I might have an awesome story like this in a few days if I get the job I interviewed for today. My Christmas was fun! We cleaned the house for nearly 24 hrs, but in the end we had fun with our family.

Sounds like you guys had a pretty awesome one too!!

Krista said...

Nice. Nothing like a cold hard turkey staring you in the face, to serve as a concrete manifestation of God taking care of you. He just loves using the humble things of this world to make his point, doesn't he?

sailorcross said...

Hi Spring!!

I remember the days of traveling here, there and everywhere when my children were smaller. My family has gradually dwindled away for many reasons (some of them of their own making), and now it is just my adult children and me.

I have to tell you that I miss those days of seeing all the family members together--laughing, talking, loving each other. Enjoy them all you can!!

The rest--I have come (after many years of list making and "I forgots") to realize is just not as important as the people and the relationships in our lives.

This is what Jesus was all about--relationship. He was interrupted all the time--people stopping Him along the way on His journeys. And yet, He always had time for others. Love that!!

I'm glad you had a blessed CHRISTmas--and even a turkey delivered to your door!! We may forget, but God doesn't!!


The Blonde Duck said...

That's so wonderful. So many forget the true spirit of Christmas--I felt that this year with some people. How lucky for you to find it again!

Shanita Waters said...

Hi Spring! I missed you. I'm happy that you and your family enjoyed your Christmas. God is so good. He wanted you to forget the turkey so that He could provide one for you.

The song I mentioned is actually called "In Awe Of You" By Izzy. Here's a link to the lyrics. I think there is a button there where you can click to listen.