The Sunday after Thanksgiving found my pastor reflecting on what a wonderful weekend his family had experienced. He talked about how relaxing it had been to stay home for several days, with no pressing commitments and no people clamoring for his attention. He raved about the wonderful food they’d eaten and how much he’d enjoyed the rest of those days, how great it was that we’d all had time to sit around and relax for days in a row–something that doesn’t happen very often at all.
And I have to admit, it made me giggle.
Every woman in the room was probably chuckling a bit, if my guess is correct. And here’s why: we hadn’t rested a bit! Between menu planning, scheduling and purchasing plane tickets for distant family members, deciding who was bringing what to dinner, scrubbing the not-often-seen-spaces for out of town guests, making sure we had plates/glasses/forks/napkins enough for a burgeoning table (and where did that extra leaf disappear to, anyway?) preparing some of the food days in advance, and then juggling times to put in and take out the turkey, sweet potatoes, gravy, rolls, green beans, onions, pies, and even when the ice should go in the glasses, early enough to have time to pour drinks but not so early they’d all melt, “restful” is not the word I’d use to describe Thanksgiving! And just when the last platter was dried and put back in its place and the last Tupperware piece filled with leftover casserole and stored away, it was time to pull out the newspaper ads and gear up to shop on Black Friday! And when we finished that, of course, it was time to pull down boxes from the attic, make some space in the living room, head to the tree lot, and decorate for Christmas!
Nope. Not much rest happening here for me that weekend. I’d assume it’s the same for you! And here’s the thing: I really didn’t mind! I love making Thanksgiving happen for my family. Those men who have to get up and leave the house and work day after day after day *should* have a few days to NOT do that, and it’s a blessing to know they enjoyed it!
When my children were all small, it sometimes bothered me that the holidays were so much work. Christmas, especially. As a child it was all such a wonder; the tree and decorations and food and presents; they all just appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and with no work on anyone’s part! Then I became a mom, and reality set in … I think it’s a big adjustment, going from being the recipients of Christmas to being the bringers of it. Last year as I was wearily driving home from yet another Christmas-errand type excursion, I had a sudden realization that helped a lot with that.
Christmas has always come through the sacrifice of a woman.
Tears ran down my face when that truth crystallized in my heart. Always, of course, Christmas has been a gift from the Father. But even the first time–especially the first time!–a woman was required to lay down her plans, her comfort, her self. Without Mary’s offering up of her life to the purposes of God, we’d have nothing to celebrate.
So this year, as you go about all your preparations and work, dear mom, I pray you see the Father’s smile! We get to partner with Him in a very special way this time of year. Every ornament hung, cookie baked and carol played add sweet memories to your children’s hearts. Your husband’s, too! Go ahead and embrace the “weight” of being a Christmas-bearer. Just make sure you let God help you carry that! You are part of a sisterhood of women who say “Yes” to God, that He may bring beauty and joy to the world. He doesn’t do it without you!