I’m feeling it this year – that struggle to keep up with Mrs. Jones.  Not necessarily in a material sort of way, but. . .  well, yeah, I wish I could decorate better – more elaborately.  I wish I had knocked out the whole gift-giving thing this year.  I wish I stuck to our Advent study like more consistent moms, had guests coming over like more hospitable moms, had a cleaner house like the Mary’s, gotten our tree earlier like the more organized moms, and made a slew of handmade gifts like the more crafty moms. . .  “Poor me!  I do nothing right!”

How foolish I am!

What gift is it to God, me wallowing in self-pity and criticism?

And it takes a child’s bookto snap me out of it.

“Don’t think about what others have done. Just be yourselves and you will make a fine Christmas. . . We must all do what we do best.” ~ Tomie de Paola

God has given me so many gifts, and I’m selfish and ungrateful to want anything more . . .  to not stop to see how He’s blessed me. . .  to not give it back to Him with joy.

So, I’ll do what I do best, I’ll be who He made to be, I’ll do and be for Him this Christmas – with a thankful, merry heart.

Thankful for:

  • Crumbs on the table
  • Good laughs
  • Soup simmering on the stove giving me a moment to collect my thoughts
  • Old, Christmasy musicals
  • Recipes that were given to me at my wedding shower (they continue to serve me well)
  • Cuddly kids
  • The tired days that make me appreciate these little (and big) gifts even more
  • Wet snow at night – pretty in the light – kids falling asleep while watching out their bedroom windows
  • Talking to my mom on the phone
  • A great deal on books
  • God’s protection and care
  • A selfless and caring husband
  • Reality checks that make me realize how blessed I really am
  • Clothing
  • Clean, running water
  • A warm home
  • The blessing of four children
  • The picture books they give me the excuse to read
  • Tomie de Paola – such a great author

Just one thing to do today:

Give God the gift of gratitude – Thank Him for who He made you to be.  Verbally, out-loud, thank Him for the gifts He’s given you; then, put that gratitude to work using your gifts and your personality – your loves and your abilities – to celebrate Christmas.  If you have Country Angel Christmas (or access to it), read it with your kids and then encourage them to find ways that they can give of the best of themselves to Jesus this Christmas.

And one more thing. . .

Make room in your busy holiday schedule to work through the O Antiphons from the 17th to the 23rd of December.  You can use some of the ideas from my family’s Advent study for this year, or check out these links to find great O ornaments, Scripture verses and the words to O Come, O Come Emmanuel.