Finding Joy in the Season

October 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Diane Mayfield –

Christmas traditions fill my heart with such joy. They always have. When our three children were young, part of our Christmas tradition was to have them choose a gift to put under the tree for Jesus’ birthday. I loved to see what they would choose. One might wrap her favorite doll to place under the tree. A stuffed kitty cat made her way under the tree for Jesus. There was even a favorite toy gun. When the kids grew, the gift giving to Jesus grew as well. Gifts of the heart were shared during a private family dinner that then would end with communion.

We also held a Jesus birthday party for the neighborhood kids. The first year we had the party, one of my son’s friends broke out in Chicken Pox the day after the party. Ten days later, all three of my children, under the age of four, broke out with that itching disease. Can I call that spiritual warfare?

It didn’t stop us though. We kept on having the party and inviting school friends and neighborhood families. One year, I dressed up as an angel, halo and all, and told the story from the angel’s point of view. Another year my husband Dave appeared as a shepherd, speaking from the shepherd’s perspective.

I loved those years of teaching and training our kids about Jesus. Several months ago, I asked them what they remembered about all those traditions and which one meant the most. You won’t believe what they said. They loved the praying together at the top of the stairs before we went down to the tree. All five of us gathered at the top of the stairs to pray. We thanked God for the gift of Jesus, His unconditional love, and for being able to share the day with family. Who knew that would be the tradition they carried in their hearts.

Well, those children are now grown. Two are married and live in Houston. One lives in Austin. So getting everyone together on the same day to celebrate Christmas this year is not possible due to extended family complications. And quite honestly, I’m heartbroken about it. It is one of my greatest joys in life being together as a family. This is the first year we won’t be together.

On my walk this morning, I said to God, “ Help me with all this. I need a renewed perspective. I need to find the joy in the season again.” In His sweet, gentle way, He took me to those memories of years ago and reminded me of my former teaching to my kids about giving to Jesus. It’s not just for kids. Because one thing didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, I’d lost heart. I’d thrown out what I’d spent so much of my life teaching. So, the question for me is what will I give to Jesus this season. How will I package it? And when will I start the giving?

I don’t have the whole answer yet, but suddenly the dark cloud has lifted and I’m filled with the joy of discovering what the gift will be. I’m starting with changing my focus from what isn’t going to happen to what is happening. I have time with my children and grandchildren, not all on the same day, but at least I will get time with all of them. Who knows, maybe in some way that will extend my joy.

Traditions change, but not the real meaning of God’s greatest gift to us, His Son Jesus.

About Diane Mayfield

Diane, a follower of Jesus, has a Bachelor of Journalism Degree, a Master’s Degree in Education with a specialty in counseling and is a Certified Coach. Married for 35 years and after raising three children, she returns to one of her first loves-writing.
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