"We'll take the pictures as soon as possible," I replied tersely.
"And why are we wearing pink? We did pink in 2005," Julianna interrupted.
"Can you help me with my tie? Jimmy handed me a tie that was now too small for his ten-year-old neck. Trying to remember....I think he got it when he was eight.
"Is Daddy ready?" Shine reached for my mascara, thinking I wouldn't notice. I did, but didn't say anything.
That was last year's annual family Christmas photo--more stressful than a hurricane; less stressful than a war zone. Wait a minute...maybe as stressful as a war zone.
The End Result
But the end result is always so lovely. There are friends who write me notes in October reminding me that they are looking forward to our Christmas photo. They must know that I am tempted, sometimes, to skip it this year.
We take between 20 and 50 shots to get one good shot for the Christmas card. It is so discouraging for everyone to find the "perfect picture" of themselves, only to have the photo unacceptable because of someone else.
Living in a War Zone
Though we are born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, we live in a war zone. Sometimes we lose the battles against our souls. Remember with every attack launched against you that satan is trying to get you to sin. The devil doesn't want or need your money when you have financial trials. He doesn't want you to trust your Heavenly Provider and give thanks to him.
When we battle sickness, realize that your health is not the issue. The goal of all demonic attack is to get you and your family members to sin against the Lord through worry, fear, unbelief, selfishness, greed, or rebellion. When we have a bad attitude or spend the day worrying, the enemy of our souls has won. Trials, whether they are training from the Lord or attacks of the enemy all can be used for good by our dear Heavenly Father. Nothing is too big for God to handle!
Now, check your heart and right with God. If you've sinned, just repent and receive forgiveness. We serve a God of mercy who hears every prayer. If your children have sinned, have them repent and get right with God. Pray together and start the day over. If you are in the middle of a prolonged trial, then keep doing this same thing over and over. The more you press into the Lord, the closer you will be to Him. Bad times, bad days, and bad attitudes can all lead us back to a closer walk with the Lord. So, don't be discouraged by all the bad days--use them as stepping stones to grow in your relationship with Lord.
What is Truly Important
Remember, what is important is NOT that everything goes according to plan, but that every heart is submitted to the will of our Father in Heaven and obedient to Him. It is God we are serving, not our agendas. And every once in a while, comes that magic moments--the perfect shot--when all goes as it should.
So what does that have to do with Christmas? Well, quite honestly, we can work ourselves up into frenzy with expectations that are unrealistic. We can have goals for ourselves, our families, and our celebrations that are just set ups for attack! Relax this season and focus more on the heart inside, less on the way things need to be. When you blow it, quickly get right with God. When your children blow it, quickly draw them to the heart of their Heavenly Father. Let this season be about honoring Him with lives and hearts that are pure and holy. Really, I think that's a gift our dear Savior would enjoy the most!
And in the midst of all the lovely homeschool and holiday chaos, may you have those magic moments when everything is as it should be.(Oh, and by the way, this year was a much calmer experience....we did our Christmas photo in November when the whole family participated in a wedding) Have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate the Birthday of our King!
For the Joy Set Before Us!
(Meredith Ludwig Curtis)