Sunday, December 18, 2011

"This is Supposed to be Special!"

As part of our family's Advent, we do one special "family activity" each week. (There are also service projects, Scripture readings, and tiny pieces to a nativity that gradually gets built throughout Advent.) So this week's activity was a family movie. I bought the "Polar Express," and Eli was so excited to watch the "Twain Movie." We had such a busy weekend, though, that we didn't get a chance to watch it until this afternoon after church and a church luncheon.

Our nephew Timothy came over to watch with us, too. He's more like a brother to Eli than a cousin, so he's a part of a lot of our family activites. Anyway... we got them all set up on the couch with hot chocolate and cozy blankets, and they were just so giddy. It was adorable!

And we cuddled up and watched that movie for all of 20 minutes before things started deteriorating. :) They just wanted to play! I kept telling them that this was "family time" and that they needed to sit down and watch the movie. Finally their goofing off led to an entire mug of hot chocolate getting spilled on the rug and a subsequent lecture from me about how "this is supposed to be special!"

And as they went scampering away to play with toys and I listened to them laughing and talking while Eric and I scrubbed the rug, I realized that I'm putting way too much pressure on Christmas "activities" to deliver the meaning of the season. Because it's not about a 2-hour movie watched all the way through. It's about two little boys playing so happily together that there was nothing else they'd rather be doing. And it's about the love that we have the choice to show to each other in gratitude for the tremendous love that was shown to us at the birth of our Savior.

So, as I apologized to Eli for my bad attitude and high expectations and lack of love in the way I treated them, I tried to engrain in my heart that the "everyday" moments are the special ones. I don't want to put any pressure on Christmas, because the center of it all is the infant who came to bring us peace!

So there will be no more "This is supposed to be special!" lectures from a frazzled mommy. There will just be happiness in the moments shared and the opportunites we have to love and share with others. And if we get to watch more than 20 minutes of a Christmas movie together, that's just a bonus. :)