Pre Christmas Melt Down

So what do you all do when you feel like life is shoving you around like some big bully and try as you might, you cannot seem to escape the debilitating blows?
I've been trying to breathe slow lately but hyperventilation keeps forcing it's way up my wind pipe. Isn't slow breathing the protocol when things get crazy? Take a deep breath. Hold it, hold it. Breathe it back out slow. Repeat, and repeat again until the mind starts to let go of the craziness of trying to hold all things together.

Let's face it. I'm probably not the only mama on the planet wondering what all this Christmas rush, tear and intensity ever leads too. I feel like slashing hard through expectations - my kids expectations, my husbands expectations and my own expectations (and those are the loudest voices in my head). We try so hard to make a season of wonder don't we? I know I do. I push and I pull. I make lists and more lists and forget that I will get tired and most likely sick and wonder why in the world are we doing all this anyway? Where did the simplicity go? Where is peace in the midst of this sugar charged, caffeine charged craziness?

I forget that what my children, my husband, my friends want, is me. They don't want a mama who can bring down the moon and throw sparking lights all over it. They want me. Not the frazzled me. Not the "I'm-angry-because-I-am-so-raw-right-now-because-I-am-not-taking-care-of-myself-because-there-is-too-much-to-do" mama. They just want me.

Isn't that the gift we are to one another? I don't know about you but there are times (most of the time) when I find it easier to give people things, acts of service, anything other than me. Giving me, my heart, feels a little to exposed somehow - you know, there is the fear that people won't like me, they will reject me, hurt me, be unkind. It is vulnerable to give me, my true self. Oh yeah, we can all give the "masked" version, right? We, most of us, are pretty skilled at that. We figure out early on what's acceptable to people and we can play that role  - the efficient housewife, the serving mother, the faithful Christian, the listening friend. Giving our authentic self feels very risky because it is risky. 

So it occurs to me that the real gift of Christmas was the giving of a person to this world who lived the most authentic life every lived. There wasn't any pretence in the Son of God. He didn't wear masks to hide. His vulnerability was displayed on every level. He was born into vulnerability. He didn't hide who he was so he wouldn't get rejected - the Pharisees openly rejected Him. His heart was fully exposed when he wept with Mary over the death of her brother. He could have protected himself from being tortured with whips and He didn't. He modeled the most true, authentic live every lived. He was the gift. This life of faith has never been about what we get from Jesus but about the very giving of himself to us.

What does it take to slow me down enough to be able to see past the hussle and bussle? What does it take to realize that it's not what I do for my family that becomes the gift but that I need to give them the gift of myself this Christmas?

Challenging? Yes. Hard to fight the expectations? Yes. Oh, just slow.......just slow. Breathe in the truth that you can be the gift, the hope, the life they are longing for this Christmas because of Christ in you. He's the hope that feeds the world from the manger of lowliness. Vulnerable baby chased down to be killed by the King, becoming the vulnerable man, caught and nailed to a cross.

You, Jesus,  lived the most beautiful life every lived and you embraced every part of it, the suffering, the pain, the rejection and through it all you loved. You were the gift, you are the gift, and we can be the gift too. Help us not forget the preciousness of what you have created in us.


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