Saturday, December 11, 2010

So Small

This past week on the way to work, I had one of those moments. You know the ones. Maybe you've had one yourself. Those times when a perfectly timed tune renders you clown-faced because your freshly applied mascara is now smeared down your face thanks to the many tears you suddenly started to shed. This time, I have Carrie Underwood to thank.

A few years ago, I first heard her song "So Small" and used it for a lesson with my 6th grade English students at the time. I thought I had come up with this great, creative, high-interest lesson that my students would totally love. After all, who didn't love Carrie Underwood? Apparently the 6th grade boys. And my lesson flopped :)

I hadn't heard the song in quite a while. When I heard it this past week, the lyrics themselves would have been enough to trigger my response. However, this time, snippets from parents whose children were battling, or had lost their battle with, cancer were superimposed as the song was playing. I quickly realized that this radio station was holding a fundraiser for St. Jude's. So as I listened to this song, which was somewhat consoling to me after I miscarried our first baby at 13 weeks back in late 2007, I was flooded with emotions... emotions of that time as I remembered going in for an ultrasound and being told my baby no longer had a heartbeat; emotions of our time with Isaac as I listened to these parents talk about how they were praying and pleading for their child's life. And the flood gates opened.

You may not be familiar with the lyrics, and if that's the case, you can find them here. While so much of this song has to do problems that feel huge, our perseverance through them, and looking on the bright side. I will be the first to say that I truly know that some of life's struggles really are huge... that it's not necessarily just a matter of a perspective shift, but that it's a deep, deep struggle. A struggle of grief; a struggle of making sense of it all; a struggle of reconciling tragic circumstance with a God who is truly good, but yet still allowed it to happen.

What struck me differently this time was the refrain, which talks about how when you figure out that love is all that matters after all, it makes everything else seem so small. And while this was never intended to be a Christmas song, this sentiment sure reminded me of it.

Because you see, many of us, myself included, face so much stress around the holidays. Stresses of overcommitment; stresses of family gatherings and the good, bad, and ugly that can sometimes come along with that; stresses of maybe not being able to "afford Christmas" this year because of the economy, but yet not wanting to disappoint. And yet, what really matters most, particularly during this Christmas season, is love.

To borrow some of my own words from last year, "Over 2000 years ago, God began his redemptive plan for humanity... for your soul and for mine. On this night, Love came down... leaving His heavenly throne, and made his way humbly into our world as tiny baby in a manger whose name is walk among us sharing a story of hope and redemption, and to ultimately give up his own life for the sake of ours. "

That is love... and that is the spirit of Christmas. When we understand this, it really alters our perspective and helps the stresses of the holiday season to not occupy the space in our minds and our hearts that they don't deserve. This love makes everything else seem so small in comparison, when we truly remember what Christmas is all about.

It is my hope and prayer for your family that this time of year would be filled with great joy and a sense of wonder as you are reminded anew of God's redemptive plan not only for all of humanity, but specifically for your heart and for mine. That your time with our family and friends would be rich, but that your time with your Savior would be richer.

I need to wrap this up (no pun intended!), but I would love to hear what your favorite Christmas tradition is with your family... whether it is something from your childhood and growing up, or something that you started once you got married or had your own children. I love getting this peek into your lives, and hearing your ideas! I thought this would be a fun thing to share, and that perhaps many of us could find new ways to celebrate this Christmas!


Heather said...

God is LOVE! Excellent post, thank you~Heather

Jacksmom said...

We go the Saturday after Thanksgiving to pick out our tree at a farm. We started this tradition for Jack's second Christmas and we plan on doing it every year.

This year we are starting a new tradition with my mom. We will go to her house to do gifts on Christmas Eve, then go to Friendly's for dinner, and then to the family service at our church. We think it sounds like a fun tradition to start!

Mommato2miracles said...

My favorite Christmas tradition occurs on Christmas Eve. I can't remember how old I was (somewhere around 9 or 10 I think) when my mom started hosting a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Eve. She would invite many sick children (she is a private duty nurse: taking care of dying kids, long term illness etc with kids). She would have a birthday cake for Jesus and we would sing the birthday song. Now as I am married and have children of my own, this continues to be so special to me. I am so blessed that my children are now experiencing this birthday party at my mom's house too:-)

Staci said...

Awesome post, thanks! :)

I love the idea of a cake for Jesus. I think its a great reminder for our children and maybe we'll try that this year.

My fave tradition is an annual shopping trip with my Dad on Christmas Eve. We leave super early and take about six hours, just together. Its such important time for us and I will never ever forget it.

The Mama Bird said...

I just read your post and really needed those words this day (and this month). THANK YOU.

I started a new tradition last Christmas that I'm excited about. As a birthday gift to Jesus, we (my husband and 4 kids) each wrote him our own letter (although the kids needed a little help). The letter was pretty simple. It read: "Dear Jesus, Happy Birthday! This year I 'give' you my thanks for _____ and I 'give' you my sin/burden _____." We each wrote the year on it, put it into an envelope, sealed it and saved it for this year. This year we opened those envelopes, shared what we wrote ONLY if we want (these are meant to be private), and on Christmas day we will write our 2010 letters, then put both letters together in a sealed envelope. The idea is to keep all these letters all together so that each Christmas we can look back over the year(s) and see God's mighty hand in our lives. :)

I pray you have a Christmas filled with the joy of having Eliana here, and with the bittersweet assurance that Isaac is wishing Jesus a Happy Birthday in person. Lots of love to you all...

Emily said...

I am so thankful to hear from you. The song you referenced her brought such comfort to my heart tonight.