This morning I watched Shelby try to put on her own sock. There are two ways I could have responded to this. I could have grieved (and trust me – there are many things I have grieved and continue to grieve about Shelby’s condition) over the reminder that my 13 year old cannot dress herself, or I could choose to find joy in watching her attempt something she has never tried before. Picture a toddler holding a sock in one hand and lifting his foot to it and expecting it to go on just by brushing the sock over the top of the foot. Over and over again. It’s cute, right? It makes you giggle. My teenaged daughter was just as cute to me. And I giggled. Is it funny that Shelby can’t perform the most basic functions of self-care? No. But we have learned through the years to celebrate the little things. Without the ability to find joy there, it would be a sad existence. I will never get to see Shelby graduate from college or live independently or get married or have children, but I can relish every new word she learns. I can savor every picture she colors. I can celebrate when she almost clears the floor with both feet trying to jump. Because those little things have become the big things. The joy is in the day to day.
In so many areas of life, but especially at Christmas, I think we have gotten the big things confused with the little things. What we spend the most time on during the holiday season is making sure everyone on our list has the perfect gift. We work ourselves to the point of exhaustion to cook all the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing foods, and fill our homes with Pinterest-worthy decor. We make sure we attend every party and every festive activity available to us. Because we have to, right? All of these “big” things often lead to stress, frustration and discouragement. And somewhere, in the midst of all that busyness, what is really “big” becomes small. The whole reason for Christmas gets lost. We might attend a Christmas Eve service at a local church or take 10 minutes one day to read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke chapter 2, but if we are honest; Christ’s coming takes a back seat to all these activities. I wonder…if we made Jesus the most important thing about the season, would all those other things be nearly as important? Would getting a card to someone we haven’t seen in 10 years seem trivial? Would spending too much money on extravagant gifts seem like an unwise use of our resources? Would Christmas mean something totally different for you and your family? Every year articles are published about “simplifying” the holidays. Without a heart change, that seems impossible. But if we allow Jesus to take the top spot in our hearts, I think the “small” things would start to organically become the “big” things. God’s great gift to us – His Son – is THE Joy to the World. Choose that Joy. Choose Him.