The week leading up to Christmas took an unexpected turn around here. My heart sunk heavier and heavier as Christmas morning crept closer. You see, we’re still finding our way through how to do Christmas.We don’t do Santa, or have an Elf on the shelf, and frankly, we didn’t even get all the way through Everyday Emmanuel (thank you, Jesus, for grace). We’ve gone down to three gifts each but still, we struggle. We want more of Christ in our Christmas.
Between October and December, each of my children have birthdays–which is a lot of parties, a lot of gifts, a lot of getting–and by the time Christmas arrives, it seems we find ourselves battling their ever growing desire for more things. Four days before Christmas, the monster of ingratitude reared it’s revolting head and breathed its toxin out all over this place.
Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, and the days that followed, I struggled to shake the weight of what had erupted. I allowed the edges of my Christmas morning to gray with the haze of what had happened during the week leading up.
Christmas didn’t look quite like I’d expected. God wastes none of these moments and in the aftermath of a tremendous emotional struggle with one of my children, God brought light to my own heart on the issue of gratitude. His truth sears, and I immediately recognized the fires of refinement. I’ve spent a lot of time there lately. I know the stench of sin burning off.
While I struggled hard with the reactions of a certain someone in the house, God revealed that my grief over the ingratitude of my child, looks a bit like His grief over our ingratitude. Feeling the weight of God’s grief nearly smothered me. The pain of the revelation ached in my chest. While my ingratitude is often less obvious as my child’s, my heart too often murmurs against the provisions He has afforded me.
How many times have I smiled on the outside, while inside, my heart lusts for things which I do not have? How often have I said, “thank you, God, but–”
It turns out, the grief I felt over the way things unfolded was a gift, a small insight into how I too, grieve my Father who loves me without end and, never withholds any good gift from me–despite the obvious fact that I deserve none of His good grace.
We’re starting again. Me and this child, my Father and me.
We’re learning gratitude in all things. It is a lesson worth mastering, no matter how painful the process.