coffee date

If you were here for coffee or tea this morning, here is something I'd like to talk about: 
How do you keep your joy during Christmas? 

If you're a mama, or a friend, or a wife. 
Or just a responsible human being who realizes Christmas is not the best time of year to wallow in any sinful and selfish feelings of your own, how do you let your heart be joyful during the holidays? 

This year, I can't help but think back to last year - when I was seriously struggling with depression over Christmas. I'm so pleased that my kiddos have fond memories (some of their first!) about last Christmas, but I can honestly say - I remember so little about it. 
I know the Lord carried us through some dark days. 

This year, we have so many hopeful and exciting things in our lives, and STILL it's such a battle to fight through the "it's-thursday-night-and-i'm-exhausted-and-i-really-need-to-do-laundry" to get into the most spectacular Tree decorating party ever. Amen? 
Or is that just me? 

And then, you add in the fact that our kids are FOUR, THREE, AND TWO and I have to remember that every memory we make in this seasons is going to involve slight whiffs of poop, a temper tantrum or two, and maybe a few tears. 

But they're still really beautiful memories. 
And they're still worth making. And He is still worth celebrating. 

I've been thinking back on my own childhood memories a lot and thinking about my single mom making Christmas work every year. I'm sure there were financial stresses, loneliness, tiredness, and a million other problems - but I don't remember a single one. I truly, truly, truly loved our Christmases growing up. 
Thank you Mama for pushing through. 

And then there is the Santa conundrum! Whoa Nellie. 
We don't even "do" Santa, and we've always felt really non-dramatic about it. Let the kids watch Santa movies and such, sort of ignoring the whole he-comes-down-the-chimney idea. Explaining that God gives us money and with that money, we sit it fit to buy our kids a few gifts to celebrate Jesus being born.
But at our kids school, they heard about Santa & his goodness, which led to a thirty minute conversation last night in which Elias insisted Santa was more exciting than Jesus. 
Which was heart-breaking and understanding all at once. 
And it took some grace to just move on and some prayer that He'd believe us one day. 
That Jesus is a million cadrillion times better than Santa. 

And speaking of Jesus, it's all about Him, right? 
I feel like the Lord has given me special instructions this year about the joy thing. 
Keep my eyes on Him. 
Keep my eyes on Him. 
Isaiah 45:22 - Look to me and you will be saved. 
Keep my eyes on Him. 

But let's talk - 
what are you doing to fight for the joy? 
What special coffee are you drinking at 4pm to get pumped for a night of advent activities? 
Do you find yourselves saying, "Well, does Santa die on the cross for our sins?!" :) 
I want to hear your heart, lady. 
And you can pray that I'll be keeping my eyes on Him.