The Finish Line Is Sooooo Close

2 more days. 48 hours until I can relax. Just 2 more sleeps until school’s out for Christmas break. I don’t know about you but at the Allen household, we will be limping to the finish of the semester. Let me rephrase: I... I WILL BE LIMPING TO THE FINISH LINE. Between the shopping, the baking, the projects, the studying, the parties, and just the normal, every day things, I’m whipped.

Today I got to the bus stop with Blake and I noticed the neighbor kid, who is also in 3rd grade,  was wearing pajamas. Crap. 

“Blake, were you supposed to wear pajamas today??”

“Yeah, but I didn’t really want to.”

“Are you sure? I can take you back home to change and I’ll drive you to school.”

“No, that’s ok. I’m good.”

“I love you the most today.” (I didn’t say it, but in my heart, it was the truth.)

I thought I was doing good to remember to send him with the mug filled with candy for the mug exchange. Then, back in the recesses of my junk drawer brain, I seem to recall they were also supposed to bring a blanket and a book to read. Sigh. He may have conveniently forgotten this since he’s not what we call “a reader”. Nonetheless, the shame of not having it all together set in.

There’s so much pressure, especially at Christmas, to be perfect. Getting the perfect gifts to give, making the house like something out of a Hallmark Christmas movie, throwing or going to parties, making perfectly decorated Christmas cookies, and remembering that every person you’ve ever met needs “a little something” from you to feel loved. Oh and don’t forget to watch Christmas movies with your kids, and build gingerbread houses, and take them to look at Christmas lights, and make gifts for the homeless, and make Christmas cookies, and do your Advent calendar EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you are good at all of these things and none of this is stressful to you, you have a standing ovation from me. I will slow clap you with the deepest respect.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned from writing, it’s that I’m not alone. So when I say I love all of these things but am tired and really just want to take a nap, I know some of you feel me.

Doing all the Christmas things and all the school things and all the regular things is wearing me down and this is the exact moment shame likes to creep in. He likes to tap me on the shoulder and remind me, “You were so close. You almost remembered everything but then you forgot about pajama day. It was a good try but Blake will probably remember forever that you forgot his pajama day in 3rd grade. It’ll probably end up right behind the year he was disappointed with his Christmas presents. Way to go.”

Sheesh. Shame’s a jerk.

The more I think about it though, the more it puts me in the Christmas spirit.

Whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis?

I am a human being in need of saving. I need to be saved from self-destructive shame and that’s just exactly why Jesus came.

That baby who came to live the life I couldn’t live and die the death I deserved has me undone.

I am undone thinking about Jesus leaving heaven to come down here and get me. He knew I would self-destruct if left to my own devices and He didn’t want that for me. He wanted abundant life for me. He wants that for you too. He came to change everything.

So instead of putting that shame brick in my backpack, I’ll release it back to the place from which it came. Because truth be told, if Blake really wanted to wear pajamas, he would have told me. The kid’s in sweatpants as it is and that’s a pretty close second. And when he gets off the bus this afternoon, he’ll have a mug full of treats from someone in his class and he will be stoked about it. He’s going to be fine. The kids will be fine if we don’t do all the Christmas things. They will be fine if you choose not to go to their holiday party (GASP!!). They will also be fine if you buy store bought Christmas cookies. 

We may not do all the Christmas things but let’s not forget to tell them about the baby that changed everything. It's far more important than making gingerbread houses. Because at some point, they’re going to figure out they can’t do it all either and they’re going to need to know what to do with their shame bricks. 

To all the mamas out there just trying to get it done, I salute you and you have my prayers. Merry Christmas and I hope you remember where you hid all the presents!!!