Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
When I was about 6 years old, I distinctly remember a lesson I learned during the Christmas season. Our family lived in a little rental house while my daddy was building what would become our family home. It was December and I ran out to get the mail. (I’m about to tell everyone how old I am here.) The brand new Sears and Roebuck catalog was in the mail that day. My sister and I were so excited! We got paper and pencils and went to work making our long list for Santa. We proudly presented these lists to my mom. I remember the look that came over my mom’s face to this day. We were about to have a talk. She gently told us that maybe we should rethink the lists we made and choose a few items. Maybe we could choose one big item that we really wanted and a few smaller items. She said that we needed to think about other children all over the world who would wake up with nothing for Christmas. They would have their family and one day we would understand that it was time with family that was the real gift, not things you get from a catalog. She reminded us of Baby Jesus and that this is the season of giving and not getting. In my 6 year old mind, I realized that she was so right. I had made a list of “things” and there was nothing I truly needed or wanted... except maybe a new bicycle.
My mom is an amazing woman. She can plan a budget and stick with it to a penny. We never knew that there were times when we were little that we had financial struggles. My sister and I always had everything we needed growing up. She also made sure that we had dinner at the table every night, together, as a family. She brought us up to value family. She also brought us up to love and respect Jesus.
With Christmas 5 days away, I am more aware of this life lesson than ever before. I have a big family with 4 grown children and 8 grandchildren. I still have my parents and I have a great relationship with my sister. I could ask them for anything in the world, and they would do their best to give it to me. However, this is what I have picked out as my gift, and you won’t find it in a catalog, on Amazon, on Ebay, or any other internet site. I want time with my family. I want to see them together. I want the mad, crazy sound of kids running through the house screaming and laughing. I want to see my Mama and Daddy with their grandchildren and great grandchildren one more time. I know that these moments are so precious and rare. And I also know that there are more times like this behind us than there are ahead of us.
I am so thankful for my sweet Mom. She taught us so many valuable lessons throughout our lives. She still gives of herself. She is still training us in ways that we should go.
That red bicycle with the banana seat and high handlebars that I got that Christmas is long gone, but the life lesson I learned that day is forever in my heart. Thank you, God, for giving me parents who invested themselves in us. Thank you that we learned the difference between “things” and “time”. Help me to value every minute I have with my family this Christmas season.