We had an eye appointment for my 10 year old last month.  She’s a voracious reader and was having some headaches so we had her vision checked.  Found out something interesting… she has immature eyes.  Her eyes haven’t matured enough to handle the amount of reading she does, so she needed a very very small amount of reading correction.  We actually found a cute pair of reading glasses at the dollar spot and she’s back in business, but I see God’s lessons in just about everything good and bad around here, so here’s the lesson:

As parents, we model our children.  Sometimes it’s deliberate, sometimes not.  Sometimes we see habit or behavior that mimics ours – this can be good if it’s something we would happily choose to pass on, not so good if it’s something that has kept us from being the person God would want us to be.  Over the past year, I’ve tried very hard to change some of the attitudes that were ingrained in me.  I am usually a glass half full kinda girl, but realized that I was not practicing “thankfulness”.  When I started that thankful journey – to see God’s hand and be thankful in all things, it was life-changing.  It has changed my marriage, my relationship with my children, and our home – all for the better.  Is it easy? No.  Does it happen all the time? No.  Is it automatic? No.  Does Christmas mean it gets harder? YES!

I am practical to a fault.  The first Christmas I spent with Rod’s family, I struggled.  We were engaged, and I had never seen so many gifts under the tree with my name on the tag.  I knew this was how his family celebrated, and that they fully embraced me as his future wife.  I think it struck me the most when we spent our one and only Christmas with his grandparents.  Here was a 90 year old Preacher and his beautiful wife, opening gift after gift in their full living room, (the gifting was mostly from their “doctor” daughter) when they had sooooooo much and they lived in an area with extreme poverty.  They opened gifts for two hours.  Can I remember a single thing they received? No.  In fact, I’m sure a good portion of it went to the auction house as part of the estate settlement.

Does gifting to the extreme take our focus away from the true meaning of Christmas?  I believe it can.  Just as I believe that if the tradition does not lead us to Jesus, maybe we should re-focus.  Like that simple pair of reading glasses – correct our focus to see Christ in all.  Does this mean we can’t go watch a parade or look at lights?  Can we still sing Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer?  Certianly, but our favorite traditions celebrate the birth of our Savior.

I need God’s help daily to help me teach my children to be thankful.  I need God’s help daily to keep my focus on Him.  As this world tries to lure us away from truth, and light and into the darkness,  we need to know the way to lead our families and the lost to the saving Gospel of Christ.  I’m so thankful that 2,000 years ago, that star shone down on a manger where we would find the greatest gift of all time.   Focus.