23 Days of Advent-Day 22 Little Debbie Christmas

It’s time.  I’m going into the vault for one of my favorite Christmas stories.  

When my oldest daughter started elementary school I learned quickly that what you take to school on your birthday separates the “sheep from the goats” ….at least in the Mom’s circles.  In the world of competitive parenting, there are extra points for those special birthday treats.  As a working mom in a school where working moms were not the norm, I felt the pressure to perform.  My daughter chose gingerbread men for her birthday treat.  From that moment on… not only for her but for her sister as well, the night before a birthday, I would stay up all night baking and decorating gingerbread men.  Yes, it took me all night. I’m not the world’s greatest baker and for every G-man who made it to the tray, two went to the trash as part of my self-imposed quality control.   My son came along and I continued the tradition, until he got to second grade.  The afternoon before his birthday, he laid it all on the line.  He told me that neither he nor any of his friends liked gingerbread.  Of course, silly me.  I never even asked him what he wanted.  “So what would you like me to bake?  He said, “Nothing…, why don’t you get some of those Little Debbie cakes at Kroger, everybody loves those.”   I’m thinking to myself…”Not as long as I live and breathe will a child of mine take store bought Little Debbie cakes for birthday snack… no way!”   I was not giving up. ” How about those chocolate/butterscotch cookies that you like.  Or maybe sugar cookies in the shapes of footballs or Mario… I could do that.”   “Mom, you don’t need to stay up all night baking cookies, just go get the Little Debbies.”   “But Stewart”, I whined, ” I want to bake for you and your friends. I stay up all night because I want the cookies to be just right.  And I do all of this because I love you.”  

With wisdom beyond his years and a no-nonsense voice that my son mastered at an early age, he looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “ I know that you love me, but do you love me enough to just go get the Little Debbie cakes?”  

I could hear the question loud and clear… do you love me enough to sit down all of your own anxieties about what a kid’s birthday snack should be?  Do you love me enough to walk away from that competitive parenting nonsense?  

On this, the 22 day of Advent, can you hear Jesus echoing those very words.   “Do you love me enough to just get the Little Debbies?   Do you love me enough to lay down all those notions about how society says my birthday should be celebrated?  Can you walk away from the perfect Christmas, the perfect dinner, the perfect gifts?   Christmas is three days away and if you are still asking if one green vegetable at your Christmas dinner is enough, I’ll tell you right now ….. it is.   Will your children or grandchildren think your gift is the best thing they have ever gotten…. probably not but 10 years from now they will not even remember that gift.  They will remember how long you hugged them, the time you took to listen to them.  They won’t remember how many green vegetables you had at the table.  They will remember the food you prepared to give away.  The question for you and for me is:  Do we love Jesus enough to push out the anxiety and just let the love in? 

Grace and Peace at Advent


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