It was a noisy scene with lots of folks around having a generally good time at a holiday event. Wondering how such a little fellow would handle the chaos, I walked over to where two-month-old Jacob was propped in his bouncy seat near his mom. What I saw in Jacob amazed me. Instead of being overwhelmed by the party around him, he had a laser focus on his mom’s face. He was relaxed and happy as he gazed adoringly at her face.
Jacob conveyed to me this truth about babies in general: As long as they remain in orbit around their moms and dads, there is security in knowing their needs will be met. Noise and distraction fall by the wayside as they gaze beatifically at their loved ones.
I can’t help but contrast this to the hectic race many adults run this time of year, even when their children are right there beside them. We may be so focused on giving our children the “perfect Christmas” that we find ourselves frazzled and frantic with too much to do. We sometimes forget that what our children want from us most is our “presence,” even more than holiday “presents.”
Between the decorating, the buying, the wrapping, the baking, and attending every special holiday event, we lose sight of what matters most. In doing FOR our families, we forget to FOCUS on them.
And yet, in the midst of it all, we can find our moment of heavenly peace when we slow down the pace and decide to be really present with our families. We recapture Christmas wonder when we listen to the retelling of old family histories from our grandparents and parents, read holiday books with our children, sing age-old Christmas songs together, and watch the night sky for that great big star.
In one of those beloved holiday books, Dr. Seuss’ curmudgeon, the Grinch, muses about Christmas in Whoville. “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” And, according to the story, this realization led to the Grinch’s small heart growing three sizes that day.
Focusing on our families instead of the trappings reduces stress and fills us up with joy. We may find that Jacob teaches us a lesson that helps our hearts grow a few sizes as well.