The most wonderful time of the year — all year
Every time I see a great breakfast recipe posted on social media, I also see the comment, “This would be great for Christmas morning,” or some such thought. Even in April or July. And I think, “Why only Christmas morning?” How will they fit all those delicious breakfast ideas into just one day?
Maybe they are looking for some special new traditions. Maybe it’s not just for Christmas morning.
But I also wonder if their lives are so crazy that they only have time for a really special breakfast on Christmas morning. And that makes me sad. Not because I love breakfast (which I do — it’s my favorite meal), but because a big breakfast represents many things — time spent eating together, perhaps cooking together, memories made eating favorite dishes, and the love that goes into a homemade meal.
And that’s what I want to address. Time.
Time with family goes by in a flash. It may not feel that way when you have babies, toddlers, or a house full of noisy kids. But take it from me, it is fast. One day you’re potty training, and the next day you’re planning your daughter’s wedding. And what will you remember about all those years in between?
Christmas is, and should be, a very special time of year. We celebrate the birth of the Son of God, and it is a time of reverence and remembrance. We spend extra time with relatives and friends. We give gifts to those we love. It’s fun, and oh-so-hectic.
We are busy creating memories at Christmas, and that’s a wonderful thing. But we can also create special memories all year long. When simple meals are special, and when we take time to savor small moments with our families all year round, we have less pressure to make them all happen in the short holiday season. We are then free to concentrate on the truly Christmas-y activities, instead of making a big breakfast one more thing on the Christmas bucket list.
Sally Clarkson beautifully says, in her book The Life Giving Home:
“We were made for home. We were made for relationship and place. We were made for belonging in the physical world. The Incarnation affirms that this is part of the gospel — that belonging is restored because the life of God enters into the life of human flesh and physicality. The life of Jesus began in a particular little town, amidst people just like us, who ate and worked and laughed and hoped. The Kingdom came first to a stable in Bethlehem, not an abstract point of the cosmos, and the Incarnation continues to bring God’s Kingdom about through us, in our individual lives, in our little houses scattered across the globe.
We must understand homemaking not as a retreat from the fallen world, not as a retrenchment from culture, but as a profound engagement with it. We must understand the creation of home as a work of incarnational power and creativity. “Kingdom come” doesn’t happen on some cosmic scale; the whole point is that it invades the physical at the humblest level. As Christ was born a tiny human child of Mary, so Christ comes again, invading the human realm in and through our ordinary love of children and friends, spouses and siblings. His Kingdom comes in the way we celebrate, the shelter we make of our homes, the joy we put into what we cook and eat and create, our willingness to welcome strangers into our midst. As the Holy Spirit fills us, our families and friendships and the particular spaces of our lives become the spaces where Christ is born again and again — growing, ordering, renewing, healing.”
This book, by the way, encourages moms to make home a wonderful place to be by celebrating the small things in simple and consistent ways. I highly recommend it.
Create special moments throughout the days, the weeks, and the years. Make an ordinary pan of biscuits special with jelly and honey, and a dish of fruit. Have “chocolate-milk Friday” or use the pretty dishes on Sunday. Take time to make cinnamon rolls from scratch, prepare a quiche the night before, or serve pancakes in fun shapes.
Let the kids help in the kitchen. It’s messier and takes more time, but oh-my-goodness is it life-changing for them! They aren’t just learning to cook; they are spending time with you.
I know that you may be thinking, “We’re just too busy for anything more than a bowl of cereal in the morning. We have to rush out the door to school, to homeschool lessons, to sports practice, and to church.”
I get that. I’ve been there, actually many times. A quick bowl of cereal, rushing out the door to this activity and that. Missing dinner with Dad because we had evening activities. Weekends that weren’t restful because of more activities. Laundry piled high, dishes piled high, cranky kids, exhausted parents.
When I have found our family in this place, I find that we have to drop some activities from our schedule. As great as any team or class or Bible study group is, if it robs our family of… well… family, then it’s not really great.
It’s not really about breakfast, or at least — it’s not only about breakfast. It’s about making life special instead of hurrying through it. No matter what your life is like, find little ways to make the ordinary things into memories.
We remember special times. We remember tastes and smells and music. They bring back memories for years afterward. We remember these things far more than playing soccer every Saturday, and we cherish these things far more than any class or lesson.
Don’t wait until Christmas morning to eat a special breakfast together. Don’t wait until December to do fun things with the family. The years go by so quickly. Make memories that you will cherish when your kids grow up, and that they will cherish when they leave home. Make your home an anchor for their childhood now and for their memories later.
Don’t rush through life. Stop and think about what makes the Christmas holiday season so special, and then create a life that integrates the special all year. Turn simple things like meals, walks in the neighborhood, pretty dishes, candlelight, and time spent together into a normal thing in your family. Let “the most wonderful time of the year” be all year.