a prayer for mothers on Christmas Eve


I met my friends in the dark this morning just as snow began to fall. As we ran along the familiar streets we discussed our plans and stresses and to-do lists of the day. We all want to enjoy these days with our children and yet so much burdens a mother’s shoulders on Christmas Eve.  As we parted, I said to my friends, “My Christmas wish for you is to enjoy it; drink in every happy moment.”

All month, I’ve shopped and wrapped, attended concert after concert, baked and folded and mailed– and I’ve soaked it in– laughed and listened, skipped through trees hung with lights, stood still, closed my eyes and felt the spirit of love and goodwill all around.

But today, I’m too busy. I’ve put off so many tasks, I can feel the stress buzzing through my veins, my to-do list repeating in my head. I’ve had too many late nights and early mornings; I can feel myself about to break. And I don’t like myself this way. These are the times when I say something snippy, hurt someone’s feelings, forget to give a child a hug. I’m afraid. I don’t like to nag or scold or grumble. I like to be nice. I want to create magic without being manic; to know when to abandon the last batch of cookies for a snowball fight and leave ribbons off the packages in favor of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Driving home, I prayed, “Please help me to be patient, to be kind. Please help me, on this, the eve of my Saviour’s birth.”


Yesterday, we crowded into our favorite pew at church– I’m afraid we were a little rude (sorry Olsons)– we always try to sit by the Dudley’s grandchildren. My big boys fight over ten month old Charlie, while Gabe compliments little Audrey on her on her dress. Just for Christmas, straight from Boston, came baby Marjorie. I know there have been other babies just as beautiful and just as loved, but never, never has there been a baby more beautiful or more wanted than sweet little Marjorie.

As I held Marjorie and sang, “Angels from the Realms of Glory” I felt heaven all around me. I carried that feeling into Nursery where eleven happy toddlers laughed and played, fingered my Nativity set and danced as we blew soap bubbles. “This is Christmas.” I told myself over and over.

Arriving home from running this morning, I found Mary, Gabe and Xander reading under the Christmas tree.


I crossed out half my list and recruited the kids for present wrapping. They came in shifts so they couldn’t see their own presents.


Their wrapping is pretty impressive, yes?


Gabe and Mary delivered gifts in the storm (they didn’t last long).


Mostly, I left everyone alone to just be. To play dumb games, watch Phineas & Ferb, for Erik to finish Les Miserables before the movie (only 600 pages to go!)


and I scrapped the last few scenes and effects for Ben’s Christmas video. It’s good enough, really silly, but more than a little obnoxious (and I look all stressed and bug eyed in the mailbox scene because a car almost hit Gabe two minutes before).

All day, I felt an angel beside me, soothing me with an extra measure of patience and humor, energy to spare.  Perhaps it was my mother who also wanted to stay calm and happy on these days and struggled too.

Because God knows all, and gives us what we need (not necessarily what we want), I often hesitate to ask for specific blessings. But I believe God delights in answering little prayers, sending love notes from heaven, especially when, in His wisdom, He is not granting our big prayers. They same way I’m happy to make sugar cookies for Gabe, but I’m not going to buy him a motorcycle. God listens; He is ready to bless us, we simply need to ask. Oh, I’ve had times when I prayed to behave well and I simply couldn’t. But today, heaven’s help flooded in.

Tonight I’m grateful for the gift of a peaceful heart, for a Father in Heaven who loves us completely and Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, the babe of Bethlehem.

December 22, 2012
December 29, 2012



  1. Annie

    December 25, 2012

    Yes. Amen.
    Wishing you a lovely, joyful, angel-attended Christmas Day. xo

  2. Chocolate on my Cranium

    December 25, 2012

    The Dudley’s are my husband’s cousins! Small world. You are so lucky to be able to mug on baby Marjorie! She has got the most squishable, munchable cheeks I’ve ever seen.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Tracy

    December 25, 2012

    Merry Christmas dear one. I love you. xoxo

  4. Hildie

    December 26, 2012

    I should have read this a couple of days ago. I lost it so badly on Christmas Eve; screaming at everyone and generally being awful. Lovely.

    I have barely been praying at all the last few days. I don’t know why. I just haven’t. I need to repent. Sometimes the burdens are so heavy on my shoulders I just buckle and complain instead of asking for help.

    I’m an idiot.

  5. Michelle

    December 26, 2012

    I tried this year to drink it in, too, and to really try to keep my heart focused on the little blessings that Father has been sending…and I think it was the best Christmas ever for me. The ‘big wishes’ are not being granted, necessarily, but I feel Him saying, “Come here, little one, and let me hold you. Let me tell you how much I love you. Let me let you know that I know you and your life, down to every detail. And let me show you that in the little details of your daily life.

    Like you say, He’s so eager to bless and help. The way you described it brings it home all the more for me. Thank you.

    p.s. Sorry I missed bringing by the little gift. Didn’t make it up there in time either day I thought I’d be able to stop by.

  6. annie

    December 26, 2012

    We always love your videos!

  7. Cath

    December 27, 2012

    Your family made me smile again and again throughout the video. Love you all so much. And btw, you look stunning! I thought all Christmas Eve day about your words on our morning run, “Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!” you said. And it made my day different. Not perfect. I failed a couple times. But your words helped. Thank you. xo

  8. Grandma Honey

    December 27, 2012

    This was so fun to watch! I hope you make more family videos.

  9. Heather

    December 27, 2012

    Such a great post! I do the same thing when it comes to wrapping gifts – recruit my kids. They are such a big help. The wrapping isn’t beautiful, but having the job all done is beautiful to me.

  10. Tasha

    December 27, 2012

    I saw that screenshot of Stefan with a big envelope and thought it was his mission call! I was in for a surprise once I actually watched the video. Your kids are darling.

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