Like many people this time of year, I have caught myself running crazy looking for the perfect gift, trying to bake the perfect treat, creating the perfect holiday card, and preparing my home for the perfect celebration. I must remind myself that Christmas is not about these things.

Christmas is not about me, what I want and how I want people to think of me.
Christmas is about God, what He desires and who He is.

Christmas is not about my love for my family, or about the gifts and celebrations I work to give them.
Christmas is about God's love for His children, which He demonstrated through the perfect Gift at the grandest, yet humblest, celebration.

Christmas is not about my children, even though I work so hard to create magical moments for them.
Christmas is about God's Son, and the miraculous moment He entered the world to give us salvation.

As your Christmas progresses and you start to feel the stress and strain of creating the "perfect" family holiday, remember 2 Corinthians 12:9: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Let God's power show through your attitude when the kids are crabby, the rolls don't rise, the dog makes a mess, or your family won't stop watching football. God is much better at perfection -- and you just might find yourself enjoying your Christmas even more!
A friend sent me this forward. I don't know the author, but I thought it was really sweet so I wanted to share it with all of you.

Dear Santa,

I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find any more free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:
I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint-resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,

P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

The weather man was forecasting a 100% chance of snow for Wednesday, so we gathered our snow gear Tuesday and made big snow play plans. Here are the pics.

I have a couple of observations:
1. Can anyone tell me why baby snow gear is so difficult to put on? I guess they want to make it hard for the baby to take off. We spent 40 minutes getting dressed and only played for 60 minutes. That almost doesn't seem worth it.
2. My kids had so much fun just riding around our yard in a sled. Sometimes we work so hard to find complicated ways to entertain our children and often they enjoy basic play as much as anything.
3. I just love the peaceful feel of fresh snow. It is so beautiful to stand outside while snow falls around you. You hear very little noise, maybe a breaking branch or the rustle of a squirrel. Even the air smells different, like wet chimney smoke. Thank you, God, for winter.
My family has started a new little tradition that I love. On Friday nights, we order a pizza and eat it while we enjoy a Christmas movie. We started this because my oldest is now old enough to sit and watch an entire movie and understand some Christmas themes. Our first movie was "White Christmas." I want him to watch a few of the old classics before he's "too cool" for them. Last night we watched "Elf." Not exactly a classic, but still a lot of fun.

Above is a clip from my favorite Christmas movie: Irvin Berlin's "Holiday Inn" with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Released in 1942, it features the premiere of the song "White Christmas." In the movie, Bing Crosby becomes weary of the fast life in show business and leaves it to open a country inn. In his quest for relaxation, he decides the inn will only be open on holidays. He discovers a great singing talent, Linda Mason, and hires her to perform at the inn. Of course, he falls for her in the process. But when Fred Astaire hears her talent, he threatens to steal Bing's performer and love. Will she choose the simple life and Bing or the promise of fame in the flashy life with Fred? I'm not going to tell you. You'll have to watch the movie.

Let's conduct and informal survey. What's your favorite Christmas movie? Why?