Christmas in my head looks like a postcard: a beautifully decorated tree garnished with tinsel, hay rides looking at Christmas lights, hot chocolate and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

My Christmas reality is more like trying to find Black Friday deals to finish my never-ending Christmas list, going to so many parties and events that its exhausting, staying up way too late wrapping presents and one of us waking up sick every Christmas morning.

Being a mom and trying to create the “perfect Christmas experience” for the family can turn what is supposed to be a meaningful reflection of Christ’s ultimate gift to us into a strenuous time filled with everything except Christ. And let’s be honest, the kids won’t even remember what presents they get two months later anyways.

So a few years ago, I decided to try to shifting my focus.

One of the traditions we decided to keep was our annual family Christmas pictures. They are forever memories and give me a glimpse into the growth of our family from year to year. It also gives me a chance to mail out cards – a dying art – to our friends and family and tell them how much we love them, how much we appreciate them and how we could not be the family we are without our tribe.

Some of my favorite Christmas pictures we have are from the first year we had Nate, our youngest, in our home. They are so special to me because they remind me so clearly of that time in our life: the newness, the chaos and the beauty. Mostly I love the reminder that God continuously showers me with his beautiful gifts that I do absolutely nothing to deserve and how he loves me and my family so intentionally.

I hope when my children look back on the years they spent in my house they remember the fun, laughter and beauty we try to bring into the world. But most of all, I hope they know the best gifts are from God and don’t come wrapped in an Amazon box.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. –James 1:17 (NIV)

Written by Holly James, an adoption advocate and former foster parent. She and her husband, Jeremy, have two children, Clyde and Nate, who they adopted through Buckner foster care.

This devotion is an excerpt from the free Buckner Christmas devotion guide, a series of devotions written to help us come closer to God during the Christmas season. Order your copy of the devotion series by clicking here


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