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Christmas, Chaos, and Polka-Dot Packages

Christmas, Chaos, and Polka-Dot Packages

Thanksgiving holidays were a fading memory and the bright lights of Christmas beckoned in all their glimmering glory. The family calendar was a chaotic mess of hastily scribbled notes, appointments, party dates, school and church programs, and last-minute shopping trips.

Blank space was not to be found. Translation: There wasn’t room on my planner’s tiny squares for one. More. Thing.

On this particular evening—ten days before Christmas—our family of five made it home before dark and this mama was ecstatic about a moment to catch my breath before wrapping a mountain of gifts.

I prepared a super-quick dinner, rushed my loved ones through it, dropped dishes in the sink, and scooped up my toddler for a bath and fresh pajamas. Can you say, “Mama on a mission?”

That’s when I noticed them: Bright red dots popping out all over her little body.

No. It couldn’t be. Not now—not at Christmas.

With a wail and a martyr’s moan, I grabbed the baby and ran to find my husband. The look on his face confirmed my suspicions: chicken pox.

My whining began immediately. Why, Lord, why now? I have parties to attend, gifts to purchase, goodies to bake. I have plans.

Evidently, the Lord did too, and as usual, His plans were better than mine. My Christmas rush came to a screeching halt as my focus shifted to a tiny, itchy two-year-old. My heart went out to my little invalid as she cried, “Hold me, Mama, I got chicken on my face!”

And hold her I did. Instead of spending hours fighting the crowds, my baby girl and I spent hours in the rocking chair. While the world rushed on by, the Lord let me experience a bit of Christmas I may have otherwise missed.

As I rocked my little one, my thoughts drifted to that first Christmas so long ago. The beautiful simplicity of how it must have been—a mother, a father, a baby—filled my heart with praise.

There would be other parties and other plans to make. But for now, for this moment in time, a polka-dotted toddler needed her mama, because like she said…

She had “chicken” on her face.

Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for illness to slow a frantic pace. We can seek God’s heart at any time—asking for strength to honor Him with our holiday schedules.

We can pray for:

  • Wisdom to choose from the myriad activities vying for our time.
  • Strength to say ‘no’ and to leave a few blank spaces on our planners.
  • Guidance to keep Him the focus of our celebrations.

May this most holy of seasons be a time to love, nurture, and guide our families into deeper, genuine worship of our Lord. And may our prayer echo that of the psalmist, Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:1-2).

How do you keep Christ the center of your family’s celebrations?

By: Leigh Ann Thomas is a wife, mother, grammy, and the author of Ribbons, Lace, and Moments of Grace—Inspiration for the Mother of the Bride (SonRise Devotionals). A regular contributor to,, and, she has also published with Southern Writers Suite T and Power for Living. She is a contributing author in 10 books and her award-winning fiction is included in three editions of Southern Writers Magazine’s Best Short Stories. You can find Leigh Ann on her front porch daydreaming story plots, or blogging at

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