This December, when his fourth grade teacher required him to write a poem about Christmas family traditions, Mason was a wreck. He worked himself into such a state, he couldn’t even list our traditions on the brainstorming grid. As I was trying to jog his memory as to what we do each year as a family, I realized the real help he needed was a pep talk.
I explained to him that it wasn’t necessary to work so hard on the brainstorming grid. Where he needed to work harder was on the battlefield of his mind. I explained there was a war raging there: doubt was battling against belief. If he gave in to the doubt, thinking he wasn’t capable of completing the assignment, he would lose the war, causing that thought to come true. But if he fought against the doubt, and instead believed in himself, he would be victorious. Then his writing would begin to flow effortlessly.
I knew to have this pep talk with Mason because I live this battle all the time. On the days when I haven’t had enough sleep, things don’t go according to plan, my hormones are wacky, or I have too much on my plate, my confidence falters. I start thinking I can’t manage my life, that it’s impossible to get it all done. On my really vulnerable days, I lose the battle, hyperventilate, and drop balls everywhere. That’s when I want to get in my car, drive far away from it all, and never look back.
Then I remember I have God. He is the greatest warrior ever. When I call upon Him, not only does He stand shoulder to shoulder with me on the battlefield of my mind, but He suits me up in His armor so I feel protected and fortified. Like Ephesians 6 goes on to say, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” After reading that, can’t you imagine a soldier who is covered in metal from head to toe, like a knight in shining armor? I imagine him to be bullet proof, impenetrable, indestructible. That can be us if and when we pray for it.
Mason more than overcame his battle. In fact, his teacher laminated his poem, and Mason wrapped it up for me as my Christmas gift. I cried as I read it. Hands down, it was the greatest gift I received this year!
Scroll down to read Mason’s poem, reproduced with the author’s permission 🙂
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When I Was Young At Christmas Time
by Mason McGarry
When I was young at Christmas time, I saw jolly Santa Clauses here, there, and everywhere. I notice magic elves having fun around the house. I examine colorful stockings, shining white lights as bright as a child’s smile, and grinning snowmen. All of these things I spotted when I was young at Christmas time.
When I was young at Christmas time, I enjoyed Christmas with my fabulous relatives. My Narnie opens her arms wide, ready for a hug. My brother chases me around the house, trying to get me to the ground and throw me around. My little sisters runs around the house saying hello to everyone. My dad just hangs out. And my mom is being the nicest person in the world. My family is as different as books, and I love that.
When I was young at Christmas time, I heard Charlie Brown Christmas music being played on an iPod. I listen to Christmas movies, and a little Santa Claus singing Gangnum-style like it is at a concert. I also hear excited screams like hyenas.
When I was young at Christmas time, I taste candy canes and gingerbread men, and gingerbread houses as sweet as sugar, decorated with gumdrops and other delicious candy. Hot cocoa warms me from the inside out. I love to eat scrumptious birthday cake to celebrate Baby Jesus’ birthday. I love to eat tasty things at Christmas time.
When I was young at Christmas time, I like to snowboard. I also enjoy snowball fights, hurling snowballs like a maniac. It is fun to build snowmen and gingerbread houses. Christmas caroling is very exciting. I love to do special activities around the holidays.
When I was young at Christmas time, my family hid Baby Jesus until Christmas morning. Every Christmas Eve, we would get to go to my Narnie’s house for a party. We also get presents from Santa (A.K.A. our uncle) on Christmas Eve. I have so many traditions, when I was young at Christmas time.
When I was young at Christmas time, so many amazing things are happening to me. It is the best time of year for me. There is nothing I love more, than the time when I was young at Christmas time.