Tag Archives: Holiday

Christmastime Around Here

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Are you joining me-  In all our imperfection?  Are you making this season different? Making room for more of Him?

We managed to get most of the sawdust swept away, the clutter moved aside, the laundry settled down {for now}.

We managed to get the tree up (that took an hour longer than I expected with about 372 artificial branches to attach – I vow that next year we will go real tree or nothing.)  So now our humble tree is lit, but the ornaments remain in storage another day… as does the nativity, and the stockings…

But we are celebrating Advent.  In gratefulness the past two evenings I’ve sat at sturdy, hand built table and run my fingers along the smooth boards while we watched the candle glow and listened to our Advent story.  And prayed for God to make much of Himself in our hearts and our home.

Our small, imperfect hearts and home.

You asked how we ‘do’ Christmastime around here… so come on… enjoy a warm drink and prop your tired feet up on my paint-chipped coffee table.  {Lots of cars and army men and tea cups and babies play ’round that table.}

Sit, I’ll tell you about it…

Christmas morning. It begins quiet.

Of course the kids are up early – just like every day – and they are excited.  Each one has a new book to unwrapa tradition my mother began when I was an eager kid on Christmas mornings…

New stories are unwrapped and pages are flipped while we sip on coffee and the aroma of breakfast makes our mouths water -cinnamon rolls – our traditional Christmas Morning Breakfast.  Sometimes from scratch, sometimes Pilsbury.

And then afterwards we gather ’round.  It’s time to pull the letters from our stockings.  Mom & Dad’s hold the most folded or rolled up paper treasures.  Nine years of Christmas Morning letters… one-by-one, we read our letter to each of the children.  Sometimes we read them letters from Christmas past.

Letters aren’t all we open this morning – we also open the Word.

We read the story from Luke 2.  The one both Mama and Daddy can recite by heart.

The gift we celebrate today is Jesus.  His grace.  His hope. The few small gifts that come wrapped in paper – they can wait ’til New Years.

Today we want nothing to compete for our hearts’ affection…

Maybe now the children will snuggle up on couches and re-watch the Nativity, even though we all watched it together the night before, while the turkey was cooking for Christmas lunch.

Granna will come.  Sometimes others will come.  Aunt and Uncle.  Neighbor.  Friend.  We’ll gather around the table for turkey and dressing – my grandmother’s ‘recipe’ {although she never really measured the ingredients.  Neither does my mother.  Neither do I.

We thank God for our meal – thank Him for the bread, and the Bread of Life… and around the table we eat and talk and laugh.

And we light the last candle.  The white one, there, in the middle.  It’s what we’ve been getting ready for these last four weeks.  We have our final Advent activities, almost sad that we’ll put it away until next year…

No one ever eats the pie right after lunch; we’re all so full.  {That’s my Mom’s recipe, and that one we do measure.}

Slowly we come away from the table.  Satisfied.

The kids will nap or have quiet time on their beds.  We’ll sit around with Granna {and sometimes others} on sofas and enjoy the afternoon coffee – we’ll eventually make it around to that pie.

And as the evening unfolds, we will reminisce.  We will talk about God’s goodness.

We will celebrate…. His coming.

 

 

It’s Not Too Late for Advent

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Here we are the first night of advent, and instead of lighting our candle tonight, and reading our story or making an ornament for the tree – instead we shuffle through sawdust on the kitchen floor. We skirt around power tools and try to keep the baby from eating wood chips.  We eat our meals picnic style on the floor and around the coffee table and piano bench.  And where there would be standing a Christmas tree – where there would be the soft glow of Christmas lights if we were that family who had it all together – there are stacks of homeschooling books and craft supplies that lost their home and got shuffled around when the re-arranging of the dining room and the building of our big farmhouse table began.

It’s day 2 of December.  First day of Advent.  And it ain’t pretty around here.

{ ‘Ain’t’ is what I say when I really want to emphasize something.  Because, being the grammar nazi that I am, I still believe it ain’t a real word.}

No, once again, this is not what I had envisioned.  But it rarely is.

That’s how life looks when you’re just a broken family in need of grace, just striving to put on the Armor every day and put one foot in front of the other.

And not trip because you’re a boy (or girl) wearing King-sized armor.

But I’ve learned that just because it isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean you ‘scrap’ it.

Our beautiful table finally finished, we’ll just begin our Advent tomorrow.  Maybe the tree will be up. Maybe it won’t.  Maybe the greenery and the wreath will be assembled.  Maybe it won’t.  Maybe there will be the soft glow of Christmas lights…. or not.

More than likely I’ll have a half-painted dining room wall, and the school books and craft supplies  will still be a cluttered mess, but we’ll celebrate Advent anyway.

We’ll celebrate His coming.

No, it won’t be perfect.  But come to think of it, that’s kind of how the birth of Christ was anyway.

Everything about the story of Christ’s entry into our earthly world was pretty much the opposite of perfect.  Instead it was unexpected.  Messy.  Scandalous, even. Ridiculous, if you want to get right down to it.

I mean really – the Word – the Creator lowering Himself to wear our skin and walk our dirt?

I guess if the Creator of the universe – the King of Kings – can be born to an unmarried young mother in quiet anonymity amongst some hay and animals – well then, I guess He doesn’t mind us celebrating His Coming in the imperfection of half-hung lights and a saw-dusty floor.

Because what matters is that we do celebrate.  We do remember. We do something.

Even if that something is just “Be still and know that I am God.”

Even if you’ve never celebrated Advent before – it’s not too late for you either.  It’s not too late to teach your family to celebrate His coming!  This – this is what we’re celebrating this season!

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!  

I heard someone today say that we as Christians have the most reason to sing Christmas Carols!  We are the ones to be celebrating His coming!

He has come!  He is coming!

Do it!  Do it late; do it imperfectly, just do it!

Don’t worry about having special books to read, or a special candle display.  You traditionally use four pink/purple candles (light a new one each Sunday in December leading up to Christmas) and a white candle (lit on Christmas day) – if you can get out today and get those, great.  But if not, just light a candle….

If you don’t have a special advent book, just read Psalm 23, for the first night.  And talk to your family about God being our shepherd.  And talk about why God might call us sheep.  And why do sheep need a shepherd?  And if you have some cotton balls and construction paper, let the kids make a little sheep ornament to hang on the tree.

Or if you’re looking for a little more, print out this beautiful free Advent Christmas Devotional from Ann Voskamp.

Make it more this year.  Not more lights or greenery.  Not more gifts or baked goods.

More of Him.  More of looking for Him

It’s not too late.