Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Looking for the Christmas Moments



So I've been at this blogging thing for just over a year now and if you judge by page hits, it's going well, and if you judge by my enjoyment of it, it's going well, but if you go by number of blog posts recently, it is the pits. 

Because here we are, a year after that first post, and it is once again Advent. It was a seriously nutty time last year, and I determined about a month ago to make it less-so this year. To really revel in the gift of baby Jesus. To focus on that. To not feel rushed. To savor.

Right.

I keep finding my lips forming the word "yes" when what I really mean to say is "NOT IN A MILLION YEARS!" It's like I am not even controlling the words coming out of my mouth.

Ornaments? I'll make them. 

Cinnamon rolls? 36 pans? Sounds good! (by the way, I was at my one-day-a-week job when I got the text from Preston saying, "I know it sounds like a lot, but I really need 17 pans of cinnamon rolls this year." I actually cried out in anguish and told my coworkers I wanted to go home and punch my beloved in the face. One girl told me I needed to go to Costco and buy some. She is wise like a magi.)

Class Christmas Party? (Times two...so far. I know number three is coming) Apple cider? Craft for 28? Yes, yes, yes!

Field trip? I'm in.

Birthday party? We will be there.

Oh, and I pretty much killed Christmas when I answered the girls' questions with the truth that no, our Elf does not move each night by magic and no, Santa does not come down our chimney.




And just now, when I went to grab my laptop, Preston asked me to get him a drink, which I did, and then when I sat on the floor beside him he patted my head and told me to get in the kitchen and make him some chicken wings. He's still alive, but barely.

Next week is no different, because My Redneck is going to live at his school while they play host to a week-long basketball tournament. I expect to see him never. 

And there are multiple parties to which we have been invited. 

I am weary.

And yet.

I have been blessed in all these things. (Well, not the class Christmas parties. I find it extremely hard to believe that anyone has ever been blessed by an elementary school classroom party. The Road to Wine is paved with elementary school parties.) 

Even in the girls knowing the truth about Santa and the Elf on The Dadgum Shelf has been blessing. This year has been more about the coming of Jesus, why He came, why He had to come and how amazing that He did, than ever before. My second grader literally read Luke 2 straight from her Bible on the way to school today. Just because she wanted to. 

And tonight was calm, a balm for our little family, a moment of Christmas on an ordinary weekday. An evening of nothing but the fire, the tree, the story of the Birth.

So tonight I decided that instead of trying to have an entirely peaceful Advent and being disappointed every time my phone chimes with a text/email/phone call (I mean, who calls anymore??) I will go with it. My prayer each morning when I wake up (well, after coffee) is, "Lord, I give you my day." So when things come that I don't expect, I know they are His things. 

And instead of a perfect Christmas Season, which is really just a myth, 




I will look for Christmas Moments throughout this season of Advent. 



Like the seven year old reading the Bible on the way to school.

Like time spent with My People around the table making ornaments of Zechariah and Elizabeth and telling them the story of another miracle baby.

Like hilarious conversations on a field trip with kindergartners. (Me, desperate to entertain these precocious little people: Name some things you find on a farm. Children, in all their wisdom: Farm Cats, Farm Pigs, Farm Stickers, Farm Worms, and Farm Candy.)

And many more Christmas Moments that aren't falling in line with my first plan of Lying On the Couch Eating Caramels and Chex Mix All Season, but will be all the moments that make up my Christmas Season.



Like this Christmas Tree Quest across every inch of all 200 acres looking for and arguing about the nonexistent Perfect Tree. And the sweetness of these three who are truly best friends.



And the finding of the Tree. And the not breaking the phone when it fell from its precarious position.





And this beautiful man, this lover of Jesus, teaching his daughters that girls should know how to swing an axe.






And their awe as their Daddy came in and felled it in one...ok, twenty-one... thwacks.




And this ornament that started it all back in March of 2001. (Who goes snow-skiing on their honeymoon? I thought I had made a dire misjudgment in my choice of groom on the first run down the mountain when Mr. Athlete threw his poles like a man crazed after his 57th fall and said, "We should have gone to the beach!") 



And this woodpile that tonight became this:


And the sitting and watching as the flame dances, dressed in reds and yellows and blues, and burns down to the embers by which I write.


And this home, in which all the occupants are asleep save me, tucked under warm blankets and cozy comforters, kissed, and read to, and sung with, and prayed over. 



And this. This woman, who was engaged, planning a wedding, visited by an angel, pregnant even though it was scientifically impossible, her finace tried to call it off, she journeyed to visit her pregnant friend whose husband was mute, wrote a song, travelled at nine months pregnant on a donkey to her husband's hometown, was refused lodging, gave birth to the Savior of the World and was forced to put Him in a feeding trough, which, speaking from experience, was most likely covered in animal saliva and chewed up and spit out bits of hay, not so much the sweet smelling clean little manger of our nativites. This woman, who was probably desperate for a Christmas Moment of her own. 

And this Babe.

And Joseph, whose head had fallen off and had to be glued back on. 

Grace for the Moments of Christmas,
Martha