Monthly Archives: December 2013

More advent in our home!

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I had another advent moment.

Please, if you’ve already been wowed by a moment like mine, just smile and nod and let me be excited!  I’m a slow learner.  Or a fast forget-er!

His mercies are NEW every morning!  Every year, and week, and month.  Good thing!  My heart seems to leak out thoughts and need new revelations… like my cells need to be renewed daily or else I’d die.

Anyway.

I was busy.  I was making the kids be busy.  It was Saturday, so we didn’t have school.  I thought, “Today we’ll focus on Christmas activities!”  I stayed home from a ladies’ get together, so we could finally get our Christmas tree up and maybe we could make cookies and gingerbread house.  It was snowing, and The Piano Guys holiday music was playing on Pandora.  Pretty and Peaceful and Fun were my goals.  I asked the kids to clean up the basement so we’d have a spot for the Christmas tree.  I was upstairs, cleaning up the kitchen so we’d have a spot to make gingerbread houses.

The bickering started.  The crying “because he punched me,” and the snarled out words — the ones where you can hear the eyes glaring — and you think, “Do they get that from me?  Is that what I sound like?”

Yes, THAT ugly bickering.

I marched to the top of the stairs, thinking, “Good grief, I stayed home for this?”  I called my sinful children up to the kitchen, and got ready to lay into them about how this is Christmas, and it’s supposed to be about Jesus, and why can’t they act like Jesus FOR ONCE?!  But I didn’t.  The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart in time, “THIS is why Jesus came… this IS what Christmas is about!”  The sin.  The crying and the fighting and the sin.  We can’t ever measure up to the rules, so He came to do it for us.

Because of Jesus, I was able to speak peace and love into my children’s hearts.  We talked about how Jesus came to help us love each other, and so why don’t we let Him do that now?  Oh, dear sweet children who can’t ever follow the rules… Mommy knows.  I can’t follow the rules either.  The only difference between us is I’ve grown out of the punching people stage!  I just punch with my words, and wound the heart.  But you know that already, sweet ones.  Forgive me.

I’m not sure the basement ever got cleaned.  The tree did not get set up, because my dear husband ended up spending more time than planned working on our Suburban.  We did make gingerbread houses, only with humble graham crackers instead of fancy, gabled gingerbread.

We turned up the music, lit candles, and ate WAY too much sugar!

So if my plans were the literal ones on a piece of paper?  Nope.  Didn’t happen.  I stayed home for “nothing!”  My sacrifices will never suffice.  But my plans of seeing Jesus and letting His love warm our hearts this advent season?  Yep — THAT happened.

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We’re having ourselves a messy little Advent!

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Advent.  “The Coming.”   Doesn’t that word just send shivers of excitement down your spine?  Or a wave of peace across your heart?  What a special time of year, celebrating the coming of Jesus and anticipating the coming back.

The thing is, it’s not only a before and after thing!  He’s still here.  Immanuel.  God who is still with us!

With me.

He doesn’t leave and then come back when I have a better attitude.  Like the time I threw a toy down the stairs and broke it because I was tired of the kids fighting.

Nope.  He stays with me.  He loves me anyway.  And this constant presence is what gives me hope, peace, love and joy to pass on to my kids.  I can’t ban them from my good graces when they are being un-loveable, not if I want to share Jesus!  I can’t refuse to listen to them until they have a better attitude.  I can’t reject them until they’ve “shaped-up!”  I can’t begrudge the fact that they would use up every single minute of my 24 hour day.

Sin still sneaks around in my heart, so I know I’ll be less than loving at times.

But Jesus won’t EVER drop the ball in the love department.  I can tell my kids that, and keep telling them that, in hopes that even after I’m gone they cling to Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t withdraw.  He lives and loves right in the middle of our mess.

Want to see a picture of it?

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Yep — my table!  That’s an advent wreath, that should already have 4 candles in it, since December is well under way!  But I haven’t bought candles yet.  It should be surrounded by beautiful, empty table space.   We should be sitting around it with shining eyes, reading from The Jesus Storybook Bible.  But guys, it’s my kitchen table!  Where we eat, and do school, and just… live.

And see?  Jesus sits right there in the middle of us.