Last weekend I just got to feeling that the Christmas season was sneaking by and my focus was too much on last minute shopping, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, putting together teacher goodies, etc....the list is never ending. So I decided the other day that I was going to spend the afternoon taking "off" from Christmas.
I made myself some peppermint hot cocoa and sat by the tree and just read over the Christmas story again. I talked to God. Lately I have been feeling very discouraged with myself. I just poured it all out to God and sat back and "listened." The earth did not move, lightning did not strike, I did not get some special revelation from God .... but I felt at peace. And I felt like my focus was shifted in the right direction.
Each year we try to remember the advent season with the children by doing this advent wreath with them. One of the reasons I was especially discouraged is because we had failed to do the wreath this year. I feel like it got squeezed out amongst all the activities which seemed to be falling on Sunday nights. And I was so mad at myself because to me - this is what Christmas is and should be about more than anything.
Anyhow, after my time with God that afternoon, I decided that we could still do it. There were four days leading up to Christmas, and our evenings were free this week. So I was determined. We did the first one last night and have plans to finish the others in the coming evenings. I want to add - it was not perfect. Chloe left the table before we even really got started. An argument broke out about who gets to blow out the candle. One child decided not to sing the Christmas carol with us.
Audrey and Carter both read the Scriptures by themselves. At the end Carter insisted on praying. AND, most importantly, the kids were reminded of what Christmas is really all about.
As I took this picture of the advent wreath, I started to clear off the table so the picture would be "nicer". But then I decided to let it stand as is ... because this is our life. It is messy and filled with distractions and the kids don't always cooperate with "our" plans and things are just not perfect. (Ha, understatement of the year.)
In the middle of it all, just like that advent wreath on the table - among all our mess and chaos and craziness ---
Immanuel ....GOD IS WITH US.
And if we can just grasp a glimpse of that this season .... then it is a good Christmas indeed.