We have had a great advent. Each day we have tried to find something we could do for someone. Each day we have read a verse about one of the many names of Christ. We have certainly had days we have forgotten to do one, or both, especially these last few days when we were out of town visiting my family. But, all in all, the anticipation of the birthday of our Christ has been building all month. I have never had a Christmas season quite like this one. Slow, peaceful, focused.
And still, still I can trip so easily. Five days of being out of our normal routine has left us all exhausted. Amid me saying things like, "If I have to tell you again, you will be in trouble," and, "Girls, you will go straight to bed if I hear you scream at your sister again," we pull our last advent presents out to unwrap.
We sit down on the couch, open the gifts, and read the Name and the verse. And in our frustration and our mad and our tired, He comes. With each Name and each Scripture, the door of my heart is cracked open a bit more and He enters...
Light of the World...
Prince of Peace.
And I need redemption and peace and light and the Great I Am for all that I am not.
We pray and we ask God to give us rest and prepare our hearts for the celebration of His birth. And when we finish praying, my big girl squeals, "Tomorrow we get to open the star!"
We have been following our own star to the Christ child. And tomorrow morning we arrive. We get to open our last present. And I know something she does not yet know. I know the Name we will unwrap. I know Who is waiting beneath our tree, inside the star we have been eyeing for 24 days.
Anointed One (the meaning of both "Messiah" and "Christ")
This is the One the Old Testament prophesied. This is the One the New Testament proclaimed. This is the One Who was, and is, and is to come. He came into our world as a babe. He is in our world through His Holy Spirit. And one day He will come again with a trumpet call for those of us who have made room in our hearts for Him.
I have thought about this all week or longer. Why this advent has been so different. I made room. I usually forget what, or WHO, I am anticipating. I get caught up in the parties and presents and decorations. And forget the One they are for.
Happy birthday, Jesus.
I'm so glad it's Christmas.
All the tinsel and lights
And the presents are nice,
But the real gift is You.
Usually my advent days are so busy that I forget the real gift. So busy that I leave little or no room for Him. No room in the inn.
So, instead of peace I feel chaos. Instead of joy I feel frustrated.
But this year we found some peace as we scratched things off our to-do list. Not because they were done, but because we decided we wouldn't do them. We found some joy in opening the real gift of Christmas as we unwrapped Christ. We attempted to focus on the Prince of Peace. Peace. I missed it sometimes, but I felt it often. And tomorrow I pray I will be looking for it, for Him, and hold onto that peace all day. Because He came! He is here! And I'm so very thankful because I need Him.
As we celebrate the birth of our Messiah, the great Light who entered darkness about two thousand years ago, may we remember that He comes into our world even now. He enters, even in the dark, the mad, the hurt, the sorrow, the shame. And we behold a great Light! He shatters the yoke that burdens...and we rejoice! (Isaiah 9)
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
Let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare Him room...
And heaven and nature sing!
And heaven and nature sing!
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing!!!
For more on our advent activity, see this post.
126. Christmas music that kept me awake on the drive to my family's
127. safe drive to my family's
128. game nights with the family
129. heart-to-hearts with the family
130. snow flurries
131. turtle cookies
132. my favorite present which is now hanging on the door handle of my oven...
...even if you don't know the story behind this, it is funny. And the story behind it is funny! I was a waitress at Cracker Barrel in college. I worked with a guy named Mike who was a drag queen. He even served in thick-heeled shoes. Ouch. And he twisted when he walked. When he would bring up hot biscuits from the back of the kitchen to the warming drawer at the front of the kitchen, he would balance the pan high above his skinny six-foot frame on one hand, pose his other hand out to the side, twist, and shout, "Hot stuff coming through! ...and biscuits too!" My sister and I have had MUCH fun with this over the years. She thinks up the best gifts. This is a permanent fixture in my kitchen now!
133. laughter (even if it's slightly inappropriate) over good memories