I seriously debated naming this post “The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Start to Celebrating Advent,” but I think that title might be copyrighted and it’s difficult to fit such a long string of words in a blog title.
This week has been tough for us, for me. I had Christmas bursting in my heart well before Thanksgiving, and following a restful and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday, had great plans and high hopes for a blissful season of joy, peace, and all those other nice words that are supposed to make the season ring.
In the past, I have not been well-prepared for making the most of this time of the year. Spread thin and scattered, it is usually all I can do to make sure we do just one fun thing all month, and even then, it’s usually my husband who pulls it all together to make the best memories for the kids. Bless him. This year I was determined to get ahead, to put my heart and soul into squeezing the best out of each day and trying to make every activity worthwhile and memorable, merry and bright. You might have seen my Advent Calendar. I had well-laid plans.
But sometimes our plans don’t work out. The undertow has had me. To be fair to myself, we have actually done every activity on the calendar this week. Each on the right day. Win. But there have also been piles of hard things: the unexpected loss of a friend, hearing about another friend’s missing husband – who is still missing, miscommunications, pregnancy woes, a sick baby, irrational worries, challenging kids, and a cluttered house. My attitude has tanked more than once, and truthfully, I’m still struggling. My plan for an exuberant launch into Christmas has been made very simple. Wait in stillness, hold on to the hope of Jesus who joins me in the mess and heartache, and cling to grace through each moment, because it apparently takes moment-by-moment reminders that He wants my heart and attention more than my great outward efforts to somehow look like I’ve got this.
Anyway, I’ll have more (lighter-hearted) things to share later this week, but I think its important to be just as real with you about the harder things in my life. If you’ve had a rough start to December as well, you’re not alone…and I think there is much hope to see the spirit of Christmas–the beauty and mystery of Jesus who emptied Himself to come into our humanity with us, the very reason we can know His love and pass it on to others in the midst of our brokenness–that this spirit will find its way to our hearts, whether or not our plans and desires are fulfilled in outward celebration.
A good friend turned me on to a new Christmas album that has been whispering love to my weary heart all week. Feel free to check it out if you’re needing a little TLC for your heart too. Justin Rizzo, Christmas. So many good tracks. Until next time….