"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Stuff


"You’re knee deep in the sacred footsteps of Mary and her first loud, rough, desperate Christmas. You’re there in the muck and the stink and the stable with her. Your kids still rowdy and unpredictable as hers on that first Christmas." - Lisa-Jo Baker 


 
My parents stopped by the other night in the midst of complete chaos. Or as we refer to it in our home, normalcy. The kitchen was still filled with the remnants of supper - chili and garlic bread and empty boxes and tomato sauce splattered across the counter. There were toys stacked on the kitchen table that we were readying to get rid of in the hopes of weeding out the old to get ready for the new in a couple of weeks. I was finishing up work emails for the day (at 7:00 at night) in the middle of balancing a bowl of chili on my lap, the kids on the picnic blanket in the middle of the living room floor finishing their supper in front of a movie. And I had yet to brush my hair for the day. Cody was getting ready to leave to go to the gym, and I was exhausted. Five minutes after my parents walked in, the boys put their supper bowls on the counter and charged (and I do mean charged) to the basement to play in their football tent we set up for them three days prior. This tent tends to make its appearance in the winter months and though it provides hours of entertainment, it is not the peaceful sort of entertainment you see in tents in the Pottery Barn Kids catalogues. We're not talking quietly reading storybooks to each other on blankets and pillows... but actual tackling and wrestling and tossing the tent with siblings inside of it... that kind of entertainment. It always provides entertainment but it usually ends up with someone crying, too. (Not just someone... Brandon). 
And somehow through it all, though this chaos is our normal, though I have two very wild, active, stubborn, opinionated, lovable boys... I go to bed every night feeling fulfilled. Because I'm in the muck and the stink and the chaos of parenthood... the kind of chaos that makes Jesus smile. He's right here with me in the muck and the stink. I'm raising His kids, and there's no bigger or more important job. I'm raising them around the Christmas tree. I'm reading them His birth story every night. I'm doing advent with them before bed. I'm praying with them as we tuck them in. I'm playing Christmas carols for them around the clock, I'm baking seasonal goodies just because I know they like to help, and I'm letting them draw Christmas trees with markers all over our picture window. And though "Silent Night" in our home is just a pretty song and not a reality... Lisa-Jo Baker is right. It was no different for Mary on that very first Christmas night. Except I get to be a lot more comfortable than she was and my kids get to go to bed on a pillow and not a manger filled with hay.
And... there's still plenty of time for true Christmas joy and a few traditions, too. Traditions don't have to be stressful or filled with pressure. They just have to be meaningful.


"But parents willing to sit between the dishes and listen to the stories of wonder or woe that pour out of their tiny humans? That – that is the stuff of miracles and memories. There is your frosting. There is your meaningful art. There is your tradition." -Lisa-Jo Baker 


 

 
Time for markers on windows...



 
...and cookie baking with family. Flour throwing and all...









...and cookie dough sneaking...







 
Time for advent every night before bed... I was so proud when it was Jaden's turn to put a piece of the nativity up and Brandon didn't even complain that Jaden was the one to get to place the star above the stable. He just got excited when he realized he would get to put up the first of the wise men. ;)
Time for watching the Polar Express and Elf and The Santa Clause and Charlie Brown's Christmas.
Time for Christmas bingo while waiting for Daddy to get home...



 
Time for multiple batches of peanut butter balls...
Time for lit candles in every room...
Time for wrapping presents and breakfast with Santa and yes... even some time for silence and peace and oh holy night...
 


 
I'm loving this month. I hope it lasts a while longer.
 
"So, here’s to however you choose to celebrate the waiting of the coming Christ. Because after all, it’s Him that matters most. And He came to a tired mother with very little flourish, fancy, or perfect." ~ Lisa-Jo Baker

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