For Unto Us

It’s that wonderful time of year again!!!!!!!!!!!

Hah..ha…h…

…is it just me or does December always seem to bring with it a heightened level of stress? And scrambling?

Every year I promise to slow down. To enjoy the season. To focus on the point of it all.

Yet every year I find myself panicked over forgetting Dad’s stocking stuffer. Or wondering if my sister-in-law actually liked her present. Or stressing about how much money I end up spending on “just one more little thing”.

I wanted this year to be different for our family.

I armed myself with an Advent study

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 1.50.48 PM

an activity-filled countdown calendar

image1

 

and plenty of grace because small children.

And it’s been amazing.

Not because I’ve been an amazing Bible studier. Not because my kids have been amazing at making Christmas crafts. Not because I’ve been amazingly not stressed.

It’s been amazing because our focus is where it should be.

It’s been amazing because of a manger. Because when I consider the simple surroundings where the savior. of. the. world. took his first breath, the 10-foot-tall pre-lit tree I just havetobuy doesn’t seem quite as necessary. In fact, it sort of makes our crooked, halfway-lit, Goodwill Charlie Brown tree seem like the perfect decoration.

It’s been amazing because of a baby. Because when I think about the peace and innocence of holding a newborn baby, fighting the masses in overcrowded stores for stuff we don’t need quickly loses its appeal.

It’s been amazing because of hope. Because when I read through Isaiah’s prophesies spoken to a hurting people and attempt to wrap my head around those words – the divine rescue plan – coming to fruition the moment a tiny baby was born, the material things on my Christmas list seem a lot less important.

This season has been incredibly meaningful, but not because life is easy and happy.

Quite the opposite, actually.

As I write this, our dear family friends are in a hospital waiting room, anxious to hear exactly how bad the cancer is.

As I write this, my sweet friend is taking down her baby boy’s stocking – a stocking her son will never see or open this side of heaven.

As I write this, a brave soul is adjusting back to “regular” life after intensive therapy for unimaginable childhood trauma.

As I write this, life is happening. And life, on planet earth, is not always pretty. Sometimes it just flat out sucks.

Yet this season of Advent is amazing because we’ve been waiting and looking for and celebrating Jesus. Not just baby Jesus…King Jesus. Wounded Jesus. Bringer-of-Hope Jesus. Savior Jesus.

He came, in the flesh, for our sadness. For our pain. For our joy. For our hope. For our salvation. For our redemption. For us.

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

He came. And he will come again.

Like…that calls for some serious celebration, you guys. Even in the crazy times. Especially in the hard times.

So celebrate, we have.

Our celebration has come in the form of daily Advent activities. Some small (watch a Christmas movie), some messy (build a gingerbread house), some hard (give away 2 toys), some fun (hide $1 bills in the Dollar Tree toy aisle with a “Merry Christmas!” note attached) – all focused around spending time as a family and sharing joy with others.

One of our most very favorite activities is a thing called Blessingmas. Dumb name, fabulous activity.

Basically, we spend an afternoon baking treats for our neighbors. Neighbors we know, neighbors we don’t.

It’s a way we choose to spread joy in an unconventional, pause-the-crazy-and-spend-time-making-something-for-someone-else kind of way.

image1

It’s a way for us remember that – because of the manger and the baby – serving others and spreading joy is a year-round lifestyle, not just a seasonal activity. We want our relationships to be in it for the long-haul, especially with the people that live 20 feet from us.

Maybe they’re the ones receiving bad news at the doctor or grieving the loss of a child or desperately trying to overcome the past. Or maybe life is great and they’re happy as clams. Or maybe they just like empty calories.

Regardless, everyone can use a little Christmas cheer, and we can certainly benefit from doing something nice for others.

We can also benefit from dressing like elves.

IMG_6252

I think everyone benefits from that, actually. It’s a win all the way around.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, Merry Christmas to you and yours. I wish each of you an amazing and awe-ful week of joyful celebration.

Peace on earth, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies to men.

 


{pssst. If you want to do something like Blessmas (we highly recommend it) but panic at what to say in the note, print and use this card.
Blessingmas CardOr this one. Easy peasy.

neighborgifttag-3

Download from dropbox here. And then snap a pic, post, and #blessmas tag it so we can all celebrate together.}

One thought on “For Unto Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *