All our family Advent wreath times have been a bit different so far this year.
The first Sunday, we rushed to do Advent wreath before dinner and my sister’s return to college in preparation for finals. The phone rang and the answering machine picked up as we read Scripture and sang carols for the Prophecy Candle…a little distracting. But still, that first candle burned bright.
The second week, we bumped Advent wreath to a Thursday when all our family could be present. It was a sweet time, but slightly abbreviated since it was 11 o’clock at night, and one of our family members, recovering from surgery on his vocal cords, could only hum “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
Then this past Sunday, our mom wasn’t feeling well, so we bumped Advent wreath to last night—and my sister and I got a terrible case of giggles during “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” due to a most unmusical croak I accidentally emitted on the first note.
When I was younger, I struggled when things didn’t go just “right” at Christmastime. I still do, at times, but the Lord has been teaching me that can be in the “messy” moments that His Light shines most brightly. For after all, His coming was to a messy world…if it hadn’t been, He wouldn’t have needed to come. Things were far from perfect for Mary and Joseph—in fact, they were pretty hard at times. But He was with them. And He is with us…Immanuel.
Sometimes lately, despite so many blessings—the gift of a beautiful house to decorate ala An Early American Christmas, having my sister/best friend home from college, the joy of remembering Jesus’ coming—I haven’t been very Christmas-y myself. I’ve been irritable, unexplainedly grumpy, wanting life to go the way I think best.
It’s in those times I’m reminded again that my sin is why Jesus came. And my heart humbles with gratitude once more, and I remember that regardless of how I feel, Christmas is a time to love, not to make things “perfect.” We have close friends and relatives dealing with very difficult things this time of year: cancer, hospitalization. Sometimes this world is hard, and it doesn’t take a break around Christmastime. But Christmas means there is a reason to—despite heartache and darkness—let nothing us dismay.
Here are a few links I wanted to share with you, that help me remember what and why we are celebrating this season:
On the messiness of Christmas, then and now–and no, I didn’t steal this post idea!
When Christmas has a thorn.
Ann Voskamp—beautiful as always.
Beautiful Christmas music by dear friends Brandon Hamilton and Hannah Frances DeVol Thomas. Their music is among the loveliest you’ll find—listen to samples and see. 🙂
Another, quite different, lovely Christmas song, by Native American ministry RainSong, “Creator Came Down”—they are still offering a limited quantity for free, but please pay whatever the Lord leads you to support this ministry.
And finally, a video that reminds me how very different God’s ways are than ours—and how glad I am they are—“A Strange Way to Save the World” with images from The Nativity Story.
Be blessed, friends.