Oh, December: There’s no holiday from Grace… Thank God!

DecemberIt’s December!!  December 3rd, actually.  And despite my valiant attempts to be ready for this Christmas season, I am completely lost, overwhelmed and distracted.  December first literally almost blew up into a big fight with my husband.  I nearly sent my kiddo to Grandmommy’s forEVER.  And I had my very first lock-yourself-in-the-bathroom-and-cry experience.

December has not started well.

So it’s no surprise that I am here posting a December 1st story two days late.  That’s just kinda how it works.  And last night when I was driving home at 10:30pm from my first of many “events” this month I chuckled at my original plan.  (Because I’m a planner, you know)  Originally I had wanted to write 25 perfect, short, touching posts about the advent gifts my little one has tucked under the tree. Since I already had the gifts listed and numbered to correspond to each day of the month, I thought I could write about each one and schedule it ahead of time.  Not only would that give me something to have posted every day in December, but it would hold me accountable to opening and/or doing everything on the list.  And it would be magical.  And we would have sweet moments opening these gifts and reflecting together on the meaning of the season.  And my girl would be happy and…

driving home after a crazy weekend and a very long day, I had to laugh at myself.

So far, December has looked nothing like I planned.  And as far as blogging goes… well.  You see how that has turned out.  So I’m thinking of changing the title of my posts to “25 crazy imperfect days of Christmas.”  Because that’s usually what it is, isn’t it?  In the whirlwind and excitement of tinsel and trees and parties and presents I usually lose myself in the stuff.  There are tight finances.  There are too many places to be.  There are full schedules and fuller bellies.  There are tantrums and disappointments and tears and tired mommies (and daddies and kids).  So when the dust settles on December 25th I don’t know why I’m surprised at the gradual letdown… and the immediate relief!  Christmas is wonderful, but it’s often more wonderful after the fact.  In the middle, it’s a lot.  It’s a lot to handle when you also have to handle all the everydays of life- Laundry, dishes, meals, baths, work, groceries, cleaning, sleeping, meltdowns, disappointments, missing shoes, wrinkled shirts, schedules.  If I could cut a few of those out, Christmas would be easier.  But… I can’t.  So I just pile more “magical” things up on top of the not-so-magical and somehow I expect that to work.

With that reality in place, this year as we open our advent gifts in my clever attempt to squeeze everything I want into 25 days, I’m going to share my image of what that moment was supposed to look like…

And then I’m gonna tell you what really happened.

Because no plan of mine is going to fix the fact that this season is never about the gifts or the activities or the lights or snow or family or meals.

This season, as I so appropriately realized while crumpled on the floor of the bathroom in tears, is about God sending Grace.

Grace for our misshapen plans.  Grace for our explosive tantrums and failed mommy-moments.  Grace in the forgetting.  And Grace when we fall to our knees and realize that this season has nothing to do with anything else but Grace.  Because we are imperfect.  And our Christmas celebrations, while full of good intentions and desperately injected with meaning, fall flat in the face of the amazing Grace that has been offered us.  And in our mess we sometimes make of Christmas we look up to heaven and breath a sigh of relief that the Grace is still there.  Jesus is still in the center of the nativity even if the tree is crooked and the kringle is a little burned.  Even if the checkbook is empty and the truck broke down.  Even if we don’t love our family as much as we should or our kids aren’t content with their gifts.  The Grace is still there.

And the meaning of Christmas never changes, no matter how much we botch it up.  And in all our mess… we laugh and cry and realize… it’s ok.  Grace.

So read my backposts.  Read December 1st and December 2nd.  See just how imperfect my visions of sugarplums turned out… and rejoice with me at the golden gift of Grace that covers all my brown paper package mess of a Christmas.

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