Thursday, December 27, 2012

where my hands {and heart} are still clinging to Christmas...

After all the presents have been unwrapped...

After all the goodies have been consumed...

After all the stockings have been removed from the mantle...

After all the family has returned to their homes...

When the elves have travelled back to the North Pole for the last time...

When underneath the tree is empty...

When the trash has been toted outside...

When the house has been {semi}restored to normal...

How do you tight-fist, white-knuckle cling to Christmas?  To Advent?  To the anxious, anticipation of the arrival of our Savior?  I'm desperate to know.

Like most blended families, we split the holidays with my {not really} son.  Even year, odd year stuff.  While it was an even year, it is odd for us.  Because he does not wake up with us on Christmas morning.  But we make the most of it.

Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated with him like it was Christmas morning all over again.  Family came over.  They showered him with their gifts.  The Spirit of Christmas lingered with us just a a bit longer.

And then....

Everyone vanished. 

Even my husband and his son.  They doned their camo and set off for a tree stand somewhere deep in the woods in the hopes of catching a deer. 

The only two left were me and baby girl. 

And the wrapping paper and ribbons and discarded boxes.  And of course, all the presents that needed to be put away. 

For the briefest of moments, I lost sight of Christmas.  I forgot that Hope was born in a dirty, filthy mess of a barn. 

Instead, my Type-A, OCD green eyes, focused on the mess of my house.  On the trash and the dirty carpet and the trampled wrapping paper.  I set out to make order of the house {again!}!  I felt the blood pressure rising.  The anxiety building. 

It was all over and I needed order.  I needed my house to be back to normal. 

But what is normal?

It wasn't until a well-deserved and much-needed doze on the couch that it dawned on me.

Normal is not 'everything has a place and everything in its place'.  Nor is it a clean house where stray toys do not reside.  It is not all clothes folded and put away.  Or the washing machine running constantly.  It is not a dry sink and swept floor.  Or beds made and shoes not strawn everywhere. 

No, for me {and other followers of Christ} normal is feeling abnormal.

Normal is that sense that something is just not right.  Something is off just a hair. 

That is how I feel.  And a clean house doesn't make that feeling go away. 

I still live with the anxiety and anticipation deep within my soul.  The anticipation that my Savior is on His way.  On His way back to reclaim His treasure.  His bride.  His creation. 

As the new year approaches, I want to cling to Christmas with all the strength I can muster.  I want my heart to celebrate Advent every day.  I want to purpose myself to remember that Christmas doesn't end on December 25.  Instead, Christmas is all year long.  I don't have to reflect on my Savior's birth during one holiday.  I can choose to reflect on both His birth and death all year.  I can choose to be awestruck my God's sacrifice for me every day. 

There are two ways I know I am going to do this.

One, for everyone that blessed our family with a Christmas card, I am choosing to keep them in a basket for the entire year.  I will choose two cards a month and I commit to praying for those families for that entire month.  {If you mailed us a card and you are reading this post, please let me know if there are specific areas that I can pray for your family this year.}

And second, the nativity sets are not getting wrapped up and stored away with the rest of the Christmas decorations.  Instead, one will stay in our den and the other one {which is incomplete because my parents started it for Harper last Christmas and she receives one piece each year until it is complete} will stay in Harper's room. 

My weary soul rejoices.  For a new morning is begging to burst wide open on the horizon, full of His glory. 

Wait for Him, my sweet ones.  Be of good cheer and wait. 

Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.
Psalm 27:14

It is Advent.

Let's eagerly anticipate His arrival. 

You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come
at an hour when you do not expect him.
Luke 12:40

Jesus is on His way.

It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye,
when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds,
those who have died will be raised to live forever.
And we who are living will also be transformed.
1 Corinthians 15:52

May Christmas stay in your heart every day, as you wait for His arrival.  May you stay alert and ready for His coming.

How do you cling to Christmas?

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