Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas, Christmas Tiiime is Heeeere...

There are two themes that keep coming up for Robin and I these days. They don’t casually come up either. They come up kind of like in cartoons when the bad guy steps on the end of the rake and the other end comes up and smacks him right between the eyes.

            I’m only going to talk about one of them today, because sufficient for the day is its’ own tangent. Robin thought of this one, and I have once again stolen one of his catchy sound bites and tried to sort of take credit for it. It is “The Joy of Christmas is found not in what we can do, but in what Christ has done.”-

I feel like I should have that printed onto something. Beyond it just sounding catchy though, this is really relevant for Robin and I because we are BIG Christmas people.

For example, *hazy 80’s flashback vignette* When I found out that we would not be opening our presents or having my traditional cranberry French toast on Christmas morning because we would be leaving so early to go to my in-laws, I may have burst into tears and said that our kids would never believe in Santa Claus because he would only come on Christmas day every other year.

Because I’m adult like that.

Tradition is my thing. It makes me feel grounded and connected. It also makes me inflexible and emotional when that’s thrown off course. Tradition is usually centered around What We Do, and not so much about what He has done unless we’re reading the Christmas story before opening presents. And I think we kind of know where the focus is then anyway.

This year we’re paying attention to the idea of Advent a lot more. Not the Advent where each day I open a little door and get a piece of chocolate, but the kind of Advent that requires some stuff. Stuff like showing solidarity with the suffering and creating room in myself for Jesus to come.

We’ve been reading through Richard Rohr’s Preparing for Christmas, Daily Meditations for Advent. While reading it this morning, it talked about how we get stuck in thinking Christmas is only about the coming of Jesus as a baby, when it’s also about Him coming into our lives right now. Not sweet, peach fuzzed, lotion-scented baby Jesus who doesn’t ask anything of us, but the Jesus who asks for surrender and awareness. Jesus who asks for a lot of stuff I really don’t even want to think about because it’s Christmas and Mariah Carey is singing and I just want to drink my cocoa and be happy.

That doesn’t mean that Christmas isn’t supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, for us it just needed to be tempered with the spirit of Advent. That spirit of waiting and expectation and the desperate hope that something really good is coming if you can just hold on a bit longer.

We’re still keeping plenty of our traditions because LET’S NOT GET OUT OF HAND HERE- but I’m being more flexible with them. I’m trying to hold them with open hands where if it happens, super, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. So here are some of the traditions we’ve already observed this season, and some that we hope are still to come.

-          Decorating oranges with cloves- it smells so lovely and is one of the most peaceful things in the whole world. Peace, in my mind, smells like oranges and cloves
-          Christmas Party-ing with our band, some of the most selfless and amazing musicians probably on earth. 
-          Watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and drinking iced eggnog with freshly grated nutmeg at my parents’ house
-          Baking Espresso Dark Chocolate shortbread cookies. I make these once a year (except for verrrry special occasions) because I would be morbidly obese if they were readily available at any other time.
-          Cutting down our tree at the Christmas tree farm
-          Candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church, followed by a Tex Mex feast befitting El Presidente
-          Opening one present on Christmas Eve
- Christmas baking with my mom 
-Watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and drinking hot cocoa with Rob    while decorating the tree.
-Having a dinner/cookie/coffee/recipe exchange with some of my very dearest   friends who have moved far, far away and are coming home for Christmas.
-Advent meditation

1 comment:

  1. I just love how The Lord uses you to speak small whispers and reminders into me! I love getting a small glimpse into your family and marriage and I look up to you with higher standards in how I seek The Lord and allow life to come by me. I love you big!