Wednesday, December 25, 2013

To Treasure and To Ponder

The house is still, and the twinkle of the Christmas tree makes the room feel warm.  I can still hear Anna's little squeals, and the songs playing on the new toys that she received today.  She had a blast digging into Christmas presents, eating green tissue paper, exploring empty boxes, and giggling as her Daddy pushed her so high on the swing outside. Our hearts are full tonight after celebrating Christ's birth together as a family of three.  This time last year I was very pregnant and dreaming about the little babe that would bless our family.  As Drew and I read the Christmas story this morning in Luke 2, I felt as though I understood the emotion that Mary might have felt a little bit deeper this year.

Luke 2:19
"But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart."  

One thing that I have said a lot in these last 10 months of being a mom is that I just don't know how to take it all in.  Anna is growing so fast and changing everyday.  I just can't take enough videos or photos to capture the joy and excitement it is to watch her grow up.  Her first Christmas has come and gone.  It is simply impossible to hold onto a day forever, and Anna will only be this little for so long. We have been being intentional to be present with her in each moment in order to remember and treasure these days.  I think I am learning what it means to ponder and cherish each moment with my little girl.

  As Mary celebrated her first Christmas in the cattle stall she didn't have an iPhone to record all of baby Jesus' little noises, coos, or cries.  She had to be still and take it all in. When I try to picture the scene in my head I imagine that Mary was quiet as she gazed at her baby, gazed in wonder at his little fingers and little toes.  This little baby, conceived by the Holy Spirit, that she just gave birth to, would be the Savior of the World.  Mary had a lot to treasure that day as she held her baby close to her heart. She pondered what was said about her Son by the Angel, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).  This was good news of great joy that was for ALL the people (Luke 2:10).  Mary's Son would save ALL people from their sins!

Luke 1: 47
"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Not So Perfect Christmas

This morning I posted an Instagram picture displaying our numberless advent calendar and admitting that it may just stay that way this year. Yesterday morning's family activity was supposed to be Christmas pancake extravaganza and we missed it. We went to get our Christmas tree on Tuesday afternoon and we had our red Starbucks cups full of yummy coffee (as is our tradition when picking out our tree at Home Depot - yes, getting our tree from Home Depot also happens to be a tradition)! Instead of wandering through the tree aisles debating about multiple trees, I sat in the car with a sleeping Anna while Drew held trees up from the other side of the barrier.  I gave a thumbs up or a thumbs down to communicate which one was my favorite - this was not the sentimental tree shopping I had envisioned.

This morning I wrote in my prayer journal that my heart just cannot grasp the depth of this advent season and the celebration of Christ's birth. It's so easy to get distracted by the ups and downs of the holiday season.  The lack of money for that perfect Christmas present for your spouse, the child who just won't sit still for your family devotion, or the inability to see certain family members who you would love to spend the holiday with.  We all long for perfect and sentimental gatherings during the holidays, but the reality is that there might be disappointment because we live in a broken world. I heard a lady recently speak on this topic at a church event, and I was very encouraged.  We long for perfection because that is what we were created for.  It's right to long for those perfect holiday moments when everyone in your family gets along, and you find that awesome gift to bless your spouse with.  These things are good gifts from God. However, the reality of our broken world makes these longings a bit shattered at times.  The wonderful thing about this season of advent is we are celebrating Christ, the perfect one, who came to fix the brokenness!

My prayer this season is that as I face these disappointments (because they will come) that they will only point me more to Christ who came as a baby to heal this broken world.  Let these disappointing moments turn your eyes to our hope in Christ, and feel free to laugh and give yourself and your family grace when the Christmas dinner burns and your toddler pulls the tree over!