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A Less than Perfect (but Peaceful) Advent

Our house is a mess. Not only have we not gotten our Christmas decorations up, we’re still putting away pumpkins, turkeys, and pilgrims.

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We’ve started receiving Christmas cards, and not only have we not sent ours, we don’t even have a photo to put on it yet.

 

I know the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas always goes quickly, but it truly seems to be moving at warp speed this year. This is partly because we went out of town for Thanksgiving and so when we arrived home December 4 our pumpkin-festooned home stood out like an orange thumb in a block of Christmas lights. And partly because, well, there is just a lot to attend and do and bake and purchase and wrap this time of year.

 

What feels like the answer is to sit down and light a candle. Each time we light it we remind the kids that Jesus came as the light in the darkness. Then we read a Bible verse and part of the Christmas story together. Then–our new addition for this year–we talk about a member of our extended family and the light he or she brings to our lives.

 

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These moments are never Pinterest-perfect. Frankly, nothing in my life is ever Pinterest-perfect. By the time I get one child seated at the table, the other one’s off doing something else, and then when I try to get the other one, the first one gets up and moves off. Then I get distracted and start sorting through mail, and it seems like forever before we all make it there together.

 

And then the candle’s wick is too short, and “the light in the darkness” keeps going out, and my children’s answers to my questions are often a lot more silly than profound. And my younger son would just really like to get back to his train.

 

All that is OK. Jesus’ life wasn’t any less messy or real. The Bible is full of people who deceived and hurt each other, who ignored, hid from and disobeyed God. And those were just the ones God blessed!

 

We still keep trying. And that light is still there in the darkness, even when my symbolic candle fails. Even when it seems impossible that God would want to bless or even care about us in all our disorganization, superficiality, and lack of profundity.

 

And even in all of our distractions, the light comes through.

 

Yesterday my boys thanked God for Grandma Donna and her energy and singing and fun. The day before they thanked God for Nana and her hugs and reading of stories.

Today we even hung some stockings.

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It’s far from perfect around here, but that’s OK.

 

(…although I still might purchase a new Advent candle.)