Friday, December 23, 2011


Waiting for presents
Waiting to give
Waiting to receive
Waiting to know
Waiting to reveal
Waiting to see, to play, to open
Waiting to discover
Waiting to come
Waiting to go
Waiting for loved ones to arrive
Waiting for readiness
Waiting for news
Waiting for a hero
Waiting for something long awaited
Waiting for redemption
Waiting for resolution
Waiting for a Savior
For a Messiah
For the second Adam
For a Redeemer
Waiting for forgiveness
Waiting for a miracle
Waiting for deliverance
Waiting for healing
Waiting for Salvation

If your kids can't sleep, tell them the story. Adam and the serpent and the fall. The shedding of blood needed for the remission of sins. The increase of wickedness. The need for redemption. The longing and groaning of the creation for the Savior. The man Abraham. Isaac, Jacob and his sons. Moses and the Israelites. Joshua, the judges. The cycle of sin and judgement and repentence and rescue. The desire for a king and the getting of one. The repeated following of king after king in the worship of idols. The wickedness of man and the grace of God toward those who called on His Name. The desperate need of a people of a Savior. The prophets of old speaking for years of things like a virgin birth and a King to come, dying and laying dead for hundreds of years never seeing their words fulfilled.

Longing. Waiting. Messiah.

God become flesh, a tiny secret, a baby. But God told the secrets to unlikely hearers. Dirty stinky shepherds. Foreign pagan astrologers. A pregnant 60 year old barren woman with a dumb husband. Weird.

The most anticipated secret of the universe told to the most unlikely ears. Oh, and Mary. And Joseph. Now there are a couple unlikely heroes.

Tell them about the waiting for and the unlikely "wrapping" of the Greatest Gift Ever!

That'll give them something to think about, while they are waiting.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

How we do Christmas

First of all, regarding Santa Claus, we tell our kids whenever it comes up that Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, is real, is dead, is in heaven worshipping Jesus. We tell them the reindeer flying, elf employing, North Pole dwelling version is for fun but sometimes gets in the way of people really celebrating Jesus.

We wrap up pieces of the nativity set we have and open each of them, including the manger, minus the Baby Jesus, on Christmas Eve, with our youngest person (not baby) opening the last piece. Then we look around, throw up our hands, and ask, mysteriously, where is Baby Jesus??? Oh, we all realize together, He isn't born yet, tomorrow is His birthday. We leave cookies, milk and carrots out for the imaginary Santa, and go to bed.

During the night, my husband and I (and any any older kids that can't sleep) take all the presents to the tree and fill the stockings with candy and a poptart and/or granola bar in hopes that something breakfasty might enter their mouths between Reese cups.

This year, we'll open the stockings before church, and the rest after lunch. Our children exchange names and "buy" each other gifts from the Awana store. They also divy up the parents and grandparents and buy for them as well.

We don't try to buy the same number of gifts for each, nor do we honestly spend the same amount of money for each. We don't want their lists. They can use Christmas money from grandparents to buy things they want. We are buying gifts for our children, so we choose what we think will delight them and encourage them to be who they are in the things they like and are good at. So exciting to think and talk together about our children and who they are becoming, as they get older.

For the oldest we got a green . . . oh wait, she might read this!

We will read the Christmas story again, and either on Christmas or before, each child will choose a gift for Jesus for His birthday - a Matthew 25, for the least of these, kind of gift. Blankets for a child, a goat for a family, that sort of thing. Samaritan's Purse is my favorite.

The rest of the day will be spent, I hope, playing games together, enjoying each other and our new things, cooking, napping, reading, singing, hugging.

And that is Christmas at our house, in a nutshell.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas

I haven't written for a while, and I'm not sure when I will again. It's been a little crazy.

We got a dog. I mean, we received a dog. That is fun and not as life altering as I expected. It is just another creature to love in my house, another mouth to feed, another potty training to accomplish. But there is room in my heart to love him. Plenty.

We're trying desperately to get a little more school squeezed in before we give up completely for the holiday season. Very difficult. Very.

I have enjoyed greatly the anticipation of having gifts to give to my children this year.

I am greatly blessed, and I know it.

Both the babies are walking, one with more skill than the other. The eldest is driving, cooking and painting. The second is carving, shooting, and crafting cardboard into the Roman Coliseum. The third is writing a book and playing the piano and singing. Loudly. The fourth is reading. The fifth is loving the dog. The sixth is giggling and wrestling. The seventh is quoting movies and memorizing scripture. The eighth is drawing. The ninth is biting and hitting and apologizing for biting and hitting. The tenth is uggling and elbowing the 11th out, or dragging the 11th around by the arms. The eleventh is dancing and singing. The twelfth is chasing the dog.

We put up our tree, lights on the banisters, Christmasy things in the window sills. We shopped and shopped and found treasures to delight. I've been planning meals that feel special and holiday-ish.

And the waiting until Christmas morning is tangible. 12 people know something wonderful is happening soon. 2 don't suspect anything. They'll learn, soon enough.

I don't have anything special to write. I love Christmas. I love buying gifts with my husband, for my children. I love that my husband is going to home for 5 days straight. I love decorating and wrapping and giving gifts to people I love. I love that God became a man, a baby, an embryo, a fetus, a fertilized egg. I love that He was a secret in a young woman's heart. I love that Elizabeth knew. I love that He humbled Himself to become a newborn, an infant, a toddler, a teenager. I love that He submitted Himself to human parents. I love that He understands, because He lived it, life here, veiled in flesh.

I love Christmas carols and all the marvelous truth embedded in them. I don't even mind snow carols and Santa carols. But I love the Jesus carols the best. And I love presents and parties and lights and ornaments. But I love Jesus the best. There is no conflict for me about this season. Jesus is Christmas. Christmas is Jesus. The Word become flesh and dwelt among us. The Incarnation. Emanuel. God with us.

I heard a friend say it well recently. Some people don't celebrate Christmas because Jesus wasn't really born then. But if not now, when? Because there are very few things in the history of the universe more worthy of celebrating than God become man. I cannot fathom anything more worth a party than that, except that He died and rose again for us.

And sharing that marvelous gift with my children and giving them gifts as well is delightful. I can teach them in the process that Christmas is about Jesus. God gave Jesus. Jesus gave Himself, His life. They get it. He is the best gift.

Anyway, this has been pretty rambly, sorry, I'm scattered. I have presents to wrap, a house to clean, and I am seriously not caught up on laundry from Thanksgiving travels. I've gotten within a couple loads, but then people keep wearing clothes!

Blessings! May your heart be pregnant with His love, full and overflowing! Joy to the world! Let every heart prepare Him room. Let Heaven and nature sing!