Wow, Advent has been like a mini Lent — exactly what the Church says it’s supposed to be — but I don’t really like to suffer and be inconvenienced so it has been a time of stretching. We’re not talking a pleasant yoga-type-stretching — it’s been more of a medieval being-stretched-on-a-rack type of stretching — not pleasant. 🙁
And just when I thought we were over the hump of little sufferings and inconveniences and making way for Christmas, we found ourselves in the midst of another entirely unexpected kind-of-big drama this week. We’re still in the midst of it and it’s sad for a whole bunch of reasons — but I’ll leave it at requests for prayers for all the people involved and a million thanks in advance for your prayers!
So, on to the 7 Quick Takes:
1.We Managed to Get Our Tree Up On Joy Sunday.
I’ll start with something pleasant. We got our tree up on Joy Sunday. It was a perfectly snowy, blustery day — exactly the kind of day I enjoy trudging through the snow in our Sunday best and finding a tree.
A little light coming at the darkest time of the year. Holding on to the Light as we navigate through the craziness of Advent. Our little tree has reminded me of the promise of good things to come.
2. Ornaments Have a Way of Telling a Family’s Story — I Love Being Reminded of Ours.
All of our ornaments have a story to tell. Many were purchased on our yearly trips to visit family in Chicago — we’d usually hit Macy’s on State Street before returning to our home.
We’d splurge on lunch in the Walnut room and each child could choose one ornament to take home. And hey, the after Christmas sales allowed us to buy some of the most beautiful little hand-made ornaments from places that know how to make an ornament — and they know the importance of Christmas, too. So lovely!
I love looking at all of these little ornaments that have wonderful feelings attached to them. They are part of what make up our family memories and we all get excited as we unwrap the ornaments and hang them up each year. This year felt a little sweeter for some reason –maybe the challenges have made the sweet moments, even sweeter.
3. Snuggling By the Tree When You’re Not Feeling So Great.
My baby is a snuggler — and I love it! He was feeling a bit rough this week. Perhaps that made him a little more snuggly than usual? I think I needed a few more hugs this week — so glad he was willing to give me great big hugs that lasted a while.
4. Making Room for More Snuggling
Sometimes you worry if there’s enough love to go around in a big family. But if you are trying your best, I think God will take care of the rest. And you know what, sometimes you are at your limit, but fortunately there’s other people around to pick up the slack when you are feeling a bit like you don’t have much to give.
Hey, I told you we are descendants of Celtic warriors — you knew this lovely moment couldn’t end without a punch or a hair-pulling didn’t you?
5. Our Dishwasher Finally Arrived– And I wasn’t Murdered!
After 3 missed deliveries and a few angry phone calls, our dishwasher finally arrived. Yeah! However, it was the most terrifying experience I have had in a while. Can you say extremely sketchy delivery guys? I think I’ll save the story for another time…it involves blood, fights, and desperate texts. Let’s just say I was expecting to end up on the 5 o-clock news, and I didn’t. So yay for me!
6. Advent Has Me Like…
I said it before, but Advent has been hard, and I’ve been a bit of a baby about it. Strangely enough, my sweet little baby has had an icky cold and he looks exactly like I have felt for most of Advent — we’re both just hoping to make it to the end. 🙁 Here’s a few photos that help to encapsulate everything I’m feeling on the inside.
Oh poor me! Boohoo, I have had a few inconveniences and sufferings and bad things happen and I have begun to feel sorry for myself. Woe is me!
Well, I’m going to quote a good priest friend of mine, who has since moved on to Missions in Mexico. I was once on a retreat and he looked at all of us ladies and shouted, “I hope you cry for your sins. I really do”. We were all like, “Woah Father, hold on there”. But you know what, he was right.
We don’t deserve all the good things we get in life — we deserve Hell — but God loves us so much that He wanted to give us a chance to suffer a little for our sins and the sins of others and to gain Heaven. I’m not saying we earn Heaven — because we don’t — but we get to “make up for the sufferings that are lacking in Christ”(Colossians 1:24) — we get to do a little bit to walk with Christ on His way to Calvary.
And we can walk kicking and screaming, or we can do it willingly — but we’re all going to suffer in this life, so might as well get some grace from it. I don’t like to suffer — I don’t want to get what I deserve, or anything near what I deserve. And I have been ungrateful for the many ways God has shielded me, protected me from what I deserve — all throughout my life. Advent has taught me that.
At one particular point of being done with all the challenges, I found myself asking Mary, “Where are you in all of this?” And you know what she said back, “I’ve been right here loving you through this.” And I know that she has. And I know I’ve been a big, fat baby about it all. Oh well — so we begin again!
7. He is coming! I hope I make it.
Guys, He is coming. Let’s get ready. Sometimes it’s just taking life as it comes — with grace and prayers. Sometimes it’s about pushing a little harder in these last few days to really embrace Advent and make way for the Joy of Christmas.
Let’s keep trying our lousy best to make this Advent the most fruitful one yet!
Linking Up With Kelly.
~Blessings to You~