December 1st came and went and guess what? I’m not done Christmas shopping. I planned to be. But I’m not.
My lists aren’t as complete as I had hoped. There are hard-to-find things left to track down. I’ve got some tracking to do.
It’s December 5th and guess what? We’re behind on advent devotions in this house. 5 days, people; 5 days and we couldn’t even keep up. There have been late nights with family and late nights spent singing and, yes, we are already behind.
I had a plan as to how this was going to happen. We were going to read our Bible devotions with breakfast, our fun read aloud at lunch and our advent devotions before bed. Five days in and we’ve already botched it.
I’ve made Christmas cookies that haven’t been frosted and printed party invitations that haven’t been sent.
It’s only December 5th and Christmas is kind of kicking my butt.
I had the opportunity to speak at a ladies event this week. My task? Speak about traditions. Talk about bringing Christ into your home at Christmas, bonding your family, that sort of thing.
Clearly they didn’t ask me based on how well I’m doing this year.
What words could I really offer, what hope could I really give when I’m barely managing to pull this Christmas thing off myself?
So I did the only thing I knew to do. I spoke the message I needed to hear. Truth be told, I do that around here more often than you realize, preaching the words I’m still, at the same time, still learning to receive.
In the gospel of John, a book without the traditional Christmas story, we hear of Christmas like this:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out saying, “This was He of whom I said, “He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.”” And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
This week I was reminded what the Nativity, what the first Christmas, really looked like. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. Did you catch that? Among us. Among our mess. Among our advent devotion failures and undecorated Christmas cookies. Among us.
And because of that “of his fullness” we have all received grace upon grace. Unbelievable, really. For all the Christmas lists I make in my head, for all of the Best Christmas EVER goals I want to achieve, the real story is Him meeting me, Him meeting all of us, right in the midst of our messes. Flooding it all, with grace upon grace.
This is the only tradition I need for this year. This is the one thing I need to wash over my Christmas list, my Christmas fails, my Christmas hopes and dream. His fullness, His grace, in all of it.
This is the one thing you really must know this Christmas, the one thing we all must remember as we are rushing about and trying our best to enjoy what really is the most wonderful time of the year. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and your heart every mindful of His grace.
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