I walk up the stairs to my bedroom for what seems like the fifth time in a row. What did I need this time? Oh, that's right...a band aid. Another boo-boo I am too rushed to soothe properly. I will slap a band aid on her finger and then hopefully finish dinner and get everyone fed before we need to leave for the band concert. Deep breath.
Coming down the hall, I pass a tub of clothes I pulled out of storage in August for Piper. Little sigh. I constantly need to massage our clothing monster into place so the right sizes for the right seasons are in the right spaces for the right kids. And then put all the tubs back where they go. I hate this job, so I put it off till clothing emergencies (like she only has shorts in her drawer when it's 4 degrees outside) force my hand. It's my own fault.
As I round the corner down the steps, my eye glances to the Little People nativity set. Another little sigh. I bought this last year just for play during the advent season. But then there was that weak moment in June when I let Britta play with it. On that day, it became just like all of our other kids' nativity sets: missing the baby Jesus. Why does the baby always turn up missing?? I guess because my kids love the baby most. I am truly surprised when the plastic character turns up in Ezra's hands a few days later. Wow and Hooray!
I wish again this year that I could have pulled off Truth in the Tinsel. I never have, but it's cute and meaningful. Nightly crafts from macaroni and pipe cleaners to help reinforce the Christmas story. That would have been fun. But it's not reality right now. Reality is that it takes work just to gather everyone for scripture reading and try to keep the little ones quiet and all attentive. I truthfully have lots of guilt pangs this time of year. I should have done a great many things I had set my mind to, but time quickly slips through my hands and there are many things that go unchecked on the list--big and small.
As a woman, I feel pressure all around to make the season the most magical time of the year for the people I love. Social media, and even talking with my friends, gives me more ideas than my brain can manage. In reality I would do better to just unplug from the possibilities and instead make the most of the stuff that is right before me. Because in the end, I can't really live up to my own magical merry-making expectations...unless I want to be a worn-out, bitter heap come December 25.
So I tell the kids that they need to scale back their expectations. And I tell myself Christmas is a season not a climax. And I remember that the real celebrations are in the small moments not just the grand ones--if I can pause long enough to see them. I am reminded of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:
40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The truth is, this is what my house will look like at points this holiday season. And I will need to kick it into Martha-gear and put it all back together again. And (note to self) I will need to enlist my children's help so I don't feel put-upon. We certainly have tasks to attend to, and it is loving to manage our homes well. My house will still look like this at points, because I don't have the whole Martha-thing figured out either :).
But maybe I can live with the mess just a bit if it means I don't give away all of the Mary-moments. I want to sit at Christ's feet. I know you do too. I confess, I am writing this post today because I have been facing dashed expectations and the resulting struggle to love. I need to settle in more on the one thing needed: to rest in Christ.
May we make sure in this busy season that we find rest at His feet and prepare Him room...in our own hearts and homes and beyond.
In Christ's love, erika
I often pull photos from my FLICKR account which I have been adding picts to for over 10 years. Just so you know...I didn't snap pictures of glitter and pop-up picture books in between the chaos this week :) Love, e