Example 2. Family risks visiting again for Thanksgiving only to find one of my children is vomiting with the stomach bug. No problem. Except for the fact that she's too young to run, take aim, and deposit in toilet. She's a lose cannon and we have no washer and dryer because we decided to replace them a few days earlier. Stroke of brilliance. Thanksgiving Day spent washing puke sheets at someone else's house who DOES have a washer and dryer. **please note that when new appliances are delivered, they bring gas dryer. We have electric. Thanks. Try again.** Example 3. We have power. We do not have pukers. All major appliances are in the house. Unfortunately, a small family altercation breaks out and all of a sudden it's Jerry Springer. Voices are raised. Tears are flowing. People are exiting into the darkness. Brent and my dad just keep on staring straight ahead at the History Channel as if absolutely nothing is happening. Example 4. Not hosting Thanksgiving. What are we fools? Decide to drive to North Carolina and descend upon my brother and sister-in-law for the holiday. What could go wrong? Drive nine hours straight with three children, but thankfully we borrowed my MIL's comfy ride (loaded new Suburban). Joyously arrive and greet relatives. (Wait for it) Ben begins puking and sprays the living room. Sister-in-law is pregnant, and my parents are there, and so we get back in the car and drive nine hours home immediately so as not to infect others. Thanksgiving dinner consists of Funyuns at a gas station rung up by a cashier with a snake tattoo slithering down her neck. Tried to redeem Thanksgiving a few days later by going out and buying all the goodies to have our own at home. Wreck MIL's Suburban by driving it into the side of my own house instead of into the garage.
And. I. Am. Done.
So when Christmas rolls around, I'm usually still trying to recover from whatever catastrophe has occurred the month prior. The tree goes up. The shopping gets done. However, I'm usually dreading the stress, the busyness, the anticipation that it's just not going to be that great. And this year is no different. The Christmas tree was overpriced and underwhelming. A giant branch-less hole looms on the left hand side, making the tree look very much like nature's interpretation of Donald Trump's hair. My kids looked like hobos in the church Christmas program because I didn't have time or money to get new outfits. Two hundred Christmas cards arrived with the wrong year of Will's birth printed on them. According to the card, he's a very giant 4 month old. Ugh. I bought Brent an L. L. Bean backpack for Christmas. Nice, huh? When it arrived I discovered that it's for a small boy....,or a Hobbit.
What is my problem???? I'll tell you what it is. I'm not concentrating on advent. I'm not thinking about the tiny savior who was born to free me from the bondage of all this other junk. I miss talking to Jesus. I haven't opened my Bible in days. And I'm longing for time spent with my Father. So in a few minutes, I will put this blog to rest along with everyone else in this house who is sleeping and I will read and pray. Let the story of Christmas overwhelm me in a such a way that the mishaps of the season shrink to nothingness. Yes, I want this to be the best Christmas ever, but not because I've constructed a beautiful experience around me. I'm striving for a heart that is set on the Lord and the wonder of His birth.
Sometimes I like to write out my prayers. Here is my prayer tonight:
Dear Heavenly Father-
Where would I be if you hadn't come? Why do I live like you didn't come? Lord, forgive me for shifting my focus away from you, my King. Help me to quiet the world around me so that I can hear your voice during this advent season. Help me to find renewed wonder in the story of your birth. Help me to put you back in your rightful place--as Lord of my life and the center of my days, hours, minutes, seconds. Make me comfortable with failure because failure makes me want and need you. In whatever successes I do experience, help me to credit you instead of stealing fame for myself. Lord, please change my heart. The ugliness in it is not what you want for me. Only you can help me. Make me yearn for you as I yearn now for earthly things. May your opinion of me be the only one that matters to me. Make me a daughter worth of your inheritance.