Sunday, November 30, 2014


The last few days did not go as I had planned.
A bug invaded our home and 4 out of our 7 family members were down for the count.
Including me.

No one felt like doing anything.  At all.  So we didn't.
Thanksgiving leftovers sat uneaten, unappetizing to sick tummies.  Fevers refused to break and bodies ached with a virus that lingered too long.
I took advantage of energy when I had it and determined to decorate this house for Christmas, and do it right.  Box after box came down and I, the Christmas decorations hoarder, laughed at last year's version of myself who left this year's version a note in a plastic storage bag full of ornaments:

"Do not put out all those Alpine trees," I wrote to me.
"You will regret it."

In other words, keep it simple, stupid.

So I did.


Ribbon...yards and yards of it...stayed put in it's storage tins because after I draped silver and gold beads around our tree I looked at my 9 year old for advice:  "Should I put the ribbon around, too?"

She bounded up the stairs and tilted her head just-so.  With a kiss of her fingertips akin to Leonardo da Vinci she declared the tree perfect.

Perfect and simple.

Just like Him.

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Light of the world, stepping down into darkness.  Jesus becoming one of us, one cell, one zygote, one embryo, one fetus, one newborn baby, yet all along never less than our one perfect Savior.  In the simplicity of a stable he came, surrounded by animals and dung and the smell of hay.  
Yet we dress it up so.  
We dress it up until it is no longer recognizable and the world steals the JOY and wraps it in glitter with a giant price tag deciding whether or not our purchases have been hefty enough to support Wall Street's habit.

But that night, there was just one Light.  One gift.  One cry.  

So tonight, on this first beautiful night of Advent, we with the feverish children gathered round and lit one candle.  We read the Song of the Stars and sang Hark the Herald Angels and the one who is all teen and tries to appear unemotional, he closed his eyes as he sang and I heard his voice crack as it bridged child and adulthood.  Another closed his eyes and worshipped, volunteering to pray from the depths of his sweet heart at the end.  Little girls sang clear and strong and the oldest managed through fits of painful coughing to join. Despite the distractions we managed to light the one candle and set our minds forward, realizing it is time to look for Him again.  

It is time to stop and breathe deep the scent of Frankincense and Myrrh, gifts fit only for a King.
It is time to put down the shopping list and look for the Gift that makes all others look like rubbish, the Gift that is eternal and worthy of anything we lay at His feet.
It is time to read ancient words penned by prophets, fulfilled to perfection by the One who keeps His promises.  Every single one of His promises.
It is time to sing old songs, tell true stories, and huddle close on cold nights with hot tea and a bag of cough drops on the nightstand...
because that uninvited guest?  
The virus that knocked us nearly to a standstill?  
In this season that had become altogether too busy it may have been exactly what the Great Physician had ordered after all.  

I don't know how you plan to celebrate Advent, but I encourage you to do it.  Take the time, even if it was not a part of your growing-up experience (it certainly was not mine).  You will treasure these days, these brief, unhurried moments where the faces of your most precious ones are illuminated by candlelight as you read and sing of the coming of Christ.  Yes, by all means, keep it simple.