The day we decorated for Advent, I looked around and thought,
“Is that IT? Is this all we have?” and I fell into a funk. It could’ve been partially due to Jac and I being in the middle of a spat that I cannot recall (obviously it was very important) and being tired and feeling out of sorts in general. At any rate, it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.
While I moped about that night, I realized that the truth was I was unimpressed with me and not the decor or lack thereof. I had come to this great time of preparation and celebration and was showing up empty handed. I could say that the year had taxed us, spent us, and worn us out and it would be true and an excuse all wrapped up and flimsy. It was one heck of a year in so very many ways but that didn’t make up for my lack of preparation.
I have a love/hate relationship with our manger tradition. I love to watch the tiny crib fill with straw as we love and sacrifice in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I hate that most nights we reach that point in our prayer and Jac asks, “Did you do anything charitable or sacrifice at all today?” and then all 5 heads turn to me and ask, “What did I do good today, Mom?” I loathe the burden of keeping track of everyone else’s deeds and the disappointment that comes when I can’t recall. On top of that, most things that others list as sacrifices or charity – I hung out with Lucy! I made lunch! I put away my laundry! – are expected of me. As a result, I don’t end up putting in many straws.
Here, one foot inside a new year, I’ve made the decision to plan ahead. I want to be better prepared next December. I want my heart to be cushioned and ready for Christ, not bare and cold. I want to meet the struggles and sacrifices with joy and acceptance not a fearful or begrudging spirit. I want to let go of more to make room for more. I want to spend my time training so that even if I arrive at the end completely spent and out of breath, I can say I’ve run THE RACE well.
I want to be more like Christ and less like me.
I think it’s worth the time.