It is the time of year when everyone is ordering organic, free range, heritage turkeys, measuring their window sills for appropriate birch branch twinkle lights, counting the weeks necessary to make vanilla extract for Christmas gifts and the money already dwindling in their bank accounts. Amidst all the good cheer and the festive return of eggnog, there is a sinking feeling that hits me a week before all the activities begin. It’s the same feeling I’d get when I walked into a classroom about to take an exam I knew I didn’t really study for. It’s the feeling of being unprepared.
I haven’t ordered the turkey. I didn’t make bone broth all this week in order to use it next week. I didn’t buy the jars for the vanilla extract, I’ve only gotten Christmas shopping done for my immediate little family, I haven’t even considered the side dishes or tablescapes. Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram with it’s lovely staged photographs of light snow falling on red barns and little girls with black muffs and red topcoats sends chills right to my bones. Last year, we learned what Christmas meant. What it really meant. Stripped down to nothing, we weren’t sure if we could pay to keep the heat on in our house let alone gifts, or dinner or decorations.
I have sat in my dining room and have cried all this week with how God has blessed us this year…….at this time last year, the world felt so hopeless, but Jesus felt so near. We were tired, we were broke, we were scared. Exactly a year later, we are still in the house I thought we might lose, wearing clothing without holes, have a full refrigerator of food and with God’s grace, $10,000.00 less in debt. I have purchased two lovely, thoughtful gifts that will go under the tree this year for the two people I love most in the world and God is so good.
I am fighting the unpreparedness this year. Last year it was easy to ignore- we couldn’t afford anything and therefore, it made it simple to overlook. But this year, I am moderating the holiday sites, throwing out the catalogs. We will be reading The Jesus Story Book Bible for the 24 days of advent this year. We will welcome folks to our table. We will sing and laugh and be more concerned with how prepared our hearts are than our Christmas tree.
But I make no promises about the twinkle light birch branches. They’re so adorable.