I avoided posting during the holidays to try to minimize some of the stress that comes with holiday deadlines. I hope your Christmas was so sweet and thoughtful of Christ. We had a slightly busy but sweet holiday and are thankful for all that God has provided and reminded us during this advent season. I will admit I was a little stressed out this Christmas because a lot of things I wanted to get done and wasn’t able to between sickness and obligations. But I had to let it go and give it to God.
I wanted to share our Family Christmas Card and some of the family images from our Christmas # (i love dedicated hashtags), I hope you’ll enjoy it:
It’s cold outside, It feels like winter, somewhat, as wintery as the South gets sometimes. We, as a nation have just celebrated the Day of Thanks this past week and personally, for the Benson family, we completed another wonderful year of Emma in the Nutcracker. It was beautiful as always. I am very thankful for experiences I get to share with my family and every new day. So as we go in to our Christmas Season and try to keep thankfulness on our hearts there are ways we can give ourselves reminders of not only thankfulness but so much more.
My favorite thing about Christmas is lovely Advent. I am sure many of you have heard of the Jesse Trees or Advent wreaths or Lighting the Candles. So what is Advent?
“the Advent season focuses on expectation and think that it serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. This is part of the story, but there’s more to Advent.” Justin Holcomb
Advent is that, it is a waiting and expecting for the coming King. We, a weary world needs a savior king and we are waiting for him. The good news he has come and he is coming. It is the already, not yet of it all and it is truly a beautiful sound to our ears, the song of hope that has cried out to us since before we ever heard it, or our fathers and their fathers heard it.
We indeed are weary, we all know it. I don’t know one person that I think “oh they’ll be ok” without the sustaining power of a savior king. The problem is we are all not “ok”. We get up, start our daily labor, we toil and hurt and bleed and cry, we go to rest worn to our bare bones and we get up and do it all again, it’s enough to make me scream some days. It may feel hopeless and it truly, truly is…without a light bringer to give us hope and peace it always will be.
Im not being a downer or depressing when I say we cannot do it alone but the truth of the matter is we can’t. We live in a broken world with broken people which have broken desires and lives and we expect that we can be good enough and that we can shake heaven and earth with our own hands. There is so much grace in knowing I am not good enough. It is contrary to worldly advice but I am saying there is so much comfort and peace when you can surrender it all and say “not without you, can I accomplish anything”. Recent events in the world may have us down and feel very discouraging but know that brokenness is not to be unexpected in out world but there is so much hope, a remedy to brokenness…
There is so much hope in the surrendering of ourselves and saying yes, I am broken and there is nothing that can fix this brokenness. There is such good news though. The Christ child has already come and our broken Hallelujahs should be brimming from our lips in praise, not just in Advent but in every season and every day and every minute of that day. Let me stop a second to take that in and remind myself of that truth that I don’t always heed. The news gets even better too, we don’t have to wait for the baby Jesus anymore, or for the man that was Christ, he has ALREADY come and rescued us but we still wait… we wait with anticipation for him to come again and make all things unbroken, new again. Sally Lloyd Jones is one of my favorite writers, she writes children’s books and in the Jesus StoryBook Bible she says so heartbreakingly poetic how he will make all the bad things come undone. It’s that “already..not yet” thing I mentioned.
‘One day- but NOT YET- Jesus is coming back again. Not as a baby this time, but as King of the whole world. And then he will mend his broken world. There will be no more tears, or sickness, or dying. Even the tress will sing for joy!
While we wait, God wants us to remember: sin, sickness, tears, death- they won’t last. They will come to an end. But joy, life, and you- those are FOREVER.
‘The night is nearly over; the day is almost here” Romans 13:12’
It is such a beautiful story. Advent is a beautiful way for your family to celebrate and give thanks and praise for things that last forever.
Today is the first day of Advent and here are a few resources, its not too late to start today being thankful for a broken world becoming unbroken:
The Dawning of Indestructible Joy from John Piper (free pdf available for download)-We are going to do this as part of our family worship time.
Unwrapping the Greatest gift-We will do this each morning during advent along with our Jesse Tree and our fun door calendar.
Let me know how your Advent-ing is going this year and what you are doing, excited to begin our Advent Journey today.
It’s four in the morning. I can’t sleep. I have been up since 2 am and have been sitting in a tub of tepid water all the while, pruning while I think. Of all the nights when I needed sleep, this is the one. A week of cooking, Thanksgiving-ing and Nutcracker practices and performances for the tiniest tin soldier have me feeling gnawed at. I am thankful though.
We avoid the Black Friday shopping crowd, in fact I hate the whole occasion. We went to some thrift stores instead and our thrift haul was sweet. We found Kenny a new-old Wool Blazer to replace the one I decided to put in the dryer. Tired Mom strikes again. We found a cute fall skirt for Emma for 1.00. Also, we found a beautiful wooden train set for Alice for Christmas for 5.00. Kenny found some Santa mugs for pennies, He’s been collecting them every Christmas from thrift stores and shops. I was able to get some new ornaments for our tree Saturday as well, I can’t wait to add them to our humble collection. I am so thankful.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were packed with performances but I managed to stop at the Book Tavern for Small Business Saturday and get 90% of our Christmas shopping done there. I am very thankful for places like the Book Tavern and our friends that own this gorgeous place.
After promising my daughter we’d go Christmas tree shopping Sunday after her last performance and realizing on the way to the Christmas Tree Farm that with bills coming and a need for groceries we were going to have to wait, I couldn’t help letting the stress of week hit me with a guilt flood and cry until I realized Christmas Trees can wait. They aren’t the most important things about this season anyway. Advent is primary, time spent with Family is also so important to us. We, instead of Christmas tree shopping, took a detour to my Parents’ home and had leftovers to suffice for the night. In the busy-ness race, I’ll happily come in last and not worry if our Christmas is Pinterest-worthy or not. There is provision for today and Christmas Trees can wait. I am truly thankful.
Thanksgiving is over but let’s not stop showing Gratitude and giving Thanks throughout the seasons. God is good and there is enough for today and Christmas Trees can wait. When I forget and get discouraged hopefully I can remember Psalm 37 and wait patiently on Him with Joy.