It all started with a simple card and a few pinecones, but in 1.2 seconds it became an explosion, sending it's glittery shrapnel all over our kitchen...
I've been given the gift of a unique Advent.
For most of November I resolved that this Advent would be different. That we would stop. Really stop and take stock of the important things of the season.
I just had no idea how we would do it.
I'm not really a "forward thinker." I let the tasks of today distract me from plans for the future. So while I planned to slow Advent down for our family, I was figuring on tackling the "how" when I got to it.
Then I received a gift! My sister-in-law's family gifted us with just what I needed. Just what I needed! The Perfect Advent Calendar. That's what it's called. And she wanted to make sure I was prepared, so she gave me a heads up that I would need to look it over prior to December so I would have all the supplies ready. She is a forward thinker, a planner. Have I mentioned that I'm not?
December 1st I opened our goody box and perused the contents. My daughter and I strung the cards on the ribbon while the other two girls limbo-ed beneath. We organized the activities and I made my list of supplies to get at Hobby Lobby. (I admit I enjoyed turning a trip to Hobby Lobby into a "need.")
Now each day we pick the card in the slot for the day and perform it's directions as a family. Drive and look at Christmas lights, wear Christmas socks and take a picture, play a family game, watch a family movie, bake cookies, etc. During the family time, you discuss how this reveals God's love and grace. There's a scripture verse and a prayer. And each day is cleverly titled with a _______ it. Bake it. Build it. Deliver it. Play it. You get the idea.
None of them say Survive it, though a couple of times that has been my only goal.
Messy Monday happened last Thursday as our family embarked on memorializing The Legend of the Silver Pinecone.
After Googling the story the real fun began. Glitter sprang forth in happy showers over the glue painted pinecones. Smudged with hands, shaken onto bare feet, pressed into my neck and hair by an affectionate toddler, the glitter was everywhere.
The title of Thursday's card? Cherish it.
In the middle of the chaos? The fights? The pleas? The family time that suddenly turned train wreck?
The little hands, minds, hearts growing in the love of Jesus. This is what I wanted to slow down to see, and I guess it took a great big mess to remind me of that.
It doesn't take a perfect calendar to tell me to cherish. (It helps, not gonna lie.)
And as I look around me and see people going crazy over stupid stuff (that's right- I said stupid- and I'm including myself in this group of people) sometimes the biggest gift is to be reminded to cherish it because He cherishes us.
The train wrecks we are. The bickering. The grudges. The ridiculous expectations. The impossible comparisons. The mistakes over and over and over again.
Cherish what? What could He possibly cherish?
Our hands, minds, hearts. That's what. We are so incredibly beloved, especially in the messiness of life.
He is willing to go through the messes with us because He cherishes us.
That's worth pausing over.
That's what Advent call us to. We pause not in some holy pursuit to perfect ourselves, but because we know that when God calls us to reflect on Him, we inevitably see one overarching truth - He cherishes us. No matter what. Pure Gospel there.
That's what sent Jesus to earth, and what sends Him into the very midst of the explosions of our lives.
That's what He tells you today and everyday.
I cherish you.
Praying that the Lord gives you reason to pause and awe over His tremendous love for you. Praying He calls you loud and clear to cherish the messy moments in your life because they are reminders that He is with you in the midst of them. He cherishes you, Friends.