Holiday Busts and the Christmas Message

Sometimes, the most annoying-not-as-we-planned-it moments in the holiday season best tell the true meaning of Christmas.
Here’s what got me thinking about this. I was editing these photos thinking: These are lovely. I love Christmas.
I almost forgot about the kiddos juggling ornaments, breaking ornaments, and the sobbing because for whatever the reason, our dare-devil son got scared when his dad lifted him up to put the angel on the tree. (That picture didn’t turn out as planned.) Usually decorating is one of our favorite things to do. But this year, we were off. Grumpy, off. Not much fun, off.
But, do you know what? Even though I can get in my head how perfectly I want our holiday, memory-making moments to play out, this holiday bust didn’t bother me.
Lately, I haven’t minded all of life’s everyday bumps and imperfections. Maybe because I've noticed that no matter how many lists, conversations, or prepping we do, most things don’t ever go fully as planned. Flawlessness is illusive. Impossible. It can’t be accomplished. There might be a message in that. Perhaps that’s our everyday proof that God means what He says:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9
All of the everyday, unavoidable bumps remind us that perfection is not God’s message. Instead, we are held in the palm of His hand because of His grace. When we stand in front of Jesus and say: Please God, I need you. Walk this life with me. He always says: yes. We are loved by Him simply because He created us. Oh, sweet grace.
So, bring on the photo worthy moments of Christmas. But also, bring on the holiday busts. The moments that remind us grace is needed abundantly on this earth. Because those moments too can remind us of the kind of grace we already have. Free. Bountiful. Gifted to us through a baby in a manager by a God who deeply loves us.
May you have a wonderful Christmas. I hope you really enjoy it. Every single bumpy and wonderful moment of it.

Fairy Tale Hope

Fairy Tale Hope. 
A phrase I just made up so let me define it for you. I told my boys to put the last of the dinner plates and cups in the dishwasher while I finished getting ready. We all needed to leave. I’m upstairs for just a few minutes when I hear laughing and screaming and running and chasing. I’m sure the scene downstairs is not of angelic boys completing a chore, but of a frenzied scramble to find a Nerf gun, a pillow from the couch, a sword, a shield or something to dominate each other. I hear the thump of a take down, the cry of victory, the call of revenge…. And yet, there is a part of me that really truly thinks they did obey. Maybe they are just having a lot of fun lining the dishes in neat rows. I am sure pillows aren’t strewn about and no one is tangled in a wrestling move. The dishes are not teetering awkwardly on each other facing the wrong direction from being hastily thrown in.
No, that is not happening.
Okay, so it probably is happening. The downstairs has erupted into a den of untamed lions and the dishwasher probably won’t close because of the ridiculousness.
And yet...
...the hope is still there. A little part of me still thinks - really thinks - they just might be doing what they are supposed to be doing. And if they are not and I stall for a few more minutes before going downstairs maybe - just maybe - they will pull it together and get the chore done correctly.
Fairy Tale Hope. Have you been there too? #momproblems