Monday, December 29, 2014
Glad tidings of great joy
We had a very nice Christmas week. Brad being on vacation and at home always leads to much more relaxed, enjoyable days. During his work week, we are up before 6:00 a.m. and charging full steam ahead into our day. This past week, we stayed up late, enjoyed several movies, and enjoyed some much-needed laid back mornings. It was amazing (as always) how quickly his time off went.
As nice as it is to load up in the car and head out, we are all very much homebodies so we spent most of our week of vacation at home. Baking filled the earlier days in the week as we made our annual gingerbread cookies (gluten free and dairy free this year.) I had also found this recipe for vegan, GF butter spritz. Butter spritz have always been one of my favorite cookies, and this recipe tasted just as I remember a spritz cookie tasting in my pre-GF days. They were amazing! I really did eat too many cookies this vacation.
Our Christmas week was very much family and friend focused. It was wonderful to share a meal with new friends, and it was just as equally wonderful to host our annual family Christmas dinner here at our home. A dinner that was made complete with a birthday cake for Jesus, just a fun little tradition we have to help to point the day back to Christ.
The weather was unseasonably and strangely warm. I found myself really wishing it would just snow so we could enjoy a white Christmas. But, alas, it was quite gray and dreary on Christmas day. However, it was in the 50's and sunny on the 26th, and we were even able to plant some trees, something that is usually unheard of at the end of December in this area.
Yes, it was quite enjoyable. And it was also quite like life, up and down, you know. We have been dealing with some extremely emotional family issues that are very delicate and require protection, and those things were very much on our hearts this week. In addition, Lily and I received the most unwanted gift of a lovely cold virus on Christmas Eve, from which we are still recuperating.
Was our Christmas week the picture of perfection that our world desires and strives to obtain? By far, it was not. It was real though. Filled with love, with broken-heartedness, with excitement, with confusion, with fun, with some really sad moments. But Christ's birth was not the perfect birth anyone would imagine for a King. It was dark, dirty, smelly, and raw, but in that manger, that mangled mess of chaos, the most perfect gift ever was given. Christ's birth didn't require perfectly lit houses, piles of gifts, delicious cookies, or lovely centerpieces. It just required a young man and woman, willing to serve God, willing to be God's servants, willing to accept what the world would not. And because of their willingness, Jesus Christ was born.
And that was a great reminder for me during those moments when I found myself wishing things were maybe just a bit different. When I felt myself overwhelmed and in tears over an on-going situation that has really been very heart-breaking and difficult for Brad and me. When I found myself wanting to whine about being sick on Christmas, because who really wants to be sick on Christmas? When I started questioning if our dinner would be the same since we were eating on paper plates and I hadn't had the time or energy to set a proper table. Remembering the events of His birth were just what I needed to refocus my vision from what I wanted back to what God wanted. I wanted perfection, or at least something pretty close to it. He just wants my heart and my willingness to trust Him and serve Him.