Mary, a GOOD GIRL, making a trek to Jerusalem for a census when she is about to pop with no hotel reservation (I mean, can a girl pull the "I'm carrying the Saviour of Eternity aboard my body and my water just broke" card?) because she is such an obedient, rule-following girl, experienced the first kind of Christmas anxiety where a
Yet, I am determined and set on JOY this year not to fret about hiding the cables of the TV that I have failed to hide behind my antique vanity in an effort to let go of the catalog kind of Christmas. To forget that there is no requirement to have the big tree up by any certain date. There is all of the Christmas shopping to do yet, but I will not let Christmas performance be the force behind my heart this year.
Did you even notice the ugliness of our TV antenna amongst the first vignette or did you overlook it? Truthfully, before today, I tried to set up a photo session for this very blog post where I unplugged the antenna, Xbox, and TV to hide my crazy in an attempt to stage my creative mantel to its full glory. The real glory is in the fact that imperfection shows our incompleteness made perfect by Christ alone. Give yourself some mercy this Christmas.
Don't feel like you have to follow decorating rules. I don't have the time nor cash that I want to spare for finding the perfect buffalo plaid fabric to make a no-sew runner this Christmas, so I took the shirt off my back and sort of arranged it so I could make a bed for a few ornaments and a the best oatmeal cookie candle ever. My family photos are there reminding us of our sweet memories more than it is covering the wires.
I used to love driving to model homes and admiring their homey feel, but they are fantasy. Despite their collected over time feel, they are sterile. They are static. They are not real.
Model homes can't compare to the beauty we have in our home, nor do they compare to the brawn. We LIVE here. Can you believe the audacity? I mean, there are rules to follow!!! Why are there kings missing from this chess board and pawns that are still in their starting places? Because two growing boys live here.
And so does this kitty named Crockie who my husband picked up from the pound fifteen years ago when we were just dating.
Then there is the crazy ball that our yellow lab Sparks lugs around in circles while we pretend to chase him until he drops it like it's hot for a nap.
This is the REAL Foster house during Christmastime. And don't get me wrong, I itch a little for the big tree to be already in place. The graphic designer in me wants to perfectly align each line of this Christmas carol on the chalkboard, but the thing that really matters is the HEART behind that chalkboard.
I knew if I were doing it my way, I'd spend 14 hours finding the perfect way to arrange the text in the perfect fonts and blow up a poster size version of a design I created in Photoshop to transfer onto this chalkboard, but my heart said not this year. We are shedding that perfectionist desire this time. This decision blessed me. I chose a Christmas carol I had rarely sung and haven't seen on any Pinterest boards or in any magazines, and as a result, I had an encounter with the words instead of the design. REMEMBER Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas Day to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray.
And how about just the opening words: GOD REST ye.
Rest: cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
As a girl who wants to get it all right, who wants to relax after it's perfect, I lay down my need to earn my own affection at my Saviour's feet because Christmas is real. The chaos of Christmas and the need for Jesus to bridge the gap- real. The need for a reminder that my life is to be lived on purpose and not for performance- timely.
After a hard loss at a white elephant gift exchange where my prized Charlie Brown Christmas tree I chose was stolen twice, a friend with a heart took pity on the default of fish bait I received that was gagging my throat and mind. He gave me the Charlie Brown Christmas tree. Now this tree sits as a reminder of the monologue where Linus perfectly tells the true meaning of Christmas. Linus was my Papa's name. In the house he built with his own hands in the middle of the Piney Woods of East Texas, I would spend my Christmastime there looking at a Little Golden Book of Christmas carols with my Nana singing me the melody's so I could learn- the very one's hanging in the background of this antique door.
And just as I am typing about this, my youngest came downstairs and declared he wanted to sing Christmas carols, and went straight to the door and is singing his best attempts right now. I had to sneak up and snap a pic without him knowing or he would have stopped.
And as he sings his ragamuffin version of Silent Night (during which he pauses to let me know he is making up his own rhythm because he can't follow the real one), I realize this Christmas chaos is just right. It's this time with my family, friends, and Jesus that makes this season a joy. It's vocal rehearsal with friends tonight to prepare to share Christmas at candlelight services while my husband rehearses with a flash mob that invites disgruntled shoppers to our church. It's finding purpose in serving the poor rather than filling the Christmas tree skirt with perfectly wrapped presents, singing perfect notes, decorating perfect, cooking the epic meal, and beating last year's performance.
Keep up, Honey!