Merry Christmas!

An early Merry Christmas to you! I'm signing off for a few weeks. I had all kinds of holiday things I wanted to talk to you about, but life is even busier than usual, and something has to give.

In church yesterday our pastor told a story about a wealthy European family who had a lavish party at their home to celebrate their child's baptism. Guests were wined and dined, and when it came time for the actual christening ceremony, no one could find the baby! The baby, it turns out, was fast asleep underneath a pile of the guests' coats on an upstairs bed.

The moral, of course, was that the object of the baptism--the baby!--was lost in all the celebration.

Every advent, I try to pare it down so that I, too, am not asking myself, "Where's the baby?" We've all seen the "Jesus is the reason for the season" bumper stickers and paraphernalia, but I think with the many Christmas-related cultural expectations that seem to increase each year, this is very hard to actually put into practice.

I adored this post: Christmas Guidance for Moms. I especially loved the part about guarding our hearts and homes, and being the thoughtful filter for our families. And this: "We don't have to bake and craft and go to parties every day, maybe just once the entire month." Thank you! Sometimes I suffer from holiday FOMO if I can't watch a certain Christmas movie, or don't feel I've baked enough (which I usually can't stand to do anyway), or if I have to turn a party down for some reason.

Last week Nick was out of town for a full five days. I went into the week cautiously optimistic, although Sunday night before we went to sleep I distinctly remember saying to him these exact words: "I hope nothing bad happens this week." And guess what happened as soon as I stepped foot out of bed the next morning? Broken boiler, leaving us with no heat in the cold, cold house. Broken cell phone. And a day later I came down with the most bizarre, fast and furious virus which thankfully no one else got.

We survived the week (thanks to my angel mother, sister, and neighbor), but just barely. And add to daily life of running a household and caring for two small children all the can feel like too much. I don't want it to feel like too much.

I leave you with some photos that the wonderful and talented Michael Zorn took for us this fall. I plan on simplifying as much as possible in the upcoming weeks so I can focus on these precious blessings and teach them, through my actions, what this season is actually about.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

--Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas!

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