A big thanks to those who responded to my last post and shared their similar frustrations or anxieties. It always helps to know you are not alone. My advent spirit has arrived in full force now; how could it not in a house with three little boys?
We went to two places that advertised a visit with Santa this weekend, before finally finding him at our third stop. Aidan told him, "Santa, we've been looking for you everywhere!" He had a lot to tell him, all about the alien chamber he's wishing for (and which I hope Santa has connections for because it seems to be sold out EVERYWHERE), and how we'll be at his grandmother's house this Christmas. Sean was a little shy, just in awe. I didn't get any good shots, but this blurry one captures the moment:
We watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer one night, and they've been singing it ever since.
Aidan picked Christmas in Noisy Village as our book on Friday night. Don't think you can read that one without getting into the Christmas spirit. Last night it was The Snowman, which doesn't have any text, so we took turns telling the story. Made my heart so happy.
Busy weekend. Aidan went to a friend's bowling birthday party--note to self, we need to take the boys bowling more. He loved it.
About 20 of us met at Zax for pizza and beer. 10 kids under age 8 at their own table = chaos. But it was a good, crazy kind of chaos. They all watched the light parade from the bed of Brian's truck (best view and best way to corral them!). Wish I had gotten a shot of their faces when Santa drove by in a fire truck at the end of the parade---but by then I was snuggling with Nolan and not willing to trade him for a camera.
I realized a couple things this week, lessons I am sure to relearn again and again this season. The cliche--inch by inch, life's a cinch; yard by yard, life is hard. If I pay attention just to what is in front of me, what I need to do today or just in this moment, it is always doable, enjoyable. I get overwhelmed when I imagine all that needs to be done, when I get ahead of myself. AND especially when I start worrying about other people's expectations. Have to let all that go.
More and more I realize that it is my job to create joy, an atmosphere of joy, for our sons. That is all they really want---to sense that we are happy, to have our attention, to tell us stories and play together. Simple things really.
I heard this prayer read today and it struck a chord. Especially that line about seeking "quiet spaces". Hope you enjoy it too.
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We, who have so much to do, seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!"
-Henri J.M. Nouwen