There are a lot of smells I'd enjoy waking up to on Christmas morning. Cinnamon rolls baking, bacon frying, a spicy candle burning. I'd have taken any of those gladly. The smell that we actually did wake up to yesterday was the alarming, permeating smell of extra strength Desitin (diaper cream). With a sinking feeling my husband and I entered my 2 year old son's room to find it (and him) freshly painted in thick, goopy white. Not what I had in mind for a white Christmas. The wool area rug got the worst of it. What was I thinking putting a wool rug in a kid's room? I don't know. Form over function? Or maybe I just didn't know we'd be raising a little diaper cream dabbling Jackson Pollock. My husband and I (mostly my husband) spent the next 4 hours of Christmas morning first trying to remove all the cream from the carpet (straight dish detergent, the internet told me, to break down the oils and remove the stains), and THEN to remove all the dish detergent with hot water and a lot of scrubbing to get it all out of the woolen fibers, a task which left my husband's hands looking like he had gotten in a fist fight with a cactus. And lost.
When we all sat down to our Christmas breakfast turned lunch at 12:30, I wish I could say I was in a good place, spiritually and emotionally. But I was feeling irritable and hangry (that's hungry + angry), and not at all like giving anybody anything--let alone gifts or good food. We'd had good things planned for the day--a sweet family time around our Advent wreath, reading the account of Christ's birth from the Bible, Skyping with far-off family, opening gifts, special meals we'd talked about and bought food for. All out the window, or severely delayed, and I was upset. It didn't seem right that we should have to spend Christmas morning on our hands and knees instead of in lighthearted revelry. Right?
There are a lot of parents, at least 20 in Connecticut alone, that would have spent their last dollar yesterday to be cleaning up a mess their child made on Christmas morning. And millions of families around the world without floors made of something other than dirt, let alone area rugs. Mothers wishing for children. Seniors in nursing homes wishing for just one visitor. Families separated by brokenness and violence of all kinds.
The Son of God had the most humble birth imaginable. Before He was even born He was rejected, from every room at every inn. Immanuel was born among smelly animals, was marveled at by smelly shepherds, was born to young, scared parents. Because of His birth and the jealousy of Herod a generation of young boys was slaughtered. And Jesus Himself eventually died in the most humiliating and excruciating way imaginable for a people that hated Him. He died so that a sinful, grumbling mother on Christmas morning could be restored to fellowship with her family and her God.
Praying before our belated meal, God brought these things to my mind. Spending the morning on our knees was not only what we deserved, it's a lot better than we deserve on any given day. We sat at a full table, sinners all, and asked God's forgiveness, and thanked Him for coming. I was able to do it with more depth of feeling and conviction than I would have had we awoken to peace and pleasantness. We needed Christ to come. I need Him. Because left to my own devices, I'm a pretty ugly person at the slightest inconvenience to my person. And the 3 fans that have been running incessantly in the direction of a rug since yesterday morning sing of it with every whirl.
The rest of our Christmas day was wonderful. God was merciful to us, we did end up getting to do almost everything we had planned, all the new recipes I tried turned out well, and when we tucked the kids into bed an hour after their usual time last night, the good had far outweighed the bad. When I wrote my post on our Christmas traditions way back in October, I had no idea just how true this statement would be this year: "When my kids see that mommy and daddy are joyfully giving them good things even though they've disobeyed over and over...that has the potential to be a picture of the gospel." Not just true for my kids, but for me as well. How kind our Savior.
|Sticky Buns (Fanny Famer Baking Book)|
|Frittata with sausage, broccoli, peppers, onions, and cheddar|
|Cornish Hens Stuffed with Wild Rice Pilaf|