Do you see the picture above? I took this picture two days ago. Notice that there is only one candle that’s been lit and burned. For those of you who celebrate Advent with the tradition of lighting candles to signify certain meanings for each week that precedes Christmas you’ll notice I’m a bit behind…
So why, then, do I feel the need to publicly share my epic failure to invoke a new tradition into our family Christmas time?
Because I’m a Type A personality.
I know this comes as a news flash for some of you yet with an eye roll from others so let me enlighten you further. Here’s a great description from Wikipedia regarding Type A personalities:
“The theory describes “Type A” individuals as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.”
My response to this description? Yes. I concur.
Now this might sound a little bit prideful but I can honestly say that I’ve always enjoyed being a Type A personality. I get a sense of satisfaction over feeling I have it altogether. I’m orderly. Timely. And for the most part I can take whatever you give me and manage to come out way better than even I would’ve expected on the other side.
You guys, pride is a funny thing. And I don’t mean funny ha-ha. I knew that if I didn’t choose to humble myself at some point, God was going to do it for me.
Well, I never got around to it so you can probably guess what happened.
I made a plan for myself this year that I would incorporate new traditions into our family. I would structure Christmas a little differently this year. I would manage our time more wisely to make certain we get the most out of our holiday season.
The only thing wrong here is that it sounds like I’m putting together a project plan to implement a new process at the office. Perfectly acceptable for work – not so for Advent.
Yes, I was prepared to take our Christmas season and stuff it with impersonal, time-boxed deadlines, rushed traditions, forced pictures for
scrapbooks photo books – to try and live up to all the other Type A personalities out there doing the exact same thing.
Yet, like so many other surprises I’ve unwrapped this year, I’m fairly certain God took note of my I-hope-you-don’t-notice-what-I’m-doing-down-here attitude, and responded with a resounding “Oh, no you don’t!”
I believe it was at precisely that moment the inevitable happened: Children got sick. Laundry fell behind. Errands were forgotten. Christmas presents got lost in some seriously great hiding places. And I began to weigh and measure each and every item on my list to determine what was more important.
Was it about lighting a candle with every devotion or talking to my kids about their day? Cramming in some deep, spiritual discussion right after dinner or holding them close while helping them read a book?
Don’t get me wrong, all of those things I needed to set aside are good things. Great things, even. But God’s had a different lesson for me this Christmas…
As I reflect on what has happened in the first half of this month, I am taking note of my surroundings.
I see prayers being answered.
I feel hearts continuing to change.
I witness people that I love coming to Christ.
I discern the voice of the Holy Spirit showing me who I can bless this year and how.
I experience moments of sitting with my children and talking about third world poverty.
I notice our household slowing down to engage the youngest as she expands her vocabulary.
I receive more snuggles under piles of comfy blankets.
I learn how to embrace the moments of sitting by the edge of the well and listening to Jesus tell me everything I already knew about myself and just didn’t want to admit. That it’s okay to slow down and be late. It’s okay to let the routine fall to the wayside. It’s okay to live in the moment instead of living for the next one.
Jesus has never been as hard on me as I have on myself. And He certainly hasn’t given me some crazy list of expectations for Advent. He just wants me to know Who He is. He wants me to show my kids Who He is. Stories and traditions are fun and important – but it’s about so much more than that. So. Much. More…
I’m joining the following writers for these link-ups today: