12.23.2015

o come o come emmanuel



I've been in the trenches of motherhood lately. A growth spurt and teething and upset tummies hit all at once and destroyed my life. A formerly happy baby who now screams when she's not being held makes for very difficult days when there are presents to wrap and cookies to bake and basic chores that need to be done. I know that parenting is often about picking your battles, and sometimes that means picking no battles and just holding your baby until the storm has passed. It means staying up late after the baby's asleep to get things done and to paint your nails a sparkly red during nap time instead of cleaning or laundry or dishes or baking all in the name of survival. It means watching The Holiday twice in two days because something about it is so comforting, and keeping the constant flow of sweet potato puffs and applesauce and bananas and veggies and milk and turkey flowing as fast as possible to keep up with a growing baby. It's in the 60s and it feels like the world collectively decided to celebrate Christmas in April instead of December. There is a severe thunderstorm warning, everything is off-balance and wonky, and the cookies taste a little different than they did last year. Christmas cards never made it out to anyone but the grandparents, and sometimes you cry twice by 8 am and realize at lunch time that your shirt has been inside out all morning.

But we're pulling through to the other side. Slowly but surely. This horrible week has felt like such a true picture of Advent. I didn't grow up celebrating the idea of Advent. I feel like it's something that really took hold in modern culture only recently. But lately, I understand it so much more. It's helped me internalize the real meaning of Christmas so much more. The weariness, the strife, the tears, the hope of future glory. As Gracie started to slip back into her old self and the stress and frustration started to lift and I could breathe, I realized this is it. This is what Christmas is about. It's about weary hearts rejoicing. It's the thrill of hope that our Savior came and is coming again. After giving birth, I understand so much more of what Mary must have gone through. The excruciating pain and discomfort mixed with pure joy. Life doesn't stop being painful at Christmas, but that doesn't mean we can't rejoice in our Lord's coming, and also in the sugar cookies.

Our world is fallen and it's broken. Things aren't as they should be. But this world isn't our home, and one day all things will be made right. Emmanuel is coming.

Merry Christmas, my dear friends and family.

14 comments:

  1. Amen! I hope you have a lovely Christmas with your family (and that the teething passes quickly)!

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  2. You have no idea how much this resonates with me. Thank you.

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  3. This is beautiful. I miss your cozy little house!

    Merry Christmas, Bellamy clan!!! <3 <3

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  4. This is so beautiful. You have described my sentiments exactly this Christmas. It has been a rough one for us too- with Shorty being injured and dealing with sickness.
    I just started to understand Advent myself this Christmas season. We have a devotional by Ann Voskamp that is wonderful. We didn't keep up with it like I wished we could have but it really sets the Advent mood.
    Love you, my friend. Have a Merry Christmas!

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    1. Are you talking about Unwrapping the Greatest Gift? We are reading it with our kids, and it's fabulous.

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    2. Aw Jo, I'm so sorry you're having a rough Christmas. A sick pet is the saddest thing! I hope Shorty is doing better. I've heard so many great things about that devotional!

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  5. Yes. I wouldn't have gotten cards out or done any baking if Josh hadn't had a few days off and my grandparents didn't live two blocks over. Sometimes snuggles, Netflix, and naps all day is just the way to go to keep you're sanity ;) and advent is such a lovely thing. They celebrated it at the Lutheran school I went to when I was in elementary. It was so exciting to finally light the pink candle ;) but yes I can understand it so much better especially with a baby. Time to rest and remember what it's all about. Emmanuel IS coming!

    And oh my word, poor Mary. Can you even imagine riding a donkey 9 months pregnant? No epidurals? In a barn? Makes her obedience and willingness so much more impactful.

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    1. I love the whole concept of Advent. It's just not something I was ever really taught, but I want to teach it to my kids. I am in awe of Mary. Birth itself is so difficult and painful in the relative comforts of a hospital, but in a barn?? She's incredible.

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  6. This is beautiful. Just beautiful. Love you lots, my fabulous friend!

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  7. Merry Christmas to your family! I really want celebrating advent to be something we do with our kids. I love what it represents.

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  8. yes yes yes! this is good stuff, mama.
    may we cling tightly to these truths all the year long.
    love to you!

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  9. "Life doesn't stop being painful at Christmas, but that doesn't mean we can't rejoice in our Lord's coming"

    That sums up how the holiday season felt for me this year. With the passing of my grandma and suffering a miscarriage earlier this year, it hasn't been an easy one. We sang this hymn in church on Christmas eve and it was a beautiful reminder of the joy that is awaiting us!

    "Ponder again what glory then the Lord will give you for your earthly sadness.
    The angel host can never boast of greater glory, greater bliss or gladness!"

    I hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas. :)

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  10. " It's the thrill of hope that our Savior came and is coming again. After giving birth, I understand so much more of what Mary must have gone through." I love this. I love all of this! Merry Christmas friend!

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