On Holiday Traditions

We ate by candlelight, pepperoni pizza glowing in the orange light of a flickering flame. It was poetry, with a little sausage on the side.

My husband read from the Jesus Storybook Bible and I listened, but I can’t say for certain that the children did. They were busy staring at the fire that had sprouted from wax.

Each night after our story, we open a box with a treat, a little advent calendar that always stays a day ahead because the three year old doesn’t understand taking turns and wants to open his box when his big brother does.

There’s a fire in the fireplace, a giant dog asleep next to it, a tabby cat asleep on my bed, twinkle lights on the tree and a weird smell in my toddler’s bedroom that we just can’t find the source of. It’s Christmas time. We’re embracing traditions, reading daily devotions and opening our advent calendar with religious fervor. We’ve a gingerbread house that has a guy flying out of the window, because the 5 year old was the art director for that project.

It would be easy to say that everything is holly and mistletoe, but to be honest there’s more coughing and crying than anything. Tonight I helped my 3 year old decorate a stocking for Jesus and I really don’t even know what that means, but I’m rolling with it. We used glitter and pipe cleaners and tissue paper and it’s a glorious mess. Just like our house, just like our advent dinners, just like all of us.

It seems fitting to fling glitter and wipe noses, to eat pizza by candlelight, to make our messes beautiful. After all, this is the Season where He came down and lifted us up, taking our ugly mess and made it glorious.

And maybe you’re more pepperoni pizza than candlelight, more sneezes than sugar plums, but that’s the whole point. We need Him. He is what makes things lovely, He is the Light of the World, He is the King come Down, He is Emmanuel, God with Us.

You can find our reading plan for Advent by clicking here.

7 thoughts on “On Holiday Traditions

  1. Oh, how I love this in all its transparency. I posted on FB today how I about lost my salvation doing the day four ornament with Truth in the Tinsel. But we're plugging away – and that Jesus Storybook Bible – we just got it and I am loving it. (ps – not sure theologically where I stand on losing salvation, haha -just fyi)


  2. I LOVE the frown on the gingerbread man! 🙂 As I've told you before, reading your blog brings back memories of raising my own babies. There were days when I thought I'd pull my hair out, but the best is yet to come. There's nothing I enjoy more now than sitting around with my adult children and listening to them happily recalling our holiday doings and traditions. I felt just like you in the midst of it when they were little, yet it's so satisfying to listen to them now, and hear how their memories glow. Whether you feel it or not, you have made, and are making, a happy home.


  3. This kind of writing is my favorite kind. It fills my mama soul with encouragement and keeps it real. We are all a glittery mess, some with a little more glitter strewn around (waving hand wildly) than we'd like.


  4. SOOOOO WITH YOU. I keep trying to clean it up…and by 'it' I mean this whole mess of humanity…but then the big He keeps showing up at the very messiest, least sterile times. Fascinating. He ain't got much time for facade it seems…
    LOVE YOU FRIEND. So wish I could eat pizza with you and your family. I have a feeling our kids would get along just fine.


  5. Messy is the best . Sometimes it's hard to see in the midst of it , but it is.
    And you know it still gets messy here. A lot. In many ways. There's freedom in that. Grace offered and received.



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