And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.
If you had asked me what the absolute worst time I could imagine to squeeze in a move to a new house could be I would have, without hesitation, said Christmas time. Need I list all the reasons?
I think not.
But here we are. In our new home. Just moved in with only days before Christmas morning arrives.
Call us crazy. We might be.
God has a way of stretching us when we least expect it and, more often than not, the stretching is accompanied by great blessing. In fact, sometimes it is because of great blessing.
We scaled down quite a bit in house size. That meant some extreme and brutal purging in the midst of buying Christmas gifts and decorating our new home. Talk about conflict. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you my brain is just plain tired. Don’t even ask about my body. But the process has been so good and sanctifying.
First of all, it spawned this little corner of the internet. My quest to simplify our life and to find contentment and inspiration in the everyday normal of life brought me here, to you. Second, I was convicted to the core about how much stuff we had accumulated. Stuff I had honestly forgotten I even owned and, obviously, did not need. I was determined to move only that which was needed and brought joy. That may or may not have traumatized our resident hoarders. (Ahem.)
We sold what we needed to sell and gave away the rest, which was a lot. Friends and Goodwill benefited greatly and we spent weeks moving one SUV-load after another to our new space. As Christmas neared, I spent two days putting up trees, the special decorations that speak “Christmas” to our family’s hearts, and dreaming of the first magical days in this house with a view. Horses grazing out front, hills and trees and sparkling ponds out back. A porch with a swinging bed where my daughter contentedly strums her ukulele and laughter echoing down the wooden stairs as the kids explore and discover their new favorite spots to land. Moving in with Christmas already in place has been so good and helpful for our transition. Having our traditions waiting was a gentle buffer to the stress a move brings. I am grateful for that.
And now I can look out my window and watch the sun rise over the hills, the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen and the eggnog-scented candle burning next to the sink. I sigh and thank God, once again, under my breath as I take in this beautiful and quiet moment on an Advent morning.
Christmas was waiting, here, for us, when we arrived. All that meant joy and Jesus in this season was prepared beforehand so that our arrival would be seamless. Home, with all of the trimmings and sparkle and tradition, was ready.
Though the original Advent took many by surprise (remember, there are 400 silent years between the Old and New Testaments) the reality is that the preparations had been underway for thousands of years. From the day Adam and Eve fell into sin, God had begun the countdown to the arrival of Jesus to redeem and restore mankind to intimacy with Him. The star was ready to shine. The manger was built. Mary was chosen and Joseph placed in to “such a time as this” before anyone in the world realized what was coming. God was moving and working behind the scenes, preparing Christmas for his Beloved.
For you and for me.
And as we arrive, one by one, in His Kingdom by faith don’t you imagine He rejoices as we cross that threshold of eternal life? Don’t you think it pleases His father-heart to no end when we gasp in wonder and realize what He has done for us, embracing the gift of Jesus and walking through the doors of eternity to begin life with and for Him? I do. Most definitely, I do. Our God is full of good gifts and lavishly loves us. He gives us beauty and feasting and music and laughter for us to enjoy, together, as a family. These holidays are just a foretaste of what is to come and, today, I am going to linger a little longer at the window and watch the wind blow through the horses’ manes as they graze. I am going to sip my coffee slowly and inhaled the sweetly scented candle as Christmas carols play softly in the background. And I’m going to thank God for leading me down this road to a more quiet and less cluttered life that frees me to be in the moment, fully, with the ones I love the most.
Merry Christmas, sweet friends. You are loved.