It’s December 18th and we still don’t have a Christmas tree up. Our front porch is covered in blankets for the dog, leaves that haven’t been swept off and an extension cord for the heat lamp. I haven’t purchased a single present, I haven’t sent out any cards and I couldn’t find our stockings if my life depended on it.

To say the little lights aren’t twinkling would be the understatement of the year!

But then I read this today :

If what it takes for you this year to be present in this sacred, thin place, to feel the breath and presence of a Holy God, is to forgo the cookies and the cards and the rushing and the lists, then we’ll be all right with cookies from the store and a few less gifts. It would be a great loss for you to miss this season, the soul of it, because you’re too busy pushing and rushing. And it would be a great loss if the people in your life receive your perfectly wrapped gifts, but not your love or your spirit. This is my prayer for us, that we would give and receive the most important gifts this season – the palpable presence of a Holy God, the kindness of well-chosen words, the generosity of spirit and soul. My prayer is that what you’ve lost, and what I’ve lost this year, will fade a little bit in the beauty of this season, that for a few moments at least, what is right and good and worth believing will outshine all the darkness, within us and around us. And I hope that someone who loves you gives you a really cute scarf. Merry Christmas {Shauna Niequist}

And then I cried.

My kids won’t remember the date we put the tree up. They won’t remember if the house is covered in little lights or not. They won’t care if each and every present is wrapped according to the latest Pinterest craze.
The busyness of Christmas has wrecked more moms than they would ever care to admit. The quest to have the tree up earlier and earlier, the perfectly mulled cider to accompany the brand new matching pj’s {have you ever tried to find matching pajamas for five kids? It’s just dumb} on Christmas eve, and the insane amount of guilt that comes with forgetting to move that dang creepy Elf.
I wish I could say that my reasons for not having a house that looks like Christmas threw up all over it were noble, but it’s genuinely because we haven’t had time.
But the reasons around not having time?

that is what my kids are going to remember

The late nights spent with Aunt’s and Uncles around the kitchen table listening to stories about when their dad was younger. Getting to have a sleep over with their “big brother” because mom and dad are in the hospital with their best friends. The Christmas choir practices at church that last longer than they should because the choir sounds amazing and we want to just keep singing. The last minute breakfasts with Santa where we show up as they are closing and have a rushed “tell me what you want little boy” visit.

The way they blend seamlessly with our ministry driven life.

I pray that these are the things they remember.

That these are the times that they are going to look back on and smile.

And this is what I’m seriously hoping buys me another 2 days before I have to find the last remaining tree in Creek Country that doesn’t look like it came from the Charlie Brown Christmas tree reject pile.