Merry Christmas Eve Morning!  I’m guessing if you’re reading this either you’re ahead of the game with ALL OF THE THINGS done and the Hallelujah Chorus playing on Spotify, candles lit, and presents perfect, or you’re hiding in the bathroom binging on Christmas cookies, reading this and pretending you don’t hear your kids fighting outside the door.

For us it has been a delightful week of having both our daughters in town with lots of hugs, and catching up, laughter, and a Christmas before Christmas brunch with Maggie who headed to Texas yesterday to be with her husband and in-laws.


But lest you picture our lives as a Norman Rockwell painting, let me just share a few other snapshots.

In MN one thing we do really well is SNOW.  We may complain about winters that are 6 months long, but we love it that Christmas always looks like “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

This year though, somehow Thanksgiving looked like Christmas, and Christmas is looking more like, well, I don’t know what.  The snow has melted, and the lakes are slush.  Merry Christmas to us!  IMG_8964

And in the category of gifts gone wrong (terribly wrong) this is what happened to my dream of making cute little loaves of cranberry orange bread in festive cardboard loaf boxes to give to friends. #christmasfailIMG_8957

And then there was the snack mix that I made and had wrapped up in a festive kitchen towel ready to give away, only to awaken to the grim reality that we had a tiny guest who thought it was for him (or her, as the case may be). #christmasfail#2IMG_6763-2In spite of these minor glitches, we’ve been able to laugh and celebrate Immanuel, God with us.

Many of you are facing serious challenges this Advent.  As I pray about these in our lives and in the lives of close friends and family I think again of a quote that has been bouncing around in my head for the past few months.

“Everything is necessary that God sends. Nothing can be necessary that he withholds.” – John Newton

Jesus was the necessary gift that God sent.  The only gift we need. #nofail.

Immanuel, God with us, in the stress, in the silliness, in the strain, and pain, and sacred and silent.  Merry Christmas!