Diary of an Advent Season

It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart. It’s the welcome I receive with every start. Mumford and Sons, Roll Away Your Stone

Dear Diary,
First, I’m so sorry I haven’t written in you since eighth grade. After Mom read about the time we wrapped the neighborhood barber shop everyone was shocked about and grounded me until senior year, I learned it was better to speak about my feelings instead.
But my therapist didn’t have any appointments open until March on account of all the families getting together after this election period so here I am.
Let’s talk about Advent.
Rounding out a long year with this slow, sweet season of anticipation feels like the deepest fresh air to a pair of flagging lungs.
The truth is?
The month of December is the dang opposite of slow. My languid stroll beginning all the way in Genesis with the prophecy of Christ’s birth becomes an awkward drunk-monkey jog of shame with every missed pajama day, second grade musical I was the only mother who didn’t attend, or kid I forgot to feed.
And sometimes I feel like I’m being graded. It’s no one’s fault really. It’s those not-turned around numbers of all the dates we skipped that make me feel like there’s some sort of score at the end.
Nobody likes red marks on their paper.
In school, I use to peel one corner of my graded paper up painfully slowly dreading the number representing my best effort. If it was not good, it always crushed me a little seeing the glaring holes in my lack marked with a red pen.
And if it were really good?
I would cough to get everyone’s attention while pretending I didn’t know they were looking.
So here we go. But I’m not coughing.

Day 1: fullsizerender

Day 2:fullsizerender

Busted out the stink eye at two kids giggling while Dad prayed a beautiful prayer.
Day 3:fullsizerender
Day 4: fullsizerender

Straight up forgot.

Day 5: fullsizerender

Note to self: set alarm for Advent.
Day 6: fullsizerender

We read and we talked and we all prayed and for the first time not one kid pressed the activity to go along with the reading and no parent reminded them to press us and this became the new pattern of our Advent.
Day 7:fullsizerender
Day 8: fullsizerender
Day 9: fullsizerender

The youngest fell asleep during the lesson.
Day 10: fullsizerender

Secretly worried about the apparent lack of old and new Testament Bible knowledge in those kids.
Day 11: fullsizerender
Day 12: fullsizerender

Husband and I disgusted with the behavior of our precious ones for the day and purposefully forgot to call them to gather ‘round and everyone went to bed early instead.
Day 12: fullsizerender

Short Advent coupled with a longer speech about entitlement.
Day 13: fullsizerender
Day 14:fullsizerender
Day 15:fullsizerender
Day 16: fullsizerender

The school nurse called with news that destroyed our day.
Day 17: fullsizerender

Date Night!
Day 18:fullsizerender

I had a party and made sure I returned after the kids were in bed.
Day 19: fullsizerender

Said something to Gavin after school about Advent tonight and he to me as drily as any fourteen year old, ‘We haven’t done it in a week.’ To which I replied snap-quick, ‘It’s been more like three days and we still love Jesus and He loves us and it’s all good so…So.’ And we both laughed and we did our Advent and the kids would hardly sit still and I chewed on all of them at least four times apiece and everyone of us prayed and I got teary under the weight of gratitude for the opportunity.
Day 20: fullsizerender

We gathered and ate with our neighborfriends and went to see Christmas lights. On the way home we took in the mountains in the distance dotted with lights and I reminded the kids about what Matthew said about a city on a hill and the Light of the world.

Diary, I will forget again tomorrow and for sure later today…but for this hour?
I get it.
Why would I expect the month of December to be different than all the days of my life?
I entered this season with a Jello-ish firm remembering that those red marks we consider as stains are why we even attempt at the celebration.

And so we skip and stumble and praise and grumble and we say our prayers and we curse with the same-kissing mouth and we throw our praise-hands up and also because we have had it up to here and we repeat ad infinitum.
And yet…
We keep walking.
This particular season, I’m pretty sure I’ve never been more disrupted or rotten to my core and also cried more tears in wonder at the gift of a savior who would submit Himself as a Holy helpless infant.
And this terrible beauty?
This is what it means to be alive.

Merry Christmas, you beautiful humans.

All is grace.

And so it goes. Frequently not on top, in control, or as the Irish say, “in fine form.” This is part of our poverty as human beings. When we have self-acceptance without self-concern we simply express reality. To be human is to be poor. Our impoverished spirit gives us pause before deciding to become tyrants to ourselves.
~Brennan Manning, Ragamuffin Gospel


Thank you for being see-through honest, the giggles and the #hashtaggoals, Leslie:


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  1. Heather | 22nd Dec 16

    Great post Melissa! The reality of building the love! Love you guys, Heather

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