it's a wonderful life of limits...

so Christmas eve we decided to right a wrong in the world. the wrong was that our children had NEVER seen “it’s a wonderful life”. so we all watched it together...

we realized they hadn’t seen the movie when adam made this little gift video for me from our favorite site in the world... jib jab (where we also star in HSM3). anyway, the kids had no idea what movie that was from... and that was so WRONG. because i fell in love with adam when he told me that “it’s a wonderful life” was his favorite movie and that he wanted to be just like george bailey. and i think in a lot of ways he is exactly like george bailey (especially when he looks around and asks why we had to have all these children anyway).

and it was really cool to watch that last scene when he reads the note from clarence “remember that no man is a failure who has friends” and glance to the left side of the tv and see so many cards from so many friends.

of course, i did watch the movie after reading this little essay about how all the Christmas movies we watch actually distort the REAL meaning of Christmas....

i spent a lot of time this season thinking about how EVERY thing i do at Christmas is almost exactly the opposite of what i should be doing (so typical of my life here on earth)... some examples of this...

* encouraging my kids to be “good enough” to get gifts, when the point of Christmas is that no one is “good enough” and that was why grace came to us a a gift we did not deserve, a gift we could not earn. so this year, we downplayed the santa thing a lot (though we have not totally abandoned the jolly old elf.)

* decorating my home to be all festive and lovely, when Christ comes not to decorate but to transform. He left the most beautiful place of all to come to a stinkin’ stable. He left perfection to come to our imperfection and to change us from the inside out. not to put some gift wrap and a bow on our ugliness. Christ came to a gritty, real, full of life and dirt place as His entry into our world. He still comes to our darkest and dirtiest and stinkin’ to high heaven, real life places. we simplified our decor this year (though the 5 foot tree was a “surprise” downsizing) and hand made a lot of our gifts to each other. our traditions were less about the season and more about showing in our home and our lives the REAL reason that we celebrate- we have been given a do-over at life, a new way to live, a purpose to this madness, salvation in the real places where we live and love and stink. we toned down a lot of gifts to friends, families and neighbors too. and that was okay. i am not what i give to others materially and i cannot buy their love or acceptance. though you can buy mine by sending me things (NO NO NO, that is so wrong of me to type...)

* i buy buy buy because i know deep inside that what i really need cannot be bought with any price. i would rather buy something for my kids than spend a night playing a game with them and have to push aside my agenda for “my time”. again, we had a lot more handmade gifts and lot more family time this year. my kids are now really good at several card games and we might take rosie to vegas because she is sort of a card counter (not really an eternal virtue, but an interesting one). and for my family this year instead of gifts to all the brothers and sisters, we are going out to dinner together tonight. just my dad and all my siblings and spouses. this year we realized that it isn’t the STUFF we give, it is the time, the love, the being together in good times and bad. we had some hard times that we went through this year with my mom’s stroke and all the time we spent together in the hospital and the hospice house. and we need a night together to reminisce and to remember that we are a family, we are friends, we are in this life together because that is how God arranged it. and He knows best.

* i spend spend spend on things that are fleeting because to get what we really need is way too costly... my life, my will, my own little agenda given to Him for His glory alone. but that is the only way to true peace and joy and i keep holding back because i think i might have a better plan. i think that i am finally getting “over” myself in some small ways, or at least becoming more aware of how filled i am with myself and not with God. i hope that is a first step of moving my old self to second place....

* i eat eat eat all the yummy treats to fill up a hole that is caused by not being hungry enough for what really satisfies, every Word that comes from Him. okay, so i still ate ate ate all holiday season long. and i cooked cooked cooked a lot too. well, i am not perfect yet....

yes, that is what i was thinking about this Christmas. and what i was trying to do differently when i wasn’t shopping, decorating, eating, addressing cards, wrapping gifts, and all the thousands of other things that keep me from doing what i really need to be doing.

sitting at His feet.

i think that if i rewrote the greek myth story of pandora (not that the greeks are contacting me about rewriting any of their myths, but IF they did), i would rewrite it that when she opened that box a million things would fly out... not evil things, but good things, just a million good things that i do that aren’t the BEST thing. pandemonium ensues (hmmm, is that where the word came from? pandora= pandemonium?) in my life daily. the hundreds of good things that i choose to let fly out of the box i open everyday, the box called called time. and left all alone in the bottom of the box... self-control, saying no, moderation, limitation. 

on my Christmas card, i have been putting every year the WORD for the next year... a goal for my life

in 2006, it was LESS. (less of me, more of Him and less stuff in our lives)
2007- LOVE (do everything out of love, make sure love is the reason for everything i do)
2008- LITTLE (do the little things, make the little sacrifices)
2009- EDIT, but in going with the same letter theme, it should have been LIMIT. (yeah, i know i thought of that RIGHT after the cards were printed, but because of a LIMITED budget, i didn’t reprint them.)
so 2009 is the year of LIMIT for me...

applying limits to my budget, limits to my time, limits to my caloric intake, limits to my life. finding the freedom that exists only when we live in the limits of what God has called us to do.

has He called me to be a blogger? i don’t know. but i intend to pray about it and see what He says about that. 

i do want to leave you with my favorite photo and actual corresponding quote from this Christmas...

Transient

so before you start to wonder about our religious beliefs with 2 baby jesuses (what is the plural of jesus?), i will explain...

my kids are starting on making their own nativity scenes out of sculpey clay. this year we did mary and baby Jesus (see i was trying to limit instead of driving myself crazy with them making EVERY thing at once). next year, we will add on joseph and an angel and every year a few more players. until finally we have all of bethlehem covered in scupley goodness.

well, rosie’s mary had a little accident and her arm needed to be glued back on. rosie’s mary was in the playroom waiting for mom to get out the glue gun (which turned out to be a couple of days wait because i had to make sure mary’s insurance plan covered the surgery AND i had to locate the glue gun). so rosie took her baby Jesus in his manger to millie’s mary and said...

“millie, can your mary babysit my Jesus while my mary is gone?”

and millie’s mary was happy to oblige. that made me so happy every time i walked by and saw mary and those two babies. i think God might have smiled too at that little vignette. God in flesh, dwelling amongst us and needing to be babysat. the One who made the heavens and earth needing someone to change His diapers. it is too preposterous to not be true. too wonderfully fraught with meaning to not change our very lives from the core...