My parents began the tradition of gingerbread making as a means of a competition among families each Christmas. The creative side of me begged to break out of the mundane creativity found in the kit from the grocery store. So we ventured...to the grocery store to purchase all the candy we never normally purchase plus graham crackers and frosting. One son, who hates to break with tradition, fought this crazy idea yet his eyes sparkled with the idea of all this candy while I threw in the "it's not an option" authority card, I wanted this.
Lest you look at these photos and think I have it all together, on the contrary. For years, every time I hear the word Advent, I sigh thinking of all the "should haves." I so desire to make this time of year a special one, bathed in amazing moments of understanding all that this time holds. Each year I think, this will be the year we get it, our kids get it, the real meaning of Christmas. This will be the year they look back on as being the year they fell in love with the saving work of Jesus and giving rather than receiving. I even have the Ann Voskamp Jesse tree devotional. I've had it printed for a year now, encased in a binder. So, this year I did it, began reading the devotionals, asking the questions of what it would look like to bless others, practically, and after a busy day, began our own tradition of making gingerbread houses or rather a village. A walkable community complete with a public toilet, ice rink, homes, and a work/live unit created by the architect in my husband. The end result was beautiful meaningful conversation about a homeless man we met that day and what we would do about it, Christmas music, laughter, appreciating how each person's talents or cares came out in their creation. Exhausted and happy, I turned out the lights before bed and smiled. So thankful that this big beautiful God is gracious, merciful, loving. That he took my desires and gave us the time and energy to complete it. So thankful that this was or will be the year when we learn something different than what I planned. That in my meager offering lies a God who is full of filling in where I fail. So thankful.