Sunday, December 11, 2011

What if Christmas is really dress rehearsal?


Christmas seemed new last year. It pummeled my heart and everything started to change. I felt all discombobulated and twitchy, it was exciting and uncertain. I felt like an odd ball and I didn't really give a rip. I pulled on a new understanding of what Christmas really is, what it was meant to be all along.

This year, I didn't have to dig it out of the closet with the tree and the stockings. I kind of already had it on. I still wiggle my shoulders around in it, it doesn't all make sense yet and I still wonder about things, but I know for sure that this depth, the happy heartache of the season, all of the contemplating and the giving and the gratitude, its shelf-life is longer than a month.


Still, we celebrate. We throw some bling around and dip almost everything in chocolate. This year, I look at this party as practice. We take this month and we deck the halls and I hope that when the little eyes in my house look around, when I look around, we all see reminders of truth and hope and joy. We see a world that needs us and a Baby that saved us.


Our party looks different and I hope it looks different all over again in a year. I hope my heart continues to melt and mold and I hope the way I live and the way I love always reflect my journey.


So, this is Christmas. 2011.

We're here in the rental. Nothing matches. We're a little tight, way too beige.


Still, to my left sits a young man with a cracked tooth and a broken hand. He's telling me about how God found him in the hole at the county jail, how for 30 days of solitude and cinder-block, he came face-to-face with the only One who could ever give him peace.

He's here with us for a week, maybe more. And so I'll cook for him and listen, help him with laundry. I'll learn from him.


If I feel compelled to give during this season, let me be compelled further in January, and April.


Amid the twinkle and the glitter, all the wonder and the achy heartbeat of understanding that a tiny Baby came to save us, I can recondition my heart for everyday, garden variety, changes-everything love.


I can keep wearing it, just never take it off. Shift my shoulders inside this truth and get cozy in it. I hope it fits even better after another year of practice.

35 comments:

  1. Such a beautifully written post, Shannan. You've left nothing more to say...

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  2. I'm finding every day that the truth seems truer than the day before. The gifts pour in, and they are not wrapped in brown paper and tied with string. They are delivered in the every day, and most of the time they are given, and not received.

    God sure can change the lense and remeove the rose tint in a way that makes things clearer and brighter and invites me to see things His way.

    Love that Siley boy pic.

    xxoo

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  3. Shannon,
    Most days I need help with my laundry too. And while I don't have a broken hand or chipped tooth, I've been in my own kind of jail. We're all the same on the inside. Thanks for seeing this truth. I will leave here thinking about reconditioning my hearth this evening.
    A lady in a bungalow in the depths of Northern Canada likes you,
    Dana

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  4. Oh girl THIS is what Christmas is all about. Love the man brought out of the pit. Bless his socks off and you too will be blessed in the process.

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  5. hands and feet. hands and feet. you are HIS hands and feet. to me. to them. to the young man sitting next to you.

    your pictures are stunning. your silas is beaming. your heart is beautiful.

    xoxo.

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  6. Merry Christmas Shan.
    I can't get our tree up this year.
    I keep wondering what is wrong with me. I don't know.
    : (
    I feel sad for the children getting no gifts. I feel sad that it is even about gifts.

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  7. "This year I didn't have to dig it out of the closet with the tree and stockings. I already had it on." BEAUTIFUL! Just how it should be! Keep nurturing your giving, lovely spirit. It is all about Him! I'm praying for this ministry you have. Blessings and joy, Beth Kreider

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  8. Oh my....favorite Siley picture ever! The writin' ain't bad either. :)

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  9. all i can say is yes..
    me too
    your words challenge me
    and i'm humbled
    to continue to grow
    to give
    to learn and
    to love
    and to forgive..its hard
    but then there is that baby
    xo

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  10. Truth does take practice doesn't it? I have to continually remind myself what it is I should be practicing. Very challenging this time of year with it's sparkly seductions for more and more stuff.

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  11. And my name is not 'about':) I'm fiddling with my blog and everything is a bit wonky at the moment. Uugh!

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  12. shannan, thank you. the beauty here, and the truth, i need it!
    cozying into christmas with you, and plan not to take it off!

    xo

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  13. I worked for DCS for 8 years and became jaded by the things I heard and saw. Although I feel compassion for them, I personally would have a difficult time opening my door to troubled individuals, especially with young children in my home. I love that you and your family have such caring hearts. God bless you all!

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  14. What a wonderful image publish here!It seems that u are planning to observe your returning competition.Best of luck!

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  15. Beautiful images, uplifting and encouraging words, straight from your heart.

    May the young man grow in grace and love as he lives in the haven you have created for you and your family, that you are willing to share with others.

    Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

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  16. lovely reminder. indeed the giving needs to take place in more than just this one silly month full of consumerism and all things nauseating. and still we can find beauty here. i love that about Christ. even with our misconstrued intentions, He still finds good. thanks for sharing.

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  17. The photos are awesome, and the message spot on.

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  18. I like your riff on JOY to the world.

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  19. so well said...i think you should write a book...wink...or twelve!!!
    xoxo

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  20. Well said. love your perspectives.

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  21. When you get right down to it all the matters is Jesus. Just read that on a card. It says it all.

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  22. This post reminded me of how one year..I was back in MN from TN visiting for the holidays. My best friend and I kept saying "It just doesn't FEEL like christmas this year." and yes, it was a dumb thing to continually say. A month later when I was back home and we missed each other, we would say "We were too dumb to realize Christmas was there all along!" It's a feeling, not the shopping, the junk, the gifts..it's the vibe.

    This resonated with me and I thank you for it:

    "We see a world that needs us"

    Without going into a long, rambling tale..I was having a very bad day just a few days ago. One of those horrible moments where you wonder "What's the point? What's it all for? Why are we even here, is it fruitless?"...

    Thanks for reminding me! I needed it.

    You rock, kid.

    xoxo

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  23. so exciting! I love Christmas, especially this year, as I refocus priorities and hunt out ways to serve, and make plans to do it all year long. i so get this!

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  24. You have such a big caring heart and you have Jesus on your side.

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  25. Wow. You just said what my minister said yesterday at church. I liked hearing it from him and I liked reading it from you. thanks. I need all the reminders I can get and I guess God knows that too!

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  26. For the past few years I have had a lot of time to really see what Christmas is all about. God in the body of a newborn,a young girl giving birth in a dirty cave. We think of the lambs and cows, but there was also mice, rats, and spiders(yuck). A man who must have asked a hundred times," Was that really an angel? I am going to adopt God as my son"?? Only God could think of such an amazing way to tell us how much He loves us!!
    I love your message, joy to the world!!
    And Pilot looked as cute as ever.
    And finally, tell our new family friend/member, WELCOME!!

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  27. Lovely post! The rental looks beautiful! I really love the joy to the world picture!

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  28. Lovely home....lovely heart. Enjoy this Christmas for everything that it is....I wish more of us could do that and wear it all year long like you do!

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  29. Bless your family for the choice to serve others for Him—especially during this time of year when we celebrate the Savior’s birth.
    Beautiful home

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  30. What a great post. Your writing style is absolutely beautiful and poetic. Thanks for the reminder that this season is about so much more than the wrapping.

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  31. *sigh* I am wanting to be there... In that feeling you describe (thanks for describing it so well). And I get it, but only half-way. Like I am looking at the truth as it sits in a sparkly snow globe. And it looks really beautiful in there. But my heart feels distant. Too many distractions, too much busyness. And I don't know how to find it. I want to be present this Christmas (and BEYOND) and fully engaged. Some days it is harder than others to grasp the reality that is that manger, and then, that cross. Oh, that cross.

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  32. we just talked about this in our small group last night.
    it's awesome to decorate and bake goodies and buy gifts and sing carols...but Christmas is about GOD being WITH US. It is about what he came to do for us on the cross.
    I want to live my life every day of every week of every month of every year acknowledging his great work on the cross for me.

    loved this post...love the sparkle of your tree and the glittery decorations and most of all the sparkle of your heart. corny, i know, but it's true.

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  33. Absolutely precious and adorable!
    Blessings

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  34. I just stumbled upon your blog and I've loved reading through your posts and I love your photos. Thanks for writing about your life and sharing about your adoptions and your faith. I have been inspired and encouraged. Did I mention how much I love your blog!

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