Each year, we light the Advent candles at church. Because Advent is one of my favorite celebrations, Dan has always let me plan out different ways to celebrate it in the churches we have served in. One year, we had families come up and read scripture while the kids lit the candle. Other times, it has been through special readings. This year we did monologues.
Things didn't go quite according to plan but it was still beautiful. I had envisioned everyone memorizing their parts and acting it out. But some were very nervous about that and others have crazy busy lives and weren't able to do it. But it was meaningful and done well.
We had a visit from Isaiah for the candle of hope.
I was Elizabeth and lit the candle of peace. On a side note, try on a costume further in advance than the day before you are supposed to wear it. It looked huge and as I was supposed to be pregnant I thought it would be perfect for a pillow or something. Apparently, I'm huge too! It just fit without clothing underneath and no room for pillows or anything. It's a good thing that I often look pregnant without trying! ;-)
We had a visit from the Innkeeper's wife for the candle of love.
Yesterday, was a visit from the innkeeper's son, a shepherd boy. He lit the final candle in the wreathe. There was a bit of a mix-up because I thought they were coming up with their own costume and they thought I was. Oops!
I always envision these things being polished and perfect but my wise husband reminds me that we are not in a polished nor perfect world. Christ came into a world that was messy and broken and his birth was not a performance.
Which is the message we probably miss most Christmases because we run around and try to make everything just so. We want the picturesque family photos. Everyone to look their best around the table and tree. We want just the perfect gift. We are looking for a performance.
I fall into this trap quite often. Yet, reality never looks as I envision it in my head. And that's where I get depressed and feel like a failure. No matter how hard I try, I cannot make it perfect and yet, the Lord works in my life. In the midst of my failings, he molds and makes it into something beautiful.
My life may not be a play that is performed perfectly. But it is one in which I'm striving to be used by the Lord. And that is what makes it beautiful!