I’ve spent the majority of my almost 23 years of life being encouraged to un-busy my schedule. I am both a dreamer and a do-er at heart–I guess it is both my strength and weakness. Sometimes busy-ness can have its benefits. And my first day home in Redmond with my family, I reaped the benefits of the proceeding semi-hectic week. In the midst of my full schedule I didn’t really have a chance to form any expectations of what it would be like to come home after 6 months away. I think this was a blessings in disguise. When I arrived home Saturday evening I was met by my entire immediate family in our snow covered home. I kind of felt like I was living in a Christmas card. I went and saw my Grandparents who live next door. We made dinner together. Went to listen to my brother play guitar at Starbucks. Came home to decorate the Christmas tree (with Christmas music, of course).
I think if I had formed grandiose expectations for my first night home I may have missed the blessings of this evening. My family isn’t perfect. An outsider looking in may beg to differ, but trust me we’re not. We have our dysfunctions, our pain, and at times our passive aggressive behavior. And those are the details only worth noting in blog-world.
There are two things that I realized that do make our six-some unique: intentionality and grace. Saturday evening each one of us was intentional to be in the same place. Not just the same location, but the same moment. There was an intentionality in each of our hearts that evening to be together. We joined in decorating with ornaments created in our 1st grade classes (trust me, these are not as cute as they may sound), entertaining my dear mom’s 100+ picture-taking craze, and belting Amy Grant’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” (oh, wait…that was just me).
Such intentionality has not always been a part of our gatherings. Well, I can speak for myself anyway–it has not regularly been a part of my time with family. Maybe it is what happens when a member of the family moves 3,000 miles away or maybe there is something more. While the distance surely has played its part, I think there is a greater factor involved. Grace. I know I talk about it a lot, but it is what truly defines my life. Like I said, my family is not perfect (far, far from it). But in the midst of our imperfections, our heartache, our pain we have experienced God’s grace and have chosen to give grace to one another. This culture of grace giving has blossomed–and I think it created the atmosphere this snowy December evening for us to grow deeper in relationship with one another.
I know this season has both inexplicable pain and joy for many. While this year may seems to be the latter for me, it hasn’t always been. But my hope and prayer for both my family and yours is that you would give each other the greatest gift I’ve ever received–grace. Be intentional to be present, to embrace the moment, and to be together.
Oh, and laugh.
I know, I know, I’m not a “cat-person,” but my parent’s cat Mogli is a different one. Isn’t he cute?
The first time in awhile my dad chose to forgo the Charlie Brown Christmas tree…I love it! (Oh, and him, too!)