In my last post I said that my beginning to Advent was a bit of a mess. Some years are like that. Some years, Advent comes and everything just seems to fall into place perfectly. But some years, things are just a bit out of step, discordant, and I feel like I’m chasing advent instead of experiencing it. Chasing it as it slips away from me – my hand out-stretched, and yet the season remains just beyond my fingertips.

This year is shaping up to be like that. It’s not that anything huge has gone wrong – it’s just that things are slightly out-of-time.

There have already been beautiful moments to celebrate: a great evening at the church during which we ate, decorated and sang carols; a quiet dinner with friends during which we had time to relax and share memories; a project that came out better than I could have hoped.

And yet….and yet, there are other things that just haven’t come together: I’m still trying to finish my own decorating at home (every day I think, “today’s the day!” And every day, the time gets away from me again); this is only the second blog I’ve written (I’d hoped to be at three or four published so far); I joined a group who are doing a devotional during the season and I have yet to begin the readings.

Some things are just – off.

And that’s got me thinking some more about how the Messiah comes in that midst of our mess. How Christmas comes whether or not we get all the things done that we hoped to get done.

I’m thinking of that glorious ending to Dr. Suess’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”:

Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small
Was singing without any presents at all!

He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling. “How could it be so?

It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!”

He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.

Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!

And that is the hope that keeps me grounded in the messiness of a season that isn’t quite coming together: that this season isn’t about getting all the things done perfectly. This season is about God’s incomparable grace!

Grace that meets us in the midst of our mess, in the midst of our brokenness, and makes us a new creation.

This Advent, may you know THAT grace in a deep and personal and healing and hopeful way.