Ornament (Advent #2)

(A repost from the archives)

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There you go running and tossing and breaking and shattering and I gotta tell you, the way I imagined this day to go is just not what it turned out to be. I wait for Christmas Tree day. I imagine us, in the woods with all our friends, sipping hot drinks, eating too many sweets, finding the perfect tree, taking photos in front of it. Instead, and suddenly, chill settles into little fingers, someone has to poop.

I want things to run on rails. This family, I want it to run like a well oiled machine. Pumping out symmetry, clean edges, pictures perfect. I want this night, gathered round the tree, decorations to hang, carols on, me in plaid, in scarf. I want you smiling demurely, hanging the ornaments gentle. I want mistletoe and candle light, but you keep blowing them out.

All my talk about otherwise? I still want our family to look like an ornament. Sparkled and spackled and flawless. And instead, God keeps whispering something about being an instrument: of peace, of reconciliation. He keeps on whispering about how very broken we all are, how he has plans for us this season it is true, but none of those plans involve our perfection. Just His. Made flesh. Because of our brokenness, like the nutcracker I glue back together (sorry Michelle…). He says “That is the point of this thing child. Relax”. Look for the cracks, the fissures, lean into them. Bring that peace on earth, be it.

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I sigh, pull you into my lap and we read quiet and slow and we start our advent readings and you seem to get it. And I do too. The beauty is right here. In your soft skin (because you took off the coordinated outfits I put you in), in the soft glint of Christmas lights I hung (though they are clumped, and cluttered), in the pine boughs on my mantle (that snapped off as we dragged the tree in the door).

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.-St. Francis of Assisi 
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13 thoughts on “Ornament (Advent #2)

  1. Oh, yes, I love that prayer.
    And I’ll remember this, too… “Look for the cracks, the fissures, lean into them. Bring that peace on earth, be it.”
    Thanks.

  2. Oh how you echo long seasons in my life. And how you frame this perfectly, the importance of the cracks, the fissures the brokenness. My husband walked in the door on Sunday with a bag full of colored light, thank you Lord for growing me in this, thank you Lord for smoothing the edges. I am going with the colorful flow though I wanted perfect white lights. How I see its all about relationships now. There were days I would have huffed and puffed and taken back the lights. But I see beauty as do you in the cracks and the imperfect. Your voice and heart bless me. I have missed both at Ambers place. Thank you Melissa for this. You nailed it for me. And this sings a long and beautiful song to my soul.

  3. Hi Melissa
    Dear Melissa
    Oh, this is such a gem, that assurance that we don’t need to have it all together. If we were, we wouldn’t need our Lord Jesus and I shudder just thinking of not having Him in my life everyday, every moment.
    Thank you,this is beautiful!
    Mia

  4. “…but none of those plans involve our perfection. Just His.” I get this now…but it has taken so long to become truth to me.. thank you for this post…lovely.

  5. Wow, Melissa. This post of yours connects with me on so many levels. To be an instrument, not a superflous ornament. To be people who embody the imperfect beautiful. To be those who are, who “be” peace on earth. Thank you for again helping me to remember the good of all the imperfect in us, in this season, in releasing the false picture perfect (because so often somebody just has to poop…haha!). I think you and I are experiencing similar truths this Advent. 🙂 Bless you. So happy to have seen you again through Amber’s.

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