Preparing for Advent: When the First Snow Falls on the Trees — and Your Family Tree Feels Like A Mess

Snow’s coming down here now like confetti for a party that just won’t stop and the orchard just keeps on welcoming the whole thing.

Yeah, so only about two more beckoning weeks now.

That’s what Advent means — coming.

Only two more weeks now and it’s Advent — this waiting for the coming of the holy party.

And Kai’s shaking trees like a big kid at the party and grinning that there are apples still hanging on the trees in the orchard in the middle of all our shaking snow globe.

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Kai’s got the trees feting him now and the dog’s romping like some circus act under the shaking branches —

and if snow falls off trees in the orchard does anybody hear the sound of wonders coming? 

It happens when you open the pages of Scripture to read of His coming, of this first Advent, before you ever read of the birth of Jesus — you always have the genealogy of Jesus.

Yeah, maybe that’s the way the Gift unwraps: you have to have Christ’s ­family tree . . . before you have a Christmas tree.

We’re standing out there in trees and the snow coming down and it feels like relief:

If you don’t come to Christmas through Christ’s family tree and you come into the Christmas story just at the Christmas ­tree —​- it’s hard then to understand the meaning of His coming.

Because without the genealogy of Christ, the limbs of His past, the branches of His family, the love story of His heart that has been coming for you since before the ­beginning –—​­ how does Christmas and its tree stand? Its roots would be sheared. The arresting pause of the miracle would be lost.

Because in the time of prophets and kings, the time of Mary and Joseph, it wasn’t your line of credit, line of work, or line of accomplishments that explained who you were. It was your family line. It was your family tree.

It was family that mattered. Family gives you context, and origin gives you understanding, and the family tree of Christ always gives you hope.

The coming of Christ was right through families of messed-​­up monarchs and battling brothers, through affairs and adultery and more than a feud or two, through skeletons in closets and cheaters at tables.

It was in that time of prophets and kings, the time of Mary and Joseph, that men were in genealogies and women were invisible. But for Jesus, women had names and stories and lives that mattered.

The family tree of Christ startlingly notes not one woman but four. Four broken ­women—​­women who felt like outsiders, like ­has-​­beens, like ­never-​­beens.

Women who were weary of being taken advantage of, of being unnoticed and uncherished and unappreciated; women who didn’t fit in, who didn’t know how to keep going, what to believe, where to ­go—​­women who had thought about giving up.

And Jesus claims exactly these who are wandering and wondering and wounded and worn out as His. He grafts you into His line and His story and His heart, and He gives you His name, His lineage, His righteousness. He graces you with plain grace.

Is there a greater Gift you could want or need or have?

Christ comes right to your Christmas tree and looks at your family tree and says, “I am your God, and I am one of you, and I’ll be the Gift, and I’ll take you. Take Me?”

This, this, is the love story that’s been coming for you since the beginning.

You don’t want to miss it — miss Him.

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So there’s this pause and investing in what matters. There is a Stilling. Pondering. Hushing. Each day of Advent, He gives the gift of time — so we have time to be still and wait.

Wait for the coming of the God in the manger who makes Himself bread for us near starved.

For the Savior in swaddlings who makes Himself the robe of righteousness for us worn out.

For Jesus, who makes precisely what none of us can but all of us want: Christmas.

There, here, in the midst of the inconceivable, the loud claims, the hard sells, the big spectacles, Christ comes small, the micro- macro-​­miracle who comes in the whisper and says, Seek Me.

Just where you are, look for the small glimpses of ­God-​­glory breaking in, breaking out, sprouting, shooting, unfurling, making a Kingdom, remaking the world, bearing fruit.

The theology of the Tree, of the Cross, always seeks the presence of God in the belittled gifts of the world.

The small Babe of Bethlehem, the dismissed Son of God, the stripped and beaten Messiah hanging exposed on the ­Tree​ — ­He begs us to spend the attention of Advent on the little. On the little, the least, the lonely, the lost.

Because in the rush, in the hurry, in our addiction to ­speed –—​­ there might be miracles if we slow and don’t step on the unassuming shoot that sprouts from the stump.

When Kai turns with Shalom to run in from the orchard with the dog, you can see it — hear it.

The apple trees hanging out in the orchard — they look ornaments hanging waiting even in these moments, like the decking has begun.

And when snow falls off a tree in the orchard and you are there to hear it — maybe it makes the sound of grace?

Advent, it is made of the moments —

all this slow unfurling of grace.

 

 

 

 

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and hey, can Liz Curtis Higgs & this farm girl bring a hot cup of tea right to you, wherever you are — and shortbread too, can we bring you shortbread too?

Write it on your calendar? Next Monday, the 24th? 2pm EST? We’re bringing No-Stress Holidays to You!

All you have to do is exhale, put up your feet, and tune in to watch the free little webcast “Christmas at the Farm — ( Mz Lizzie & I laugh loud, sing off tune & kick off the season from the farm in grand style [using that term ‘grand’ quite loosely ;) ]

and at the same time Lizzie & I will meet you over in Twitter to live chat through the hilarity with crazy wonderful giveaways, recipes, cookies, tea, NO-STRESS HOLIDAYS, Q&A (ask us anything — okay, just about anything ;)) & we’ll have way too much fun.

Think of it as an early little holiday treat for you? After you laugh it up with us girls, you’ll be set for a NO-STRESS holiday, a Sane & Sacred Christmas, & the relief that you aren’t alone & there’s a whole bunch of who are just #KeepingItReal

See you & all your beautiful people at the “Christmas at the Farm Twitter Party” & the relief of a No-Stress Holiday?

and … because this little piece of glass showed up with the snow last week?

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oh.  The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas  

was named by the Christian Retailer’s Association as  

Best Devotional of the Year for 2014

can we share the happy celebrating with you & do something to share the joy?

Let’s Have a Huge Greatest Christmas Giveaway!

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To Celebrate Best Devotional of the Year, we’d love to give away

10 Heirloom Jesse Tree Ornament Sets

and 10 of our Heirloom 24 Hole Advent Wreaths 

So! To celebrate & enter, let’s just Share the joy of The Greatest Christmas: 

1. Hold up a copy of  The Greatest Gift or the family edition: Unwrapping the Greatest Gift that you’ve found on your shelf or  your local bookstore’s shelf.

[These are books about How-to have a stress-free Christmas — in the sense that they are Who-To books — when we see that it’s all about Jesus — there. is. no. stress. 

These books are not another To-Do on your List — but they are books that whisper: It is finished. It’s already been done. 

Jesus comes as an almost weightless babe — so we can know it: Christmas is meant to be weightless. Grace is weightless.  Come have Christmas like you’ve always dreamed of — The Greatest Christmas]

2. Snap a photo of yourself holding a copy of The Greatest Gift or the family edition: Unwrapping the Greatest Gift

3. Share the picture to one or all of Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest, or post to our Facebook Page Wall (more shares & we’ll count every share!)

4. Include the hashtag #TheGreatestChristmas AND the URL: www.TheGreatestChristmas.com with every sharing.

And we’ll choose TWENTY beautiful people at random on November 24th from all the sharing to win The Greatest Gift Jesse Tree Ornament Set  or the The Heirloom 24-Hole Advent Wreath. 

Let’s have the Christmas we always dreamed of — The Greatest Christmas this year!

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