Friday, December 18, 2015

Advent, Differently

"Mom, can I have some cereal?"

It's long after dinner. Dinner that, despite cajoling and bargaining, my four year old really didn't eat much of. This has been his modus operandi as of late - not hungry for dinner, but almost as soon as I finish cleaning up and settle myself on the sofa for a tiny nugget of relaxation - suddenly is hungry.

Usually, I'm annoyed.

Usually, I say no.

"You wouldn't be hungry now if you just ate your dinner! The kitchen is closed!" My normal response.

But tonight, tonight feels different. I look down into those chocolate chip eyes fringed with Mr. Snuffleupagus eyelashes and sigh heavy. "Cereal?" I say. He nods, hopeful. It's almost 9 pm. I'm sick and my feet are sore and my arms are tired and I'm ready to throw in the towel on this day, not make another mess. "Grab the milk and I'll get you some." His face erupts in a smile like the countenance of angels at my yes. My yes.

An act of mercy, this. Cereal mere moments before bed. Cereal after the dishwasher has begun it's cycle.

It seems to be a theme of my Advent this year. Mercy. Mercy.

This year has mercied me. Don't I always feel that way? Perhaps. For one reason or another, each year is impossibly hard, and this one is no different. Right up to the end, difficulty surprising me, forcing me to contemplate a response, to scramble for a say. This year, this Advent, I'm pleading for mercy.

Although the candles have been lit a pathetic two times since the beginning, although I've been bedridden and beside myself and broken down - there does seem to be an aspect of mercy that I've been noticing here. Most notably, in how I regard my children.

Swaying a sick toddler to sleep. Mercy. A bowl a cereal I so desperately don't want to wash. Mercy. A care package sent to my bed from my sweet sister in law. Mercy.

The thing is, I dispense mercy daily to those on the outside of my family, but here in the inner workings where I'm desperate for discipline and heartsick over heart issues, I can forget. As He is so merciful to me, grant them mercy. In this home, for these babies - mercy.

Mercy for little scamps who prefer cereal over spaghetti. Merciful to my spouse. Merciful to myself. Merciful every day, in everything.

Be merciful, just as your Father in heaven is merciful.
Luke 6:36

A mere week before Christmas before it dawns on me how different this Advent has been. But maybe a different sort of Advent is just the sort I needed? A crash course in mercy. A Christ who can redeem a world of broken and lost people can surely redeem all of my mistakes.  My pathetic Advent.

Advent is the wait before the miracle. In that way, it's almost as if I've been adventing for years.

Wait, my love. And while you wait? Be merciful.

Trusting Him with this, then, too.

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