Christmas is many things, but convenient isn’t one of them.

Especially if you are the one who bakes the traditional cookies, the it-wouldn’t-be-Christmas-without-them-mom! cookies, while running the bedding for the guest room through the laundry, while keeping an eye on a child’s letter writing to Santa, while affixing a gift tag to the wrapped book another child will take to the fourth-grade holiday party, the same holiday party for which you remembered to buy the book but have only just now realized you forgot to buy the apple cider.

“But, Mom, I don’t want to bring apple cider. I want to bring Shirley Temples! Can you buy the stuff for Shirley Temples? And can you come to my party and make them?”

Oh, Christmas.

A feast is a beautiful thing, but a feast is no convenient thing.

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It is a regular thing, however.

Every twelve months here it is again, reminding us of things we might otherwise forget:

Children like peppermint candy canes and gingerbread cookie men more in theory than practice.

The Christmas story is as concerned with what happened, one day, long ago, as it is with what will happen, one day. Perhaps soon?

Christ has died.

Christ has risen.

Christ will come again.

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Childhood is brief, time is swift, and it will always feel like we are putting up the twinkle lights five minutes after we last took them down. Despite how we sometimes feel on a lazy summer afternoon, we are not drifting in a sea of endless time.

We are waiting. Eyes wide open. We are hoping. Hearts cracked open.

We are waiting and we are hoping for the return of our king.

And hope like that is no convenient thing.

Hope like that is an earthquake.

… the hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.

Romans 13: 11, 12

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