Advent :: First Sunday :: Taking every thought captive…

Tree Decorating Day with Mason and Gavin

The last five days unfolded rather smoothly, I thought, with only minor glitches and meltdowns. Perfectly normal considering we had, for starters: 2-hour car trips, a large family gathering, a pregnant woman, 2 two-year-old boys, 4 teenage girls, 1 teenage boy, 5 hungry men, 4 dogs, 2 cats and lots and lots of dirty dishes.

I was so glad I’d read Patsy Clairmont’s brilliant “Too Too Plan” at the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, excellent advice for every day, but especially over the holidays. It’s all good, but the part of Patsy’s plan that really spoke to me was:

“Don’t set expectations too high. Expectations lead to drama and life gives us enough of that without whiny curtain calls.”

I carried that thought with me throughout every day. Unexpected ministry needs consumed more of my Wednesday than I had planned, but at the end of the day, I’d still accomplished everything that was necessary for the next one – and I don’t think I whined about it even once.

Thanksgiving Day at my brother’s lovely lake home was just delightful, with uneventful traveling, my sister-in-law’s generous hospitality and luscious cuisine, warm and pleasant conversation, gorgeous weather and the contentment that comes from the simple pleasures of family life.

Friday morning Louis worked around the yard, Emily slept off her all night black Friday shopping excursion and I packed up the fall decorations before Casey and I bought a Christmas tree – a day-after-Thanksgiving Hunter tradition. Jessi and Mason arrived that afternoon and I basked in the joy of it all.

Kristin and Gavin helped us eat pizza and begin decorating the Christmas tree on Saturday – a task we are undertaking rather slowly this year. I seem to have run out of steam, with only a tiny flicker of energy. My usual desire for the tree and house to be completely decorated and the storage boxes put away by now appears to be absent. Maybe tomorrow we’ll finish. Maybe.

Louis cooked a scrumptious breakfast of bacon, eggs and pancakes this morning before Jessi and Mason had to leave – all too soon – for their home in Texas. I hate goodbyes and choke on the words every time.

We skipped church today – a rare occurrence for the Hunter family. Tearful goodbyes, exhausted bodies, and a forecast for severe thunderstorms seemed like a prescription to “stay home and rest”. It proved to be exactly what we needed.

Late this afternoon, Emily prepared a supper of chicken parmesan while I unpacked the advent wreath and prepared it for family devotions. Just before eating, our hearts were made heavy when we learned that our pastor had read his letter of resignation in church this morning. We have much love and respect for our pastor – a man of God who has never failed to preach the Gospel and to feed us from the deep well of God’s Word.

It seemed providential that we had missed hearing the news earlier in the day and with lighter hearts had first enjoyed a needed day of rest. On this first Sunday in Advent, we would not be allowed to dwell on our disappointment, but because of Advent and our family devotions we would take every thought captive and turn them instead toward Jesus Christ – the One who came and is coming again and the only One worthy of our adoration.

[ A Pollywog Creek Christmas has been re-activated with a post about the resources we are using for our Advent devotions.]

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