Peace on Earth (or Happy Grunting Day)

Here's a post I wrote for our church's Advent reader on the theme of peace for this week:

The other weeks have readings written by my dear (and very talented) friends, so if you're looking for something to aid in reflection this season, please follow along all month long!

But before you read that, I have a little story to tell. On Peace. To keep it real, people.

Two weeks ago today, we embarked on a long-standing tradition: putting up and decorating the Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. I'll give you a moment to feel all the warm fuzzies that sentence just evoked.

...Ok, there you go. That was your moment. The moment is over. Just as it was for us two weeks ago. I affectionately call the Friday after Thanksgiving "Grunting Day," because as soon as my sweet partner-in-life begins hauling up the boxes of Christmas paraphernalia from the basement, the grunting begins. After five moves, the box which houses our Christmas tree is basically shreds of cardboard, so just getting it up the stairs in one piece is quite the feat. As he then stares down the open box, spilling over with dusty piles of green and wire and tiny lightbulbs, you can see the dread and disgust in his eyebrows.

As we wrestle the poky-scratchy limbs to cover up the gaping holes, the grunting grows. And then, folks... The absolute worst, most infuriating part of this day for my poor husband:

The lights.

Let's all just admit that the stinkin' lights are the nemesis of all jolly dads everywhere. Murmurs and grunting increases as we discover (or more like remember) that two of our pre-lit sections are burned out. We fiddle with the microscopic bulbs for approximately 3 minutes before deciding to just throw some new lights on those parts and move on. It's for the kids, right? They're not going to notice.

Meanwhile, our darling little cherubs are running around causing mayhem, bickering, grabbing at all the family heirlooms and fragile boxes, and completely distracting us from the war we're raging against the angry twinkle-light-gods. Mercifully, I happen upon the plastic nativity my aunt kindly and wisely gifted us with a few years back, and send them downstairs to play with it. Phew, good thing we found that.

Just as we were remedying our twinkle-light shortage, blood curdling screams come screeching up from the basement. Ben (eager, I think, for a break from the God-forsaken tree) hurries downstairs to save the day. So much waling. So much stomping. So much anger. He arrives just in time to narrowly miss a wise man zinging past his head.

"WILLA WANTS BABY JESUS AND MARY BUT SHE CAN'T HAVE BOTH AND NOW SHE TOOK THEM AND SHE'S THROWING EVERYONE EVERYWHERE!!!!!" A camel flies across the room, attesting to the truth in Audrey's story.

Of course. Of course the conflict is over poor innocent baby Jesus, the Prince of Peace. After Ben somehow masterfully calls a ceasefire and regains order, he returns to find me wrestling with red ribbon, covered in glitter.

We look at each other and shake our heads. As he comes to rescue me from the ribbon, I mutter "Peace on earth," under my breath.

Happy grunting day.

And here is our finished product. I think Clark Griswold would approve.