A mother’s work is never done, especially this time of year. Sometimes, the fun things we do for our families feel like unpaid overtime on top of a 40 hour week, or am I the only one who feels that way?

I made Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday while the boys played football. On Black Friday we decorated the house. We may have gone a little overboard. We decorated all day Friday and Saturday and I still have more to do. It’s the only time of year my house actually looks decorated.

Sunday morning I got up to spend time with Jesus before church and I’ll admit I was tired. My feet hurt. My hands were eaten up after fluffing three trees and five garlands. And there is no pillow on the planet that could comfort my lower back. I stared at the tree, the mantle, the collection of nativity sets in our living room and thought,  if I keep going at this pace, I will miss Jesus this Christmas. I have to find him or all this stuff is just a bunch of crap I unpack and then pack back up in six weeks. Why would anyone do that?

It just so happened when I opened Facebook later that morning, I saw a video of Ann Voskamp in my timeline. And I found Jesus. That seems to happen whenever I encounter Ann.

Ann talked about her new book and mentioned getting a Scrabble tray, spelling out the word PACE and then making room for an E in the middle. E for Emmanuel, God with us. (I’m guessing the idea is in her book but I haven’t gotten to that part yet.) I ran upstairs dusted off our Scrabble game, emptied the black felt bag of letter tiles and found P-E-A-C-E.  I will remember to make room in the to-do’s, in the parties, in all the Christmas letters for the letter E.


There is PEACE in the PACE

I went to Barnes & Noble after church to buy Ann’s new book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. When I got home I found this, courtesy of my 17-year-old:


Later in the day, this:



Then my 14-year-old joined in:


Which was quickly adjusted to it’s more appropriate homophone:


This is my life with two boys who barely resemble the little ones in our historical Christmas photos.  Their silly Scrabble scramblings brought me lots of J-O-Y. I needed that too! (I wonder if Ann’s kids scrambled her P-E-A-C-E?)

Last night, when I came home from a lovely Christmas date with my husband, I found this:

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HA! Someone else found the Scrabble letters. I asked my son, why PETER?

“It was another five letter word that started with P and E .” He wanted to see how long it would take for me to notice. I love how he even made space for E.

Here’s the amazing part, this morning in my quiet time I read about Peter. The bold, brazen fisherman who dared to walk on water to reach Jesus in the stormy chaos. Peter who lost his peace the minute he took his eyes off of E. Sinking, drowning Peter who knew there was no swimming out of this storm. Peter who cried out, “Save me!” and was met with the strong arm of our Savior.

Know that while you are reaching for Jesus, Jesus is reaching for you.

And even before we determine not to miss him, he is orchestrating little things in our world, waving his arms and saying, “Here I am, I won’t let you miss me!”

Are you looking for PEACE this Christmas? Make space in the PACE  for Emmanuel. And if your kids can spell, you may find a little extra JOY along the way.