CREATE Christmas, For Real

6:52 AMHeather

CREATE Christmas is a thing, y'all.  An annual thing.  It's a make-and-take craft day at my church that I plan--now for my fourth year.  You see, I love to craft.  I love to teach.  I love to give gifts.  I love bargains.  Mix it altogether and you have one of my favorite things I do all year.  We have multiple projects to choose from and you can craft to your heart's content (while supplies last) while hanging out with girlfriends or your mama or your daughter and listen to Christmas carols.  Every project this year is only $5!!  It's a BARGAIN.

Before I offer what I have to say today, let me give a disclaimer.
Even if you don't craft and think it's too early to think about Christmas, please read on. There's something much more applicable to life that I have to say.  Oh, and don't judge or be offended--because I'm going to be transparent.  Now, read on.

I look back now and laugh at my 2010 self planning this event.  What a rookie I was!  I did things the hard way, making it much more complicated than need be.  I'm sorta getting the hang of this in year four.  I've figured out how to streamline the process and simplify the planning.  I now keep the crafts simple (only 3-4 supplies each and only 3-4 steps total).  I also keep them at $5 each.  If it can't be made for that, it won't make the cut.  And, Pinterest has done wonders for my process as I can select crafts that are repinned often.   So, needless to say--while I still have my spreadsheets of supplies, tasks, and budgets, I can pretty well plan this thing without too much stress now.

Except I don't.  I still obsess and have freak out moments.  Like last Wednesday.  I was cutting some words on my Cricut for one of this year's projects.  100 sets of them, to be exact.  And it was tedious.  I was on my fifth session at it, and feeling weary.  I am a master party planner when it comes to pity parties. So, I stood at my kitchen island, sorta feeling all pathetic.  Wondering why I thought this was a good idea again?  

And, then I was humbled.  Because just as I was thinking poor me, my girl walked into the kitchen and said, "Mom, you inspire me with how hard you work when you want something."  I was floored.  Because just when I thought no one noticed, God saw.  He humbled me with that reminder that no matter how tedious or mundane our task, He sees.  And even when we think our kids never notice all we do for them or what we do in general, we get a gentle nudge.  We are reminded that they are, in fact, watching how we live out our lives.   

You'd think that would have done the trick to keep my motivation and spirits up for this final stretch before the big day.  Yeah, well, you'd think wrong.  Because I can be a bit self-absorbed.  And in case I haven't mentioned it--every party has a pooper, and this party has me.  Within about twenty-four hours, I was right back in a funk, this time about lining up help.  To be honest, I was feeling rather high and mighty about all I do and how I just need a little help at the end.  Is that so much to ask?  But, people are busy and have too much to do themselves.  And where does that leave me?  Blah, blah, blah.  Poor little me.

So, I consoled myself with a long hot bath and a good book.  Except it's a good book in a rather brutal, in-your-face, convicting way.  Glutton for punishment, I'm following up my read of Jen Hatmaker's "7" with her book Interrupted.  Geez louise.  She is all up in my business. And BAM, right in the face with the "get over yourself" moment.  Because as if God was whispering in my head, there it was.

"So, basically, Heather, you are getting all up in a tizzy about throwing an event to bless the blessed?  So saved people with excess can create more things?  And, sure, that's all nice and fun--but its not like you are trying to pull off feeding starving orphans or caring for helpless widows."

OUCH! Yes, indeed.  Put it all into perspective.  I mean, I think CREATE Christmas is a great event.  I love seeing people discover their inner crafter and make affordable gifts to bless other people.  But, it's not rocket science.  It's not life or death.  It's not like some major outreach to the downtrodden.

Except it should be!  Right away, I knew what I had to do.  So I contacted our youth pastor's wife and we hatched a plan.  

This year, CREATE Christmas will have a bonus feature.  Upon check-out, those attending can offer a donation.  Which will go to fund a craft night to the ladies at the community center on Mustang Drive in Grapevine, where our church has focused community outreach in the past.  

We are in the process of selecting a date.  But, I will go to the community center there and with some volunteers, we will offer those sweet ladies a chance to make crafts for free.  To fellowship and feed their souls, hopefully, as we love on them and remind them they are important to us.  Sitting together over crafts is a great way to knit hearts together and get to the real need, which has nothing to do with crafts at all.  Just our Creator.

There's a growing tension within me.  More on that in a blog post to come.  But, I'm growing increasingly uncomfortable about my very comfortable life.  And my pettiness about my own needs and desires.  All while a world around me is literally starving and hurting and dying.  Is that any way for a follower of Christ to behave?  I'm being ruined.  Gloriously ruined.  Broken.  And, I love and hate it at the same time.  I welcome and run from it all at once.  

Here's what I wrote in my prayer journal:
Lord, help me to hate my pettiness enough to be passionate for the real problems of the poor and marginalized.

Indeed.  So, this year, we are doing CREATE Christmas for real.  To help create connections and offer love and hope as we reach out through a simple shared activity such as crafts.

Won't you be part of it?  It'll be so easy.  Just throw in a donation of $5 or $10 (or more) when you check-out on Saturday.  And be challenged to re-imagine how we can take the love of Christ out to the hurting world around us--beyond our church doors.

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