Advent Week 1: Igniting hope

We all knew it was coming and many of us faced it with excitement, expectation, and admittedly some stress. Although I was free of any responsibility this year (Nick’s and my only duty being showing up at Monell’s on time), Thanksgiving morning I woke up with that familiar tingling sensation in my chest: THERE’S WORK TO DO!

I did my best to combat the anxiety within me with grateful thoughts but eventually, P.O.P.D. got the best of me and I just accepted that stress is (sadly) a normal part of the Thanksgiving Day experience.

I didn’t make this meme but I think it’s funny especially because of the typos. Beware of the effects of POPD!

After surviving Thanksgiving, I had three days to recoup before my next event – my annual “Christmas Tea” during which a few of my closest girlfriends gather. It’s one tradition that I refuse to compromise although I admit, I was pretty close to just calling it all off yesterday as I felt my stress level begin to rise again.

Christmas Tea was a big deal at the church Nick and I attended in LA and ladies would plan months in advance for it.  Ten top tables were dressed to the nines with the best china and fancy centerpieces while men (mostly husbands and boyfriends) were dressed in tuxes, serving as our table “butlers.” By the time you finished walking through and ogling over 150+ tables, you’d spend a week scrubbing off all the glitter and tinsel that somehow stuck to you in the weirdest places.

2009 – My very first Christmas Tea table

The days of the elaborate Bel Air tea event are over and Christmas Tea now takes place in in my humble abode. Last night we ate pizza and sushi take out off of my fine china (it’s the one time I actually use it, another non-negotiable) and since I forgot to grab napkins during one of my trips to the store, we settled for paper towels. We wore slippers and yoga pants, and some of us sat on the floor as we sipped tea, ate peppermint brownies, and recalled God’s faithfulness to us this past year.

It was beautiful, blessed, and most of all – real.

There’s a line from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the show I am currently a part of, that sums up what we experienced last night:

The presents are great, and we’re grateful, it’s true. But really, the only thing missing was you!

-Cindy Lou

Only the “you” in the story of real life, we discovered, is actually capital You – Christ – who is the center not just of this season, but of the greater story God has written.


We enjoy the beauty of this season – the lights, gatherings and glitz. But give us hope beyond the stuff of life. Mercifully remind us that this is YOUR story and You are Who we celebrate.

Help us see Your goodness and remember Your faithfulness towards us. You are greater than the world!



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