I woke to the phone ringing.

A recorded message announced the first school delay. Snow flakes graced not only the grass, but the roads as well. In North Carolina, that reality rocks everyone’s equilibrium, and as a Wisconsin transplant, I still chuckle.

With our eldest home from college, visions of grandeur raced through my mind. The desire to fill his love tank with picture perfect, Norman Rockwell memories struck.

Cozy fires, beautiful decorations, home cooked meals in which we linger at the table each day, the Christmas plate filled with an unending supply of cookies, but most importantly, the aroma of  my homemade cinnamon rolls awakening the children from their slumber became a priority.

I dashed downstairs and pulled the flour from the pantry.

Christening this first snow with delight needed to happen, and nothing was going to stand in the way.

And then it hit me. I remembered my reality and I looked at the clock.

Obligations, previously held commitments, and messes loomed. My heart desperately desired to create the kids’ favorite Copy Cat Cinnabons, or at least my Overnight Refrigerator Rise Cinnamon Roll recipe, but the reality of life stood in the way.

Stress rolled in. The Norman Rockwell dream vanished.

I eyed the family room sofa filled with five loads of unfolded laundry. I rounded the corner of the dining room to catch a glimpse of the dog’s mischief, which didn’t smell too pleasing, and then remembered the boxes of stacked donations to take to Goodwill. It was just a small start to the huge amount of purging that needed to occur, but in the process complete chaos ensued. So much so that when our son arrived home he questioned, “Aren’t you completely overwhelmed right now?”

“Yes, yes, I am, and I feel like I can barely keep my head above water.”

Yet in that moment, an epiphany occurred.

It’s eye opening how the Lord sometimes uses the simplest of acts to reveal the deepest truths.

He reminded me of what’s important through the tale of my three cinnamon roll recipes.

In that moment, I purposed in my heart to claim this December as His. Unrealistic expectations might need to be released, but my heart’s desire need not be crushed.

This advent season celebrates our Savior’s birth through the most simple of arrivals, so why do I need to complicate it with self-imposed distractions that might conflict with elevating my worship of the one, true King?

As 2 Cor. 11:3 reminds, “the simplicity that is in Christ.” That’s the main thing – the heart and center of who we are centers on the simplicity that is in Christ.

I shoved the flour back on the shelf and grabbed the store bought prepackaged dough. I hit preheat and spent time praying over those blessings of mine asleep in bed.

I prayed that our family’s priorities would stay focused on the One for which we celebrate. I begged for help in decision making, and wisdom to choose wisely during the next month, both with my purchases and time well spent.

Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls
And so while those 5 Minute Christmas Tree Cinnamon Rolls baked, life lessons spoke.

While not through some overtly super spiritual act, but through those little things that make a big difference, I remembered that I do this for them, for Him. It’s not about me and not meant to impress.

In the midst of the ordinary of everyday, He uses the simplest gifts.

It’s quite obvious that my son never knew whether I slaved over the stove all day or spent five minutes popping rolls on a cookie sheet; he was just grateful for the little things that spoke love to him.

The Ultimate Cinnamon Roll was realized! It came from time together. It came from the delight that occurred when they walked down and saw what was waiting.

Over the next month, give yourself that same permission.

Relax! Enjoy! Embrace the simple.

We don’t give ourselves enough permission to do that and in turn create unnecessary stress amidst the “most wonderful time of the year.”

I’ve learned that special moments, created with love, intentionality and simplicity, are embraced and appreciated just like those that took weeks of planning.

With that being said, I will be making my Copy Cat Cinnabon recipe on Christmas morn because it’s what I love to do. It will take hours, but I will enjoy every moment without the stress, but until then, Pillsbury may be my secret weapon and no one will be the wiser.

1 Cor. 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace—”

What steps are you taking to enjoy your Advent Season?

Are you being proactive now to make sure that you can enjoy those moments that are most important?

(I originally shared this at (in)courage 12/13 – “Tale of Three Cinnamon Rolls.