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I stood in front of my mostly packed bag, frozen and staring at the tickets in my hand. I felt my stomach drop, as disappointment washed over me.

I had just packed the sparkly shoes, sparkly earrings, and sparkly necklace. All to wear to the event the magical pieces of paper in my hand were supposed to grant me access to. And not just me. This special concert was also a Christmas present to my parents. The details had been carefully laid out and planned in advance. The next day, we would each drive a few hours, check into our hotel, don our sparkly attire, and make the most perfect, magical Christmas memory! There was just one problem. A tiny detail I overlooked. In big black letters on those magical pieces of paper- it says December 8th. Not December 9th. Oops.

I did a quick Google search, and made a phone call to try and fix it. 
“It looks like we’re completely sold out,” said the woman on the phone.

My most perfect, magical Christmas plans seemed to be falling apart. 
Don’t you hate it when that happens?

I've been learning over the last few years that the disappointed feelings are real, and that I'm allowed to feel them.
But I'm also learning that there's another gift that can come with disappointment. 

When I called my parents to explain, my mom- the queen of flexibility- just laughed and said, 
“These things happen. It’s okay. We just want to see you.”

A friend of mine has a favorite saying... which I’m pretty sure she stole from Matt Chandler.

“Where the ideal is lacking, grace abounds.”

Grace... that looks like family who show up anyway. Because presence is the gift they really want. 
Grace... that feels like scarves and comfy sweaters worn to a Christmas movie, instead of sparkly clothes to a fancy concert. 
Grace... that tastes like homemade birthday cake, carefully transported all the way from Nebraska, eaten with plastic spoons.

Whatever disappointment you’re struggling with this holiday season... where have you found grace? Where have you found Jesus?