I’m a procrastinator. Majorly! Doomed forever into a life of rushing and running ragged.
Though usually much better in previous years, this last week, I’ve done ALL of my Christmas shopping (we buy for around forty people!) and put up the Christmas tree. Like I said, I’m a procrastinator!
My mind has been on what this person would like, where this present needs to go, how much wrapping paper I need to get, do I have bows, do I have enough flour for cookies, what day is that happening?
But when I took the time to read the story of Jesus’ birth recently, I realized something I had missed.
I hadn’t taken the time to appreciate the meaning of the season.
In previous years, I have been able to enjoy the week before Christmas. Seeing the lights, liking my tree, wrapping the gifts, baking cookies, and starting to think about the season and its actual meaning.
Christ’s birth. The salvation plan beginning.
This past weekend, my church’s youth group had a Christmas play based on the Innkeeper’s perspective of the birth of Jesus, and all the regrets he had after that night.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (KJV)
A thirty minute play, and the moral of the story being that the world STILL makes no room for Jesus.
We are rushing to get to work. We are rushing to get home. We are rushing to make time for friends, family, get togethers, birthday parties, and more.
And, the world has forgotten that this life is about more than “going”.
Think about it, they didn’t have ultrasounds and pregnancy apps when Mary was pregnant. She knew that pregnancy was about nine months and she was due soon, but they still had to go pay taxes.
And the Bible says in Luke 2:6 that “while they were there, the days were accomplished”. Can you imagine the panic of finding some place to have your baby? And a first time mom, wanting everything to be perfect? The anxiety that must have been going through her as she had to resort to a manger to birth the SON OF GOD! That definitely was NOT in the birth plan she had made!
However, I also know, that as soon as that baby was born, she knew that all was okay. She knew that it didn’t matter where he was born, and she knew exactly where her priorities were. She was saved by His presence. Stolen away from the anxiety, worry, and worldly needs and wants of the moment.
Good news! This world can be also!
Being in his presence is the best present of all this holiday season.
Let Him wash that anxiety of getting everything perfect for the holidays away, and let Him set your focus. His birth is the reason for the season, and everything else falls behind.
Giving is a wonderful thing to do for Christmas each year, but let’s also each TAKE the time this holiday season to sit with Him and thank Him for the gift of His coming!
Something I am thankful for this year that is different than last year….
Sometimes we can get so focused on the busyness of life that we forget how refreshing it is to just get away – away from the noise, away from the distractions and just sit in our secret quiet place, absorbing and rediscovering who Jesus is.
I spent a fair amount of my life constantly wanting to go, or be, or do. When I received more responsibility or territory, I realized how sacred isolation can be in some atmospheres.
Isolation doesn’t always mean loneliness. It can also mean elevation.
Sometimes, He has to take us away in order to lift us higher. Sometimes, He has to quiet our souls so that we may learn to listen. And sometimes, we have to be alone to understand who He is.
A letter to my daughter……
You are too young at the moment to read this or even understand, but my hope is that this letter finds you years from now and gives you a glimpse of my heart.
This thanksgiving is technically our second one together, but last year you were barely a week old. Therefore, this is our first real thanksgiving with family and friends that you won’t be sleeping or nursing the whole time:).
I want you to know sweet girl, that next to Jesus, YOU are what I am most thankful for this year and for every thanksgiving to come. Nothing and no one has brought more joy and love to my life. This adventure we are on, even with all it’s lows and highs, is worth celebrating and being grateful for.
Getting to be your mother and the bond that I was able to form and steward with you has brought me to life in places I was sure was dead. I am thankful to you, for that, even though it’s beyond your comprehension right now.
And know that it truly takes a village, and we have the best one around. We are so blessed with the most amazing friends and family that love and support us and surround us with laughs, hugs, and deep and strong prayers that usher in God’s presence to daily move mountains in our favor. We are beyond blessed and highly favored.
So this Thanksgiving, I will give honor and glory for us where it is due. My prayer is that I am able to show you even in seasons that don’t include the Thanksgiving holiday, how to be grateful because He works it ALL for our good.
I love you my princess, until kingdom come.
Something I am thankful for this year that is different from last year…
“The act of restoring ; renewal, revival, or reestablishment.”
Restoration has always been something I have believed in. I know that I serve a God that can do all things, including the miraculous.
Although I know this, I did not think a relationship with a family member could ever be good. I settled in the fact that while forgiveness had been given, the state of the relationship could never be repaired.
Through my own healing of hurt this year, I was able to see the person who had repeatedly hurt me through a different lens. I no longer saw them as the person who had hurt me continuously, but as a hurt person themselves.
I had to take that person off of the pedestal of expectations I placed on them. I had to simply see them as a child of God. Once I did this, I no longer thought of all the pain they caused me. I instead saw all of their wounds and knew because of their own pain they hurt me.
” Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!
This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!
I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”’-
Just like these dry bones, God breathed life into my relationship with my family member. Something that was once dead and barren has began to sprout new life. Thank you Jesus!
A letter to my mother……
Words cannot express how thankful I am for you.
I have always loved and appreciated you- I mean, you are my best friend and my flower girl. But this year, you helped guide me into motherhood. You showed me that perfection is not the goal and that you must allow yourself grace. You loved me through the difficult times. When my world felt crushing, you were there to hold me. You reminded me I can do it and that God gave me this new purpose the He would help me fulfill. All this while still being a shining example of motherhood for me, an amazing wife, and learning how to be a mama to my baby boy.
I will always be grateful to you for everything you have done for me and my family. I love you more than words can convey.
Sincerely, Your Sally
Something I am thankful for this year that is different from last year…
Contentment – it is described as “a state of happiness”. I believe the world is always searching for contentment in the tangible things of life such as money, success, life milestones and so forth. If only we could reach that certain goal we have in mind, we would find contentment.
However, this is not the same definition God would like us to use.
The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
As a Christian, my contentment is not determined by my state. My contentment, when anchored in who God is, remains when times are good or bad.
Worldly contentment gives us no reason to better ourselves, but Godly contentment pushes us closer to our source of happiness – God Himself.
This Thanksgiving, I thank God for giving me a “state of happiness” despite circumstances that try to steal my joy.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For me brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7