Changing of the holidays

On the last day of November, a Christmas Pentatonix CD  played as I move to their rhythmic a cappellas. I am a closet dancer in the safety of the home. I don’t know any real moves. I just make them us as I go along, feeling the freedom to do what I always wanted to do – dance!

Thanksgiving with all the trimmings is a sweet memory for me. I love being with my extended family. I’m not sure anyone does food like we do.

My body has finally begun to adjust to the time change. That first week of Daylight Savings Time “fall forward” had me in bed yawning at 8 pm and up at 5 am, wide-eyed and ready for coffee. The early mornings offer me the window view of beautiful sunrises as I sit in the rocker by the fireplace and sip the second cup from my “Baby it’s Cold Outside” mug.

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Believe it or not, I planted four perennials in November, the ones left in pots that I put off over and over. A warm sunny day had me digging in the dirt yet once more. And now, really, I’m done with gardening for 2017.

And so it is December, the Holiday Express Train already loaded and moving fast. As it picks up speed, we either get on board or get run over. The enticement is to rush through the next month, loading it with a plethora of activities. You and I are the only ones who can set limits and control how we will spend the days of December. We can decide to enjoy the ride or even take the next stop and get off, lest we speed through it and not remember how we got to January.

What if we stood on the side and watched that train leave without us? Could we really do that without the guilt of not doing everything just like we’ve done it for years and years?

Let’s be honest, some of the traditions we continue to do are just not fun any more and no one would notice if it fell off the list this year. In fact, those we love most might be happy to spend more quality time with us rather than see us rattled and ruffled with too much to do. We could actually use our energy on the important rather than the less-than.

I down-sized my decorating this year and finished on the first day of December. Unheard of for me. I just decided enough is enough. When people come to our home, they aren’t looking for a supurbly designed Christmas theme, they are wanting a welcoming heart and a listening ear.

ornaments

I have avoided Pinterest, though full of great ideas. I’ve not looked at any December magazines yet with the trendiest decorating ideas, easy cookie recipes, and the how-tos of a memoriable holiday gathering. I’m also not watching commercials with their enticing perfection. We do know that scenes are staged in magazines and on TV, and that it isn’t real, don’t we? It’s not real, people!

So here we are in the last month of the year, the one that will be the busiest and most stressful because of expectations that it will be picture perfect, that everyone will be  jolly and nice, and that all of our strained, uncomfortable relationships will suddenly evaporate into congenial, happy family gatherings.

Perhaps we’ve made Christmas into something it isn’t, something in our own image.

As Advent begins, the season of preparing for Jesus, we could be looking for the Savior’s activity in the world. We could pray for ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart that will understand.

I long for the glory, the glory that is Christmas.

Greg Gilbert, in his small book called Who is Jesus?, says this:

“. . . for all that, you still had to stop and pay attention to see just how beautiful it really was. 
So much of life is like that, isn’t it? In all the hustle and bustle of work, family, friends, bills, and fun, things like beauty and grandeur sometimes get squeezed out of our minds. We don’t have time to appreciate them, because doing so would require us to stop and pay attention to something besides The Urgent.”

Christmas is beauty and grandeur, blessing and grace, the greatest love come down to us in an astounding way and in the finest of details. All of it was to show us who God is and how much He wants us to know Him, to love Him, to have a relationship with Him.

Don’t miss it this year. Look for the glory of Christmas. It’s everywhere if we will just take time to notice.

Love came down

 

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