Monday, December 12, 2016

A Heart-Check During this Busy and Wonderful Season of Christmas Preparations

How are things going with your Christmas prep? Do you sometimes need to stop, pause, and check your heart? As a wife, mom, and grama, I often need to do so. Our days, and our lives are often filled to the brim - all year - and most surely, as we prepare for Christmas with our families. 

I have gift-buying, gift-wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning, and more ... all amidst my usual weekly responsibilities. My days can turn into a series of to-do lists to be checked off. The joy can turn into stress, and worry ...

And when the joy turns into stress, that is when my eyes open, and I see the "red light" flashing again. It is time to STOP, to pause, and to recheck the attitude and intention of the heart. To pull aside, and to listen, to be reminded.

The attitude of the heart really does matter. It matters to God, it matters to those around us, and it matters to our own joy. 

Several mornings recently I was in a place where I needed to stop, pause, and listen. And I was reminded that I cannot do everything. There are some things that will need to remain undone as I prepare for 24-25 family members home for our Family Christmas. I absolutely love the holidays, I love most everything about the preparations for Christmas; it is one of my most favorite times of the year. 

But my attitude makes a difference. I cannot strive for perfection, I cannot make all the goodies that I would love to make, I cannot buy everything that draws my attention, I cannot do everything that I would love to do. I cannot do it all, for if I try, it brings me to stress and exhaustion.

But what we can do, can be done with a humble heart, a heart seeking to serve and love God, and to serve and love those around us. Depending on God to transform our to-do list into a to-love list. Each task, even the ones most routine and even sometimes burdensome, can be turned into expressions of love. Of serving, and of giving ourselves away for those we love ...

If eucharisteo, giving thanks,
slows down time ...
then can being broken
and given in communion
break time by actually multiplying it?
Maybe time gets broken and multiplied
and made into something more
whenever someone breaks
and gives herself or himself away.
(Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way)

Being broken and giving ourselves away, these reminders of what is our true motivation as we prepare for Christmas ... these reminders of our heart attitude and our motivation are of most importance.

Loving Lord,
will You make us more like You
this Christmas season,
and all through the year ...

Will you break our hearts
for the things that break Your's,
will You help us to live
broken and yielded to You ...

And just as You gave up Your life for us
may we join with You in communion,
giving our lives, in love,
to You, and to others ...

May our to-do lists
be transformed into
to-love lists,
loving You, and loving others ~
an overflowing, multiplying love.

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