It's the most wonderful time of the year ... I love this season! There are so very many, many things I love about this season. And as a wife, mom, grama, and friend, my heart is full and overflowing throughout this season.
But, as is also true for most everyone else, this season can also become stressful at times for me. This stress hit me quite unexpectedly the first day of November this year, as I realized all the many things that I needed to do to prepare for Christmas. This undercurrent of stress stuck with me for a few days ... and then God, in His mercy, lifted my heart!
Can I share my heart, and offer some thoughts, some perspective?
Just maybe this will be encouraging to you, as well?
In the midst of the busy days, and the full calendars, and so many things to do during this Christmas season ... we can have P-E-A-C-E. And also HOPE, LOVE, and JOY! All traditional themes of Advent!
The one of these that has calmed my heart as I prepare for this beautiful and wonderful season ... is P-E-A-C-E.
True PEACE ... is the presence of Jesus.
Is there really any other real, lasting peace? This peace can fill our hearts and our minds, even in busy times - and also as we live in this world of unrest.
But how do we experience this Peace daily?
This is the perspective I needed, and the reminder that God flooded my heart with the beginning of November. It's really quite simple. So simple that we can miss it. And it's really quite familiar to us who follow Jesus ... but maybe we need to be reminded. Often. Daily. Each moment. Today.
Read it slowly, thoughtfully, even as a prayer ...
Don't worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank Him for all He has done.
Then you will experience God's peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.
His peace will guard your hearts and minds
as you live in Christ Jesus.
Let me share the following words from my journal, dated near the beginning of November as I recorded what God, in His love, impressed on my heart ...
"My dear daughter, I know you have so many things on your mind, so many things to do and care for as the holidays come. Not only with holiday prep, but with Cru, helping Gary, and connections you desire to have with family and friends. But I want you to bring everything to Me, each day. Let each day be about 'you and Me'. Not about your tasks. But about walking so close to Me, and letting Me care for your needs."
Pray about everything = talk with Him about everything!
As we talk with Him about everything, even the very smallest and seemingly insignificant things (what to do next on a busy day, which gift to purchase, how we can encourage someone, etc.) ... we invite Him into our days and our moments. And His Presence brings peace, for He is P-E-A-C-E.
And now, at the beginning of December ...
I'm thanking Him for His many gifts! Most of all, for His Presence - peace, hope, love, and joy ... the best of gifts! And also for the unexpected blessings of having my Christmas gift shopping nearly completed now, for our big Cru end-of-year mailing all ready to mail today, for many sweet connections with family and friends these past weeks, and for strength in the multitude of daily tasks and responsibilities.
And I pray the same for you ... that as we talk with Him about everything, we will experience His Presence, and His Peace throughout this Christmas season!
Now may the Lord of Peace Himself
give you His peace
at all times and in every situation.
The Lord be with you all.
(II Thessalonians 3:16)
(A little note ... in the midst of all the daily activity of this month, much of my focus will also be on food prep for our Family Christmas - with our dearly-loved family home for Christmas - 24 of us here in all!. As I have the time, I will be posting recipes here during the month, adding to my online collection of "Family Recipes". All the holiday baking/cooking is a fun thing for me to do, and posting the recipes here gives me a lot of joy, and enables me to share the recipes with family and friends.)
(Photo: free photo from Pixabay)