How are you doing at this mid-month time? Halfway through the busiest, and most wonderful time of the year?
I started out simple ... focusing on simplicity in preparations. And for me, preparations are joy-filled and fun, for they are preparations for our sweet family to be Home for Christmas! There will be about two dozen around our tables for our Christmas Dinner, and our home will be filled up to bursting with so much love! And I do love the preparations ...
But it's easy to get off track; easy to think that we need to do more, and then easy, to over-do, to over-work. This is where I found myself recently ...
(copied here, from my journal entry a few days ago)
"Somehow the busyness of the season has escalated, and somehow, my days have become too full. Or maybe it's just my mindset that has accelerated with all the wonderful and lovely things that I would like to do during this season. The result is that I can try to take on too much. As a result, I become worn out, tired, and then the lies from the enemy find places to lodge in the crevices and folds of my tired, worn-out life. And I slip into a performance mode ... in my own mind and heart, and also find myself looking to others, seeking for approval, wanting attention.
And this is not where I want to be ... "
And I'm thankful that in these times of escalating stress, that we can pause, and listen to Him as we read His Words, that we can quiet our hearts to hear the gentle whispers of God's Spirit within. Reminding us of Truth, reminding us to choose what is most important, even in the midst of busyness. A heart of trust and rest. A heart that is filled and overflowing with God's love. This is the most important ingredient for a joyful Christmas season.
So as I am preparing food for our Christmas Dinner and for the snacking and game times, as I am cleaning our rooms and setting up bedding, as I am wrapping gifts ... I need to remember. I need to not forget the most important ingredient that needs to envelop each thing that I do. And when I find myself stressed, I need to step back, pause, and remember the most important preparation, preparation of my heart.
A few of the nuggets of encouragement I've received this first half of December, as I have paused, and listened to His Truth ...
Am I controlled by expectations, or am I filled with expectancy of what God can do? "Expectancy sets our sights on God's promises, rather than the empty pursuit of all that cannot truly satisfy in this season." (Prepare Him Room, advent readings from Gracelaced)
"When we fret over unforeseen circumstances and fuss over impressing others, we miss what Jesus calls 'the one thing' that's necessary - a posture of worship. Jesus came that we might know His presence, not impress anyone with our own." (Prepare Him Room, advent readings from Gracelaced)
Quiet your heart in His Presence,
and wait expectantly for Him.
(Psalm 37:7 TPT/CSB)
He brought me to a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delights in me.
Surrender your anxiety!
Be silent and stop your striving
and you will see that I am God.
I am the God above all the nations
and I will be exalted
throughout the whole earth.
(Psalm 46:10 TPT)
See, the virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son,
and they will name Him Immanuel,
which is translated 'God is with us'.
(Matthew 1:23 CSB)
And now ... let's continue on through the rest of this month. Pausing, listening, soaking up God's love and truth. Reflecting everyday on the Greatest Gift of all, and living our days and our moments closely with Immanuel: 'God with us'.
Pausing, and being filled with His peace, and His joy - in the midst of the season's activity, and in the midst of our preparations for family Home for Christmas!