Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dreaming about Christmas

I want you to close your eyes for a moment. We are going to use our imaginations.


It’s December 25th. We’ll say it’s around 10pm. The kids/relatives/guests are in bed. The room is only lit by the lights from the Christmas tree, leaving shadows dancing up and down the walls. You have a blanket wrapped around you and your favorite beverage in hand. The house still smells like all the wonderful food you’ve been eating for the past 48 hours. Everything, in this moment, is perfect.



Open your eyes. Grab your journal or a piece of paper and pen. Write down how you want to feel in that moment. What will your house look like? What will it smell like? Who was with you? Was there music playing? What kind? Will you be exhausted or peaceful? Will you feel satisfied? Grateful?

What will your memories of December be? Did you go Christmas caroling? Did you do an Advent calendar? What were the books you read? The places you visited? The songs you sang? Were there prayers held close to your heart you saw answered? Did you feel God with you? Write it all down.



Now let’s work backwards.


You see, if we don’t right now figure out the end result of the holidays and Advent, it is going to get away from us. It just will.


I know, you haven’t even finished gathering Halloween costumes. I haven’t had that slice of homemade apple pie that tells me it’s Fall. How can I possibly start planning for Christmas? Here’s how. 

Because on December 25th at 10pm I know exactly how I want to feel and what I want to have accomplished. For me, the biggest thing is to let me kids see Jesus and to experience the wonder of God with us, and they won’t if I spend the month trying to get little projects and shopping done.

I’m choosing to do it now.


So yesterday I filled a mason jar with rum and split vanilla beans. I tucked it into a dark corner and in six weeks I’ll pour the vanilla extract into individual jars tied with ribbon for the crossing guards and piano teachers. Next week I’ll do something else. And I’ll keep doing, a little at a time so on December 25th when I’m surrounded by my family, I’ll be able to smile contentedly without regret.

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So here's your homework. Find some time to dream and plan out your holiday season. Do it from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Keep coming back to it over this week. And pray about it. Ask God to show you if there are people you want to give to, organizations to volunteer at, people to bake for, or just ways to make God's love shown a bit more. Allow God to speak to you. Let's start finding Him even here, in the edges of our day.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In the Edge of the Day - An Introduction

I woke up the other day and somehow, it was October. Three months left of the year. And these happen to be my favorite three months of the entire year. 

This is how it goes for me, perhaps you can relate?

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October. 

Yay! Bring out all the Fall decorations. Buy all the mums.

Pumpkin lattes! Pumpkin bread! Pumpkin tea! Pumpkin seeds! Pumpkin decorating.

Shoot. The kids need costumes. Let’s figure out what we are going to do. Start looking at thrift stores. 

Looked a little too late and now we are starting to run out of time. Hurry. Still can’t find what I need. Quick go to Target. Oh, and candy for the neighborhood kiddos. Costco run, stat!

Phew. That was so much fun. Can’t believe it is now November.


Shoot. It’s November. Thanksgiving is this month. I forgot to get the Thankful tree ready ahead of time. It’s already Day 2 and I haven’t made it yet. Hurry. Quick. Need to make sure we relax and can spend our days being grateful. Did I say what I was thankful for on Facebook yet? I’m going to look so ungrateful if I don’t catch up.

(Insert here frantic and exciting plans for anniversary – yay!)

Whoops, almost Thanksgiving. Who are we inviting? Let’s just have a small gathering, just immediate family.

“Mom, how come we aren’t inviting others? I don’t think Jesus would like this…..”

Cue inviting one other and then realizing that you now have 12 people coming over. Without fail. Every year. Why did I even pretend we wouldn't?

That was so life giving. I can’t tell you how glad I am we did that. Thanksgiving is meant to be spent with a full dining room, a messy kitchen, and an always open front door. Now let’s relax this weekend.

(Unless you are a Black Friday shopper, then God bless ya………)


Holy cow. How is it December first?! I need to do Advent!!! IT’S ALL ABOUT JESUS PEOPLE!!!!

Quick, check Pinterest because there will be tons of ways to keep this all centered on Jesus.

48 hours later…..

SO MUCH TO DO!!!!

What are we going to buy the kids for Christmas? Are we exchanging with family members? How come the tree isn't up yet?

We are losing precious memories people!!!!!!

Bake all the things.

TEACHER GIFTS! Who do we have to get to give to this year?

Get thee to Michaels!!!
Phew.

Wait. We forgot about _____________.

AMAZON PRIME!

Were we going to take a family photo? Do we have matching clothes? Who will take the picture? I should have done this earlier. 

Forget it.

Are we doing Christmas cards? Do I even have addresses?

Cue Facebook status, “Hey everyone, this year I am FINALLY going to send out Christmas cards. I mean it. Really. I will actually send them out this year.”

Go to purchase Christmas cards.

Realize you still have last year’s cards addressed but never mailed.

Are stamps the same? Did postage go up? Did I put old pictures in and then seal? Hmmm…. Can I steam them open? Will it be tacky to tape them shut? Maybe I can find big Christmas stickers to cover it up.

Christmas Eve. That’s our big meal day. Who is coming? Do I have enough things that are vegetarian/gluten free/dairy free/low-fat/low-carb/paleo/whole food/not spicy?

Did we get the kids’ gifts?

Did I get Adam a gift?

Christmas pajamas.

Santa cookies.

Please just go to sleep.

Put food in crockpot for next day because let’s face it, you aren’t lifting a finger tomorrow.


Christmas morning. Resist the urge to post a picture of your tree with gifts under it because let’s be honest, that’s just obnoxious. (Seriously, don’t do this)

Try to brush hair and put on lip gloss before kids get up in case you end up in a picture.

Be grateful they savor opening presents and that it takes all day.

Secretly wish they would just hurry up and open them so you can move on and rest.

Throw out all the wrapping paper.

Cuddle with kids on couch in blankets and wonder if you talked about Jesus enough this month.

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Does any of this sound familiar?

In varying degrees, this happens every year. We start out the season with these beautiful ideas of how it will all look and we get sucked into some strange vortex we don’t want to even be a part of.


I don't want to wake up on December 26th and realize this happened again. I’m not going to get caught up in things that aren’t that important. I don’t want to get pulled under by the desire to buy more than I need, bake more than necessary.

Somehow the idea of bounty that flows throughout these months turns into an exercise in hoarding.


I’m over it.

This year I am doing it differently. And I’d love for you to join me.




In the Edges of the Day: An Advent Journey,” is a community focused on finding Jesus underneath the wrapping paper and in between all the things that vie for our attention. Each Monday there will be a blog post that helps us find our center. Then, on the community page, there will be different activities designed for you to reconnect.

Advent doesn't have to be fast paced and a blur. Let's redefine it for ourselves.


Let's find Jesus in the edges of the day.

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Be sure to keep up to date by visiting either my Facebook page or the community page. We start in earnest on Monday, November 24th, but before that I will be posting each week some ideas of ways we can start preparing both our homes and our hearts now.