We are on the cusp of entering the annual holiday season with Thanksgiving & Christmas just around the corner. While this season is filled with festivities, fun and frolicking, it can also be frenzied and full of fatigue (wasn’t that FUN?!??). I want to be more intentional with this holiday season. In many previous years, I’ve felt driven and drained by all of the demands that seem to accompany these weeks so if I’m not careful, I just kind of mentally and emotionally switch off and go into “automatic mode”: get ready, show up, socialize, leave, repeat. While the “automatic mode” can be good, it’s not always the better choice and more often, it’s not the best.
So here are a few thoughts about making this holiday season the best:
be on purpose – make attentive decisions about what you agree to attend: some invitations are a command performance & some are optional, don’t try to do everything
pay attention to time – it seems to me that time can totally evaporate in the holidays, so I want to be careful and selective with my time during these busy weeks
homemade, store bought or hybrid – many of the season’s festivities require us to bring something tasty, so let’s try to plan ahead to be ready
breath – with all of the hustle, bustle, excitement and buzz, it helps me to pause, be still and exhale
Confession time: I don’t like to wrap presents & so for many preceding years, this has been a really bad point of procrastination – so bad that I’ve had melt downs on Christmas Eve looking at all the wrapping I needed to do while thinking about all the meal prep I needed to do for our Christmas meal. No one’s fault but mine. This year, I’m trying something different – I’m trying to wrap 4-5 present over each weekend, attempting to prepare for Christmas better than my recent disasters. So far, it seems to be working.
I’ve also been thinking about preparing for Jesus’ birth this season with Is 40:4 where he talks about bringing the valleys up to meet the road level. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to any depressed areas in my life – low spots in my thinking, actions & conversations. While I’m not advocating denial or burying my head in the sand, there are certainly areas in my life that are lower than what God says in the Bible (low thinking, substandard conversations & actions, etc). So I feel challenged to let the Bible confront & help me to shore up those low areas as I prepare for Jesus’ birth during this season 🙂
In about 2 weeks, we will host a party at our house to thank all of the volunteers at our church for their incredible service & help throughout the past year. So this is a really important party & as such, we make a REALLY MASSIVE effort to be sure that our house is nice, the food is tasty & that we do our best to ensure that everyone feels welcome & appreciated. To that end, we begin our preparation early because it takes a good quantity of work.
Getting ready for this party has caused me to think about what it means to get my heart ready for Jesus’ birth during this holiday season. This kind of makes me think about what it says in Is 40:1-5 about getting ready for Jesus’ arrival. Isaiah talks about 4 things to get ready for Jesus: bring up the low places, bring down the high places, make straight what has been crooked & smooth out the rough spots. So over the next few weeks I’m planning to blog about these items to explore what they can mean & look like in our practical living. Be sure to come along for the ride & watch for Getting Ready #2!!