Posted by: bellissimanh | December 31, 2008

Glad it’s Over?

*Whew!*

That’s me breathing a sigh of relief that the busy-ness of the holidays is nearly behind us. Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas.

This year, our family celebrated Advent together. I remember our church celebrating when I was younger, but our current church doesn’t, and I’d forgotten how special it can be.

My sweet friend Lisa introduced us to a series of books by Arnold Ytreeide. This year we read “Bartholomew’s Passage“. Each night we would light a candle from the Advent wreath and settle down together to hear another chapter from Bartholomew’s story. Each reading finished with a cliffhanger, followed by a brief devotional thought. We sang a carol together and then one of us closed the session in prayer each night. I would give you more details of the story, but I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you in case you decide to check it out for yourself. Let me just tell you that when we finished the book with a reading on Christmas morning, both Joel and I had tears in our eyes. Good stuff!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this time together! Noah never could hide his excitement, and would moan if something came up and we weren’t able to get to our reading on a particular night. Even teenaged Jasmine, who might not admit to ME how much she loved our Advent celebration, was ratted out by her Sunday School teacher who called me to let me know that Jas was REALLY enjoying it and was constantly talking about it in class. 🙂

For me, celebrating Advent was a tremendous blessing. It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos that has become of Christmas. All the shopping (way-scaled back this year), the parties (enjoyable, but very clogging to the schedule), the Christmas Cantata at our church (huge blessing, but huge time consumer)… it all makes for a frantic (and not always pleasant) mommy. But then there was Advent. At the close of each day, a special time of fellowship with my family that helped me to focus once again on my Savior – the whole reason for the season! It truly helped me to stay grounded… and to remember often what is REALLY important, and it kept my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith. How grateful I am that the Lord brought this celebration into our home this year! In fact, we’re all missing it quite a bit. 🙂

Christmas is a wonderful time of year. It’s important to remember and celebrate the birth of our Savior. It’s a precious time filled with family and friends and special moments. We read with fresh wonder the story of His coming and cherish our salvation, realizing that without the birth of this Messiah, life would have no meaning and we would be eternally lost. His birth is worthy of celebration, indeed.

Yet as sweet and special as Christmas is, I’m finding myself longing for routine. I’m ready for things to go back to normal. I deeply enjoy contemplating my Savior’s birth, and marveling anew at the perspectives of all of the familiar Christmas story characters… the shepherds, the wise men, Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth & Zechariah, Simeon, Anna… I even find myself wondering what it must have been like to be that innkeeper.

Yet as much as I enjoy meditating on Christ’s initial arrival to this earth, it’s in the average everyday moments that the reality of His presence is lived out. 

It’s in the waking… the walking… the working… the waiting.

It’s in the living… the learning… the leaning… the loving.

It’s in the mothering… the mentoring… the maturing.

It’s in seeing each day as a gift from Him and recognizing His touch on my life in countless ways.

It’s in giving myself to Him in sweet surrender every day… a vessel that He can fill with His Holy Spirit and use as He wills.

It’s in not just accepting His correction, but learning to see it as a sign of His love for me, and then cherishing it.

It’s in truly seeking out His will for me, and then taking the steps necessary to walk in obedience.

It’s in choosing to see others as God sees them… as children created in His image… as sinners in need of  a Savior… as objects worthy of His affection, and therefore worthy of mine.

It’s in discovering how to let my heart be broken over the things that break the heart of my Father.

It’s in being sensitive to the needs of those around me and being willing to bear their burdens… and perhaps go a step beyond and be used to meet that need if called upon by the Lord to do so.

It’s in taking up my cross and bearing it willingly, rather than grudgingly. To receive whatever the Lord allows into my life and embrace it wholeheartedly, knowing and trusting that He’s working all things for my good.

I don’t know what 2009 has in store for me and my family. I have no way of knowing what the future holds, but I do know Who holds it in His hands, and I’m excited at the thought of what lies ahead.

Regardless of the situations that come into my life through the course of the next year, I know that the Lord will be faithful to use it all… each and every moment… to continue shaping and molding me into the woman He wants me to be. There will be many lessons to be learned… and my prayer for the coming year is that I will be more intentional about recognizing those teachable moments… that my spirit will be more sensitive to the Lord’s leading… that each day will bring me into deeper relationship with the One who knows me best… the Lover of my soul.

What’s your prayer for 2009?

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

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Responses

  1. Boy have I missed you. I seem to be missing a lot lately. Please keep the blogs coming, you are a light to me. I love advent and think our family too should celebrate this next year. Or just come to your house! It all sounded lovely. Love you, S

  2. My Prayer… to listen and to follow… a year of sincere faith building!
    Happy New Year –
    Behold.. I make all things new. Praising God for MERCY!

  3. So beautifully written. Such a gift for using inspirational, heart-felt words. Thank you for sharing! I have also missed hearing from you.

  4. What a great idea, to celebrate advent. I’ve never done that either as a family. That book sounds interesting too. Thanks for visiting and your kind words!

  5. […] mentioned earlier that I love routine. I am so glad to be back into a normal schedule (well… as normal as our life gets!) […]


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