The New Calendar

For Christmas, a colleague gave us a desktop calendar and a monthly planner. I kept looking at the blank, clean, uncluttered calendar and thinking, when does it become so busy?

Slowly that’s how.

Little by little we begin to add things to the calendar. We add in the birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, and the like. Then comes the daily agendas. Everything from work (or days off from work), appointments (personal and family), commitments (be it business, personal, religious, ect).

After all those things are added in, our calendar is no longer clean, fresh, open. It becomes cluttered, used, worn and tattered. After each month is gone, we rip the page off from the rest and start the process all over again. Never giving a second thought to where that month went.

What would happen if we held on to those old, ratty pages? What if we wrote down all the big, life changing moments? As well as the seemingly small, not-so-significant ones?

How much different would 2014 look if we slowed down, if we took each day as a chance to make a difference in this world, if we decided to let every day be:

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Post Holiday Hole

The celebrations are done. They’re over. The hustle and bustle behind. It’s all a memory now.

But what memories will remain? Will they be good ones? Sour ones? Or just indifferent ones?

Oh this season was good to us. Extremely good. We are/were blessed beyond comprehension.

With everything said and done, there’s a hole. Sitting in the glow of the tree, tears brimming the eyes. And I’m not quite sure where to start with the feelings.

So much floating around in my mind. Making it hard to concentrate. Hard to decipher. Slower days ahead should help.

This post holiday hole leaves us with a feeling of emptiness, dissatisfaction, and often grumpiness. Instead of favoring the good, the fun, the bonding, we walk away in a slump. Like all we want to do is break down, hide, or stay hidden away next time.

Is it our expectations that leave us feeling this way? The things people do/ say, or what they don’t do/say? Is it the commercialism? Or could it just be our current circumstances bring us down.

Yes, Christmas just ended, but why does our joy, our advent, our generosity, our attitudes have to change? Aren’t we called, as His followers, to always be gracious, generous, joyful, and loving? Why is it so easy to do this in the days that lay between thanksgiving and Christmas, only to return to the glum, apathetic, monotonous view on life that we had before?

My challenge for us is to treat every day as Christmas. In light of my last post, I am going to start completely over with my gifts list. Hoping to change my perspective, to keep every day as something new and exciting rather than old and boring. I’m going to take a page out of my own advice book and shoot for 3 gifts added to the list a day.

How about you? Do you need to keep a little bit of the holiday excitement in your heart everyday? What helps you to do this?

Busy Behind Me

Busy.

That one word is often the most common adjective you’ll hear me use when someone asks how things are.

Busy.

That one word that I do not like to have to use to describe this time.

Busy

That is not the way I planned for 2013 to be.

Busy

That should not be the only word that comes to mind when I’m asked how things are.

I want life to be full not busy. Not just full to be full, but full -the way the gospel describes it.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:10

It’s time to look toward the One who can show me what this fullness looks like in and around me. Instead of trying to force things to happen, I will turn to the one who made everything and has a time set for the things we desire.

In 2014, I will look for the noble in the everyday mundane of life. I will look for the beauty in the ugly of life. I will look for the magnificent, that is the life I’ve been given.

This means that sometimes I will have to say no to something that would make my plate too full, no matter how much anticipation I had for it. It means allowing myself to say yes to down time, to alone time, to quiet time. It means using wisdom, prayer and patience to know the things He wants me to be involved in.

For 2014, my word will be magnificent. A challenge to remind myself to slow down and make each day count. To remind myself to breathe. To remind myself to take in the beauty around me.

Doubtful or expectant?

As we ring in this new month. There’s a celebration that happens across the world. The celebration of advent.

The past few years I’ve heard of this tradition, but never did I truly grasp what it is meant for. I simply passed it off as just another tradition. Something boring. Something stale. Something overdone.

Until this morning, that is. I heard a phrase that brought a new description of the term advent.

“Advent is an act of intentional patience.”

My thought was this why in the world would you willingly want to wait.

Then I really thought about it. Most of 2012 was spent in anticipation, i.e. waiting. This year has been a season of waiting for change. Next year is looking to be a season of adjustments. In all of this, we are waiting.

So this year, I am looking to define advent for myself. This mornings sermon focused on Zacharias and Mary. The true start to Christ’s first coming.

While they both questioned the news from the angel, what laid behind the questioning was drastically different. Their attitude. Zacharias’ was one of doubt and disbelief. Mary’s was one of expectancy, excitement and belief.
Which explains why one became mute, an the other did not.

Even though they both questioned, it was the heart behind the questioning that God looked at. This is what He still does today.

So we were challenged. How am I asking God during my waiting? With doubt, like Zachariah? Or with expectation, like Mary? How can I lean into Jesus during my period of waiting, instead of having it pull us away from Him?

We were also encouraged to remember, in our time of waiting, that it was at just the right moment God sent Jesus.