Just a quick note before I get to my post. I have had a good number of comments to my previous blogs that have no name on them. They are encouraging, and I am always grateful. I respond with a thank you, but I would like to know who I’m replying to. Would you include your name if you make a comment? I appreciate comments in a big way. They are an encouragement to me, and even more so if I know who sent them. Thank you!
It’s a little bit crazy how much work we put into our Christmas celebrations. The tree hunting, the decorating, the shopping, the musical programs, the Christmas cards, and let’s not forget the food to buy and prepare. This year my family chose to pare way down on the gift portion of our traditions. A choice that created a canopy of ease and simplicity to celebrate under – a shelter to shade the glaring busyness of Christmas allowing us to see more clearly all that truly matters.
Christmas is over and we are looking toward the new year. Many are looking forward to the fun parties and get togethers on New Year’s Day, but I always look forward to the freshness and the possibilities of the year to come. It’s a good launching point for new ideas and goals – a running start to make our lives count.
It can be sad to say goodbye to Christmas and all the glittery splendor covering every corner of every home and store out there. I am may be in the minority here, but I can maybe think of two times in my life when I didn’t take the tree down the day after Christmas (or even Christmas night – once). It’s just that I know all the work is waiting for me and to linger means to postpone the task of creating a new space(s) to accompany the newness of the coming year. I never just put everything back to the way it was. Sometimes going back to the old and familiar can be comforting. But fresh approaches can be an inspirational.
(New place to read my Bible in the mornings – right where the sun rises)
When I rearrange and redecorate my home (something I do multiple times a year), 99.9 percent of the materials come from things I already have. Thinking up new purposes for things you barely notice anymore can make that item seem brand new. You’ll find yourself wondering why you never thought of that before! There are many things you could do on a smaller scale that would still be new and fresh. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve painted that probably aren’t normal to paint. Like the hood over my stove or my ugly wicker laundry baskets that I couldn’t stand one more day! I already had a beautiful robin’s egg blue paint that I’ve used to paint a piano bench and the inside of my white hutch (also painted). Within an hour’s time I had new robin’s egg blue wicker laundry baskets. No purchase or expertise necessary.
I cleared out enough stuff to fill the back of my car and three more bags in the back seat! I regularly clear out because we don’t have a lot of storage and also the thought of having all of that stuff truly makes me feel panicky. That’s why I was so surprised to have had that much to give away. I was ruthless this time. It felt a lot like making room.
I get distracted very easily. I am tempted to (and usually do) jump up any number of times to – get this or that done while I’m thinking about it – during my quiet time with God in my mornings. My life is no different. Distractions don’t always look like distractions. Many distractions are disguised and deceitful. Busyness is not the only (although most commonly blamed) distraction. What about the state of mind I’m in? Am I upset, depressed, tired, angry, worried? Maybe I’m feeling inspired, generous, ambitious, or even excited for something that is wonderful. We all experience these things, but do we let them take off with our hearts and make us forget our bearings? Can we (I) learn to walk through all of these human conditions and still not lose our focus on Who matters more than anything? To be still and know that He is God. To follow wherever He leads.
My desire this new year is to clear out distractions and to be aware when they are hanging around. I am praying for wisdom and strength to approach things differently when those distractions press hard to take over with their importance. We’ve all heard it said that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. But some of our stuff isn’t small or easy at all. May we remember that even the big stuff – be it good or bad – is overshadowed by the power and the beauty and the love of our GREAT GOD.
…And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’… Mark 12:30