Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What To Do When Your Calendar Seems Bigger Than God

I look forward to Christmas every year. I love the neighborhood lights, the music playing in the stores and the sweet commercials of little kids leaving cookies out for Santa. Kids in jammies are plain ole' adorable.


And every year, my calendar seems to get fuller, my days shorter, my to-do lists longer. 


I want to remember "the reason for the season", put "Christ in Christmas", have "Ho Ho Hope for the Holidays". 


But as the days go by, I feel like I'm running out of time. Time to meet my deadlines, fight the crazy crowds to buy a 3 inch barrel iron for my daughter, a Web-blaster for my son, find the perfect gift for my girlfriends, one they won't re-gift. I'm running out of time to bake my famous Christmas cookies that everyone wants a bag of, get my website text to the designer, get my hair done, get my next manuscript to my agent.


I have Christmas parties to attend, programs to sit through (yes, I'm going to make fun of the children who squeak their clarinets--it's what I do), and library books that are close to overdue. 


And in all that hysteria and feelings of walls closing in on me, I'm reminded, early in the morning--when I'm barely awake--between yummy dreamland and the first thoughts of sipping coffee that Someone wants to spend time with me, to help me organize my day, to make this season smooth and wonderful, not dreadful and busy.


I'm reminded that if I'll give up a couple hours of sleep to sip coffee and share the breaking dawn with the Lover of My Soul, the panic will turn to calm, the walls that are closing in--removed-- and the joy and peace I crave will be lavished upon my soul.


I'll remember:


"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1


And I'll remember the One who took off robes of righteousness, for a robe of tender infant flesh, broke through an ordinary girl's womb for me. I'll remember the infant flesh that grew into a Man's and that it was His joy to allow it to be torn and shredded...for me.

And I'll remember the gift He gave to me. 
Salvation.  

What do you do to remember what this season is all about? Do you wake and tiptoe  into the living room before the house is up? Do you put your kids to bed and enjoy an hour or so at night? 


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23 comments:

  1. Great post, Jessica.

    The days just fly by in the Christmas Season. Sometimes I don't know if I'm coming or going. Soon, all of my children will be home again under one roof. There will be family gatherings, Christmas parties with friends, and plenty of good food. We are so blessed, and I don't take that for granted...not for a moment. I am thankful.

    I always take some time on my knees in front of my bedroom window before I go to sleep. I look up at the stars, say my prayers, and remember what Christmas is all about.

    Joy to the world!

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  2. In recent years our college daughter has helped me discover a great way to de-stress before the Christmas season gets in full swing. We get the shopping done way early--often before she begins her fall quarter. Since I'm a bargain hunter who searches for gifts all year long, this works for me. She likes the tree up and decorated the day or so after Thanksgiving. In years past, I resisted, but I gave in some time back and am a convert. These days we have the tree trimmed and the wrapped presents under it before the first Christmas newsletter arrives, and this really helps me feel a a sense of peace as we head into the busiest month of the year. I'm better able to focus on the real reason for the season.

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  3. I think so many of us live a Martha Christmas in a Martha world when Jesus is just wanting to tell us to sit and pull a Mary.

    Seriously though, I've been thinking of this lately and I wonder if some of the busy robs us of our joy and if it's not stirred up by the enemy himself.
    ~ Wendy

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  4. I'm with Wendy. I really try to be Mary in this Martha world, but it's hard.

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  5. We started observing Advent at our house a few years ago, which gives us dedicated time each day to reflect on the meaning of the season. And, I'm both up before everyone else for time with God, and up after everyone else at night for "me" time!

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  6. I have been where you are. So busy with the season--knowing what I do from reading your blog, I knew you would find a way to remember and turn your time to the Lord. Sometimes it wasn't until Christmas eve that I would recall why we celebrate. Not good!

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  7. Such an encouraging post. I was actually just talking to someone last night about spending time with God...and how sometimes I find myself thinking, "But if I take an hour (or 30 minutes or 15 minutes) with God, then I'm not getting writing, dishes, shopping, work done..." And it's a horrible thing to think. I was reminded by the person I was talking to - and your post! - that time with God is more "productive" than anything else I could possibly spend time on. It's more than something checked off a list - it's forward motion in the most important relationship in my life. And if ever there was a season to draw closer to God, it's Christmas...

    So, thanks for the slice of truth this morning. I think I needed to hear it...again... :)

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  8. I so needed to read this today. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting into words what I've been feeling lately.

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  9. Whoa. Your description of Jesus' birth and death gave me shivers! Great post on remembering the reason for the season!

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  10. For me time it's time together with just my family, whether that's talking about the real reason for the Season or going out to eat, etc. Those simple activities help me stay grounded during the holidays.

    We also have our Christmas tree lights on all day - my 22-month-old will say something if we haven't got them on yet in the morning. Even that little thing helps remind me of the simpleness of Christmas.

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  11. You're right, Jess. We have to take the time to consider what Christmas really means. The birth of Christ, spending time with loved ones, being thankful. I love to multitask, so it's hard for me to just sit down in the morning and read my Bible. I want to check email, go on Facebook, etc. but that time alone with God is so important, especially during Christmas time.

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  12. It's always good to power down and reflect. I enjoy spending some quiet time with the Savior in the morning while I sip my morning coffee (actually the flavored, de-caf, kind!). Have a beautiful, de-stressed, Christmas season, Jess!

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  13. I seem to be losing the battle of the calendar again this year but I try to keep my focus on the Nativity scenes more than Santa Clause, What Child Is This over Jingle Bells (or worse, Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer), and church instead of the mall. Our true Christmas is still there, we just have to hunt for it sometimes.

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  14. Almost overdue books? Mine are waaaay past - I support the library w/ all my late fees.

    As for my time w/ God? Morning...before they all wake. Last year God really called me out on that one - "First Fruits" I kept hearing in everything I do--He needs my first. That includes my mornings, a HUGE thing to ask me. In light of all He's given, and the peace I find each morning, it wasn't too much to ask after all:) (okay, before I start sounding too spiritual, it IS still a very, very hard thing to do, especially when I'm tucked in a warm bed and the timer wasn't set on the coffee pot last night)

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  15. What I want to remember this season, which I often refer to as the holidaze:
    That people are more important than things.

    I appreciate you, Jessica. You are a delight. And reading Savanna's Gift was a gift I gave myself this season.

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  16. Wonderful post, Jessica. We definitely need to keep the right perspective during the holidays and keep our focus where it should be. Much easier said than done sometimes! Thanks for the reminder.

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  17. Hey everyone! I'm glad we have each other to remind us what's important and to help us get refocused! Even writing this post helped me get it together. :)

    Thanks for hanging out with me!

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  18. I must admit, I barely got past your title without conviction shooting me in the head like a bullet. Some days my calendar is bigger than God. Wow...so wrong. Thanks for this great reminder!

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  19. Great reminder of the true Reason for the Season. Great blogpost title! It's good to re-examine our priorities at this time of year. Luckily, I don't have the shopping to distract me this year (in recent years). My kids are grown, and the tree is up. Now I can relax and enjoy. :)

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  20. I'll confess that I LOVE to sleep in, but I've learned something just in the past year or so... I LOVE my morning time with Jesus. If I sleep in and miss it, I really wish I hadn't. Not because my day is "bad," but because I miss the TIME with Him. It's so precious when it's just the two of us!

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  21. Beautiful. Just beautiful, Jessica. Thanks for the reminder.

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  22. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the first time we sing O Holy Night at church. It never fails to make me teary. "Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices! O night divine, the night when Christ was born;"

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  23. Great post! Although things are pretty low key around here, it's always a great reminder to take time to reflect on what's truly important.

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