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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Flurry Up and Pray


Last year's Christmas was what I like to think of as the culmination of "all I could handle." The fall was the busiest and frazzled I've ever felt even after carefully and prayerfully planning our calendar. I think God wanted to teach me lessons that I had to be in this totally depleted, totally dependant mindset to understand.

Because my experience last year was consumed in a flurry of activity, I have to confess I started this holiday season with a little less joy than usual. Truly Christmas is my most favorite time of the year. I love the smell of cinnamon, the glitter of lights and the magic of gifts. I do. But when December 10, 2009 rolled around and I had not.one.single.gift purchased, I might have been heard saying, "I hate this time of year." UGH!

Catching yourself complaining about Christmas, the season when God is referred to as Immanuel, God with Us, will stop you in your tracks. It did me!

So I decided to spend the time I wish I could go shopping, praying. I prayed that when I was able to shop that God would lead me to the perfect gifts, within my budget for those on my list. I prayed that all of our extended families and plans would stitch perfectly together. I prayed that my children would feel overwhelmingly loved, blessed and showered by us and be able to bestow that on others. I prayed that most of all, our focus would stay on Jesus and we would celebrate his birth, Salvation come to earth, like no other time in our lives.

The results have been staggering. I shopped in two days between school parties and holiday performances. Easy. In fact, two times when I was waiting in the line to check out, the exact gift I was looking for, which was sold out, was returned by the person in front of me. The gifts I'm giving are the best. Absolutely perfect. I can't wait to give them!

This year I cleared a space for my whole Willow Tree nativity. I love it. I could sit and stare at it for hours. Simplifying the decorating has helped me focus. Lots. We are also going to start a new tradition wrapping up baby Jesus and placing him under the tree. Before we open any other gifts, we are going to read the Christmas story while the children put the nativity together. (I have a special nativity that the children can play with.) We always read the Christmas story but not like this.

Our holiday plans have come together marvelously and I can't wait. So before you wrap your last gift, wrap your celebration in prayer. I did like never before and I think it's going to be the best Christmas ever!

"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" —which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23



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