Hey Friends, I hope you are embracing and enjoying the Advent and Christmas season this year as much as I am. I am so thankful that I got my home decorating done early this year. I have to let you in on a little secret. I began November with great expectations of all that I wanted to accomplish by the end of the year, and I was able to achieve many things on my to-do list, but many other things I had to let go.
The first of November I started making plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and began preparing my home for the upcoming season. Then out of the blue, I ended up with an upper respiratory infection that knocked me off of my feet. I kept thinking that I would get better, but days turned into weeks, and weeks have turned into over a month and a half.
Being sick has caused me to let go of many things that I wanted to accomplish and has required me to spend more time resting than usual. I apologize in advance because one of the things I wanted to do was share more with you here on the blog after I wrote my holiday e-book. For anyone who knows me well knows that having to rest could have been quite frustrating to me. Instead, I have chosen to focus on being filled with JOY this holiday season. I have let go of my expectations and let go of the things that I can not control. This has allowed the peace of Christ to rule in my heart.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15
As I have taken time to rest, I have pondered a couple of things I want to talk to you about today, and those are SEASONS and GIFTINGS.
I want to be brutally honest with you here today. I have friends who have commented about my Christmas Home decorations and most of the comments have been very kind and encouraging, but for a few people, I am afraid it has caused them to fall into the comparison trap. Comparing what they are able to do in their home to what I have done in my home and this has prompted me to share a few thoughts with you that you might find helpful as you progress through the remainder of this year.
The goal of my holiday home is to create a warm hospitable home for family, friends, and guests and to inspire you to do the same as you invite others into your home this season. This will look different for you then it does for me and that is okay. God has given me a passion to decorate my home for Christmas, and the time, talent and resources to do it in a way that fits my personal style. It is my creative outlet and it is part of my gifting. My home looks nothing like it did a mere 5, 10 or 20 years ago.
I have friends who sing and are a part of a fantastic Christmas program at church we have every year as an outreach to our community, and that is their thing. My thing is to fancy up my home and invite others in to experience the love of Christ through my gift of hospitality. I have another friend who bakes amazing cakes and blesses others with her baking. She hasn’t always made these incredible creations, but this is something she has picked up since she is an empty nester. My point here is that we have all gifts from the Lord. He has blessed each of us with special giftings, and it is up to us to cultivate those gifts.
Which dovetails perfectly with my next point which is seasons. We all experience many seasons throughout our life. What is important to us in our twenties, probably looks, different in our thirties, forties, fifties and so on. The same goes for our resources and time. Some years we have more free time available to us then we do other years.
We do things very differently now that my boys are all older, then we did when they were younger. When the boys were little, we would wait until the coldest night in December, fill our cups with hot cocoa and head out the door to find the perfect real tree and that was the only tree we would put up in our home. Until one year when I bought a small artificial tree for the boys to have upstairs that we could put up much earlier and they could decorate themselves.
We loved the fact that we could put the tree up in November and leave it all throughout the New Year without having to clean up pine needles, remember to water it or be concerned about it being a fire hazard. Which began the transition from real trees to artificial ones. A transition from one season to the next.
I have a friend who is an empty nester but has also been caring for an elderly parent who just went home to be with the Lord. This friend normally decorates her home beautifully in the Christmas season but has chosen to only put out a nativity scene.
Which really isn’t that what the Christmas Season is really about anyway?
The nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ. The Great I am who humbled himself by coming to earth and taking on human form to live to die that we may be saved.
For the remainder of this year, I plan to throw out all of my preconceived ideas and expectations of the season out the window and rest in the precious gift we have been given through Jesus Christ. My hope is that you will show yourself some much-needed grace and do the same.
How will you choose to use your gifts, resources and time in this season of life? How will you choose to live for the remainder of this year? Begin pondering what you can do for the kingdom of God in this season of your life with the gifts that you have been given for 2018, but linger in the present of the here and now.
Choose to be present in these last few days and moments of 2017. Cherish the love of our Savior Jesus Christ. Be present, be intentional and love those around you well.