Archive for December, 2013

A Fresh, New Start

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I’m not a big new year’s resolution girl. They are often big, enormous lifestyle changes that one tries to change in one day. Every year I do a little one, just for fun, though. Last year, I resolved to not go to WalMart. I did pretty well, up to December. I went three times from January until November, and then THREE TIMES in December alone. 

Last year, I saw a bunch of blog posts about picking a word for the year. It’s kinda like a resolution, but I like to think of it as more of an in depth study or priority shift. I remember reading one on Hope, one on Patience, one on Joy. When a situation came up, these authors or moms, whatever, were going to try and change their reflex attitudes. I don’t know if I missed the Cool Bus (AGAIN) but I haven’t seen any posts like that this year from some of my fav bloggers.

While I think most resolutions are kinda tacky, I love the fact that this is a new year. A new, fresh start. It says that His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23), but I have such a hard time feeling new on the Wednesday of a bad, hurried week. That swamped, tired, overwhelmed feeling can just cover the whole month. For me, this December has been a time to reflect and see where changes need to be made. My life is kinda easy in the way that I really get to choose most of my day. My schedule is made by me, and the children follow my lead. We eat meals at the same time every day, we school at the same time. This gives me great freedom, but I can easily become a slave to bad habits and routine. I recently read the book, “Large Family Logistics” by Kim Brenneman which really changed how I look at our days, and I am seeing some underlying issues that need to be worked out. I see this week as a time to just revamp my thinking and my attitude. A fresh new spring in the middle of a very bleak winter.

So, my word for 2014 is PRESENCE. In my life I need more of this. I need to bask in God’s presence every morning, before I start my day. Even if it is for 30 seconds, I can’t let the fact that a bad night or a late morning totally shifts my priorities. Even if it is only two or three verses to mediate on while I begin doling out milk cups and hooking up my coffee drip, I need that and I cannot let it slide. I can’t let my all-or-nothing attitude change how I NEED my Jesus in the early morning. Breakfast is a priority. Whether we have full out homemade waffles with fruit sauce and bacon, or Cheerios in the car on a super busy day, or anything in between, I make sure that we have something. I must put my Daily Bread in the same category.

The second part is being in my own PRESENCE. I am always thinking, organizing in my head, replaying things I forgot, really the list is endless. I can’t count how many times I look up to see the Funny One talking to me, and I HAVE NO IDEA what he said. Or being on the phone, dealing with an errant child as well as talking to a friend in turmoil. I’m always missing out on one of them. I am so tired of having to apologize to the kids when they have to say something more than once. And my phone?! Don’t get me started on the life distraction that is. I curse the day I got that darned thing, because my life is changed and it’s hard to get back to the way it was.

So this year I am going to concentrate on being in God’s presence, and the presence of those around me, as much as I can. If it means scheduling less to cut back on texts, messages and emails, then by golly, that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to be here, in the present, even if I would rather be on facebook, or in my “multi-task box,” or frankly, my “nothing box.” I don’t know if I’ll get more done or less done, but I will be there, at least.

So what’s your word for 2014? What’s an area you have been waiting for an excuse to change? I would love to hear about it!  And for the record, this blog was not edited by my HH, so there might be more mistakes than normal. And a “by golly” or “hokey doodle.”  He tries to take those out when he can.

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Happy Holicrazy {Part 2}

We’ve all seen the pictures, the taglines, the defiant “I’m Keeping Christ in Christmas.” I love facebook for keeping alive the passive aggressive war of semantics, beliefs and agendas. After all, it’s your facebook, you can post what you want, right?

So, are you? You know, “keeping Christ in Christmas.” Let’s start a checklist. For me, too.

Have we used your credit card to buy gifts you can’t afford?

Have we bought a Christmas present for ourselves?

Have we engaged in gluttony, envy, pride, wrath, greed, etc. due to “the holidays”?

Have we aided and encouraged the consumerism in our children, and the children around us? 

I think we can all say that we have definitely done some of these. So what’s the point here?

Well, I think the point is this: When we post ownership of the holiday, and all which it is in our present day fashion, we are owning a holiday that doesn’t truly exist anymore. Christmas is so far removed from the manger scene. So far removed from the virgin birth. So far removed from the stable. I think that I can safely say that if you ask any of our children the best part of Christmas, they will say the gifts. Most of Christmas in Canada, 2013, has NOTHING to do with a stable. (Check out last year’s post, Happy Holicrazy!)

Can you see Jesus shopping the malls, buying toys made in China by other little children, spending too much, dead tired, snapping at His children when He gets home because He took on too much AGAIN?

Probably not.

So what are we doing? What are we doing that is so different from the “world”?

It’s a rhetorical question, I don’t really have an answer.

I wonder how people who don’t profess to live for Jesus feel when we say, “I keep Christ in Christmas.” Do they feel the love of Christ that first drew us to Him? Are they feeling the arms of His grace enveloping and removing their sins? 

All this to say, of course, I am trying so hard to keep Christ in Christmas. So hard. We try not to get our kids a lot, because I don’t want that association of gifts=Christmas. We are teaching them to say “I like” instead of “I want” when they happen to venture into a toy section. They don’t see catalogs, flyers or commercials, so that’s narrowed it down a bit. We include them with the giving, either for gifts from Compassion (things given to other children/people around the world in their name) or baking cookies for neighbours, or helping in the community. But we still have so much worldly stuff: stockings, Christmas tree, lights, big dinners,mistletoe (my hubby’s good-looking, what can I say). I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of it: but it has NOTHING to do with Jesus. 

So, is this the hill we want to die on? The proof that we love Jesus? The proof that we are saved by His grace? The facebook picture that we are “Keeping Christ in Christmas?” 

I would like it a whole lot better if it said:

“Trying my hardest to keep this holiday about Jesus, even though I’m going to mess up and the kids are going to get spoiled, and I’m going to go out of budget a little; but I know that He loves me anyways, and that He will forgive me, and that His grace is the reason I get out of bed each morning, and if you want to know more about Him, and what He can do in your life, please ask me.”

Might have to work on the wording.

Happy birthday, Jesus!