Sunday, December 15, 2013

Some Days



My friend Holly's Christmas ladder
True confession--I had to stop reading Ann Voskamp's Advent book--Day 8 was the last day.
"The Greatest Gift" is probably the most beautiful, thought provoking, underline-worthy book I've read well, since her first book.  But it was just too much.

Many things are just too much these days.

Sandwiched in between generations--a mother in law who is slipping away and needs daily care and attention.  Grandchildren whose parents call for help when the plumbing backs up and people are mean and kids won't listen.  Grown children who I need to spend time with. And me in the middle, just losing a job (I wrote about that here), ramping up with a new one, balancing just enough sanity to hold it all together.

Something has to give.

I won't be doing Christmas as usual this year--my artificial tree is still half in and half out of the box. In order to make room for it, I had to stack up two baskets' worth of books....that's too many words all vying for my attention. I put all that noise away.
The decorations will not be put up; I think we're stringing popcorn instead. Less tinsel and sparkle.  
No Christmas Eve service this season--ailing family members prohibit the travel.  
Probably no outside lights in the windows, no cross on the crossbeams, no manger on the lawn.
It will be a different Christmas.  

There will be less. 
Less words, less noise, less brightfully cautious words that are telling me to listen. And there are so many people with perfectly wonderful things to say.
But it can be too much.
Which is why I put away that lovely book about Advent.  The one about watchful, heartful waiting for Jesus' coming to earth.

And I picked up the devotional I set aside--named, aptly Waiting on God by Andrew Murray. I've been reading it since October of last year. And there are only 31 'days' of reading. So you can see I've been waiting a long time for whatever it is God wants to say and do....

I DO want to celebrate the king in a manger who quietly upset the world with his un-King like ways, that saviour swaddled by a refugee mother in a dark stable. 

But I want to hear The One who comes softly saying,
"Be still.  Listen.  Watch for the light.  Come away...."
I want to hear Him....and it's getting harder to push away the noise.

So I'm not shopping (much)but spending time listening to my precious friends and schoolchildren. 
Sharing a meal with my sweet sisters.
Singing in the kitchen while I cook instead of along with the Muzak at the mall.
Celebrating, instead by sharing books I love--Santa's Favorite Story

The only other Book I can make room for right now is God's Word--I'm making my only-est attempt at listening to that still small voice that says,
"I came down a ladder for you.**
To bring you peace. To keep you safe.
To be the more that you need, 
the most that you need, 
the all that you need this year."

**"Then He said to him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you all, 
you shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God 
ascending and descending upon the Son of Man!"  
Jesus, the gospel of John Chapter 1, verse 51
from "The Greatest Gift"  Chapter 8
~~~~~~~~~~~

18 comments:

  1. Oh friend, so glad you are doing what you need to do to make Christmas about your relationship with Jesus....that's a whole lot of stuff to be dealing with at any time, but at this time of year it makes it more so. Praying for God's strength, encouragement. love and provision to be yours this season.

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    1. Elizabeth, thank you so much for your encouragement. I appreciate you.

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  2. bless you dear friend, as He speaks and you listen
    I know He has something special just for you
    in no one else's voice but His

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  3. I understand this, Jody. I'm walking through my own "not this year" Christmas. The one thing we both can know is that God is with us...He is Immanuel...and not shopping or putting lights on the house or going to Christmas Eve services changes that at all. He is with us right where we are. Our King has come and He's coming again. Hallelujah!!

    May Jesus use the words of Andrew Murray to speak to your heart. You can save Ann's book for next year or return to it when you finish Murray's. As she said in the video yesterday, we are advent people all year round.

    Much love to you, Jody.

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  4. You know ... it sounds sweet and perfect, amidst all the craziness. Sending much love from Chicago. So very proud of you, dear friend.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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    1. Glenda,I just outright exhaled when I read your words. It's so nice to be understood. I appreciate you.

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  5. I just knew we were twins! In my quiet times lately I've been searching out Scriptures about listening to the Lord, discerning and following His counsel. And yes, you DO have to tune out even some of the perfectly good, spiritual "noise" to hear Him.
    The Lord bless you and give you deep, refreshing rest during this busy time. {{Hugggs!}}

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    1. "Twin girls from different mothers" eh? I just think it's the Holy Spirit's sacred echoes....thanks for your sweet words.

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  6. Less can be so much more, right? And anytime we put something down in order to really hear God, well, I think that is the definition of pressing into Him.

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    1. "Less is more...." for sure. Actually, less is enough right now:-) Thanks for reading, Jen.

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  7. Oh yes to this! God meets us where we are and doesn't drag us to where we "should" be or where everyone else says we "need" to be. He isn't a God of seasons as much as He's a God of all the time who created seasons.

    Rich blessings as He leads you ever closer to His heart, because that's what it's all about. {hugs}

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    1. Thank you, Amy...I love that idea--that God meets us where we are. He is the God of all time who created the seasons. Great perspective.

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  8. Yes and Amen! God can give us any kind of Christmas He wants...and He has! I keep hearing him say, "Stop trying so hard! Just relax!" You give me courage to do less, be less, say less, read less and even embrace my restlessness! Love you, my faraway soul friend!

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    1. You're right, Kel. God can give us any kind of Christmas present He wants. :-)

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  9. Oh Jody, the pressures this holiday season places on someone on top of what you are dealing with in your dailies, it does make you set it all down and sit with God for a moment. You are an example to me, instead of trying to make it all happen you are doing what is most important 'pressing in' to Him. Love to you!

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    1. Marlece, it's kind of a release to just let go.....and save what spiritual and emotional energy I have to stay in the spirit of the season.
      Thanks for your encouragement!

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Thank you, friend, for stopping by. I so appreciate your thoughts....they light up my day!