In a span of six days, our family celebrated my son’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and my birthday.
It was fun!
But sprinkled in like jagged scraps of sandpaper amidst the sparkly confetti of celebration, were moments where I became frustrated, grumpy, and rude to my husband and kids.
One mid-celebration-week morning I was especially rough and scratchy – coarse grit sandpaper. My husband gently brought this to my attention and I couldn’t deny it.
Reality was, my unpleasant exterior was a manifestation of an even more coarse interior; one which had misplaced priorities and purposes.
I was prioritizing performance over people and purposing to achieve for the sake of praise rather than produce from a heart of love. I was grasping for control of the throne of my heart rather than delighting in the One who has given me a new heart.
Sometimes learning isn’t about acquiring new information, but comes from remembering. Remembering what you’ve already learned and know to be true.
And this I know:
The holidays aren’t about celebrating my delicious food or perfectly picked gifts or party planning skills (I’m not saying I’m great at any of these, I just have grand ideals). Celebrations aren’t for me to make or do special things, that maybe, hopefully, will earn me some respect or praise or accolade. This time of year isn’t a stage upon which we all must perform.
I’m learning more and more to receive God as the King of my heart and to stop trying to usurp Him. When He is on the throne, I delight in Him alone; He gets the glory when my skill and effort is bent toward serving others in love.
Maybe we all need to become like the shepherds and wise men of old who came to worship the Christ Child. Maybe we all celebrate best when we bow to the Creator and Savior of the world.
I want to let what God has revealed to me this past Thanksgiving help me to move forward into the even bigger season of Christmas with a posture of humility and an attitude of praise.
Will you bow your heart to the Lord and celebrate Him with me?
In addition to learning what it means to really celebrate, I’m reflecting on what else I’ve learned this Autumn.
Here’s my list:
I Need To Be Connected To Nature – Back in September, we experienced layer upon layer of smoke settling into the Mid Willamette Valley due to forest fires. We were told to stay inside as much as possible to avoid the oppressive and dangerous atmosphere. The sky was so filled with smoke that it looked like a thick fog. It was during this time, when it was advisable to withdraw from nature, that I began to ache for even a glimpse of the foothills to the East. Though I’m not a die-hard outdoors woman, I was desperate to dwell in connection with creation – to smell, see, touch, feel, and hear the fingerprint of God all around me. Part of me felt lifeless without it.
It’s OK Not To Finish That Book – This fall I learned to say no to finishing what I started. I was reading a novel that was entertaining in it’s own way, but lacked the depth and meaning I search for in literature. So, I stopped reading after the first five or six chapters. It’s in my nature to finish what I’ve started, so this was a difficult decision to make, but in the end I’m glad I did. Saying no to finishing an uninspiring book allowed me to say yes to more meaningful uses of my reading time.
Names – I’ve learned names galore this season! Three months we’ve lived in our new community and I still have more names to learn. The beautiful thing about all these new names is the story which lies behind each life that name represents. I’ve met so many precious people already and look forward to encountering many more!
It’s interesting as I consider my list of learning to realize that all of it has come partnered with something difficult or unpleasant. The smoke was yucky. Moving is hard. Quitting is against my nature. And it took God revealing some ugliness in my heart for me to learn a bit more how to walk in His ways.
It’s a good reminder that what seems bad or uncomfortable may be the very thing that is bringing about beauty and growth in our lives.
If you’ve been encouraged by reading my list, you may enjoy reading what other bloggers are learning and sharing on Emily P. Freeman’s website.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and maybe learned something along the way. On this last day of November, maybe you can take a few moment to reflect too.
God bless you with His Peace this Christmas season!