It’s January. We’ve packed up the ornaments, found homes for the gifts, put away the stockings and bid farewell to our tree. That tree that served as a Christmas reminder of our Savior, the One who loves us so much that He chose to come be with us. Jesus, the infant who made His way into this world, pure and holy, without sin. Jesus, the One who came so we may have life and a path to God. Jesus, the One who bore nails in His flesh at the end of His life so that He may then send the Holy Spirit to be our One and Only, who lives with us forever.
What do you do when the tree, all decorated with reminders of Jesus and Joy, comes down, leaving a sort of emptiness?
The space is clean and the house more organized. The mantle holds less now. It’s contents are simpler, less cluttered. And somehow this helps me breathe deep sighs of relief for the return of uncluttered spaces and organized shelves.
But I have to wonder, why does putting away all of Christmas give me relief? I wonder if maybe what my eyes see is a reflection of how my heart feels because we’ve crammed too much into too few days.
Have we put Christmas in a box? The birth of our Savior…in a marked-on-the-calendar box on the 25th day of December? Do we celebrate, and then forget? Or move on? My heart cries for more…more CHRISTmas, less me. Less of me means more of Him. And my heart cries some more…no, not this year. This year will be different. This year NEEDS to be different.
But how do we carry the most important Gift we’ve been given throughout the whole year? How do we keep it alive and new all year long?
It’s the middle of the day. We’ve completed all that was on our do-do list for this day and there’s still several hours left before Daddy comes home from work. I don’t have anything else on our agenda. And honestly, I’m tired. So, I’m content to just wait. And my boys ask, “what can we do while we’re waiting?”
I smile because this is a question they ask often. When there’s nothing else going on and we’re waiting for the next “event” or major happening in our day to arrive…there’s the waiting. And they want to know how to fill that time. It’s a valid question, really. And it makes me ponder the waiting we do all year for that magical twelfth month to arrive. That time when darkness lights up with twinkling lights and spirits rise because there’s cause for celebration.
And there is cause for CELEBRATION!
But what do we do now that it’s over? Now that it’s January and we go back to the waiting.
This year, we led a book study here at Managing Your Blessings that completely changed my whole perspective on Christmas and rocked my world. We read The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp. It was amazing, to say the least. We spent 40 days preparing our hearts for the miracle of Jesus.
And it was in those 40 days that I was shown why Advent is so important. That time leading up to December 25th each year is meant for ACTIVE preparing, praying and participating in the unwrapping of the best Gift we’ve ever been given.
I know Christmastime has passed, and we may all be tired of even talking about it. But if we really think about it…it’s not the Gift of Christmas we’re tired of. It’s all the self-made, store-made parts we’re thankful to put away for another year, right? Now that it’s the beginning of a New Year, we are given the opportunity to prepare our hearts all over again…all year long. God is inviting us to actively take part in and unwrap the Love story He wrote for all of us.
So, what can we do while we’re waiting for the biggest celebration of the entire year? REJOICE! Yes, all year long, REJOICE! And because rejoicing is actually joy in action, I wanted to share an acrostic of action steps we can take to help us rejoice in the Lord and create space for Jesus within our hearts, always.
R- Remember God’s Faithfulness.
Take time to think back over this past year. Was it a challenging one? Take time to remember all the ways God met carried you through…then, take it a step further and write down each prayer of thanksgiving to God in list form.
E – Enter your prayer closet
It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even have to be the same place every time. Just find a quiet space each day where you can enter into God’s presence and pour out to Him and then allow Him to fill you up til you’re overflowing with Peace and Joy!
J- Join hands with another sister
We all need friends, sisters in Christ, who will hold us up when we’re struggling, pray for us when we need it and keep us accountable in our faith. And sisters are great for REJOICING with as well.
O- Overlook offenses because Love covers a multitude of sins
If we wanted to, we could be offended all the time about a million different things each day. But it would drastically hinder us in our faith walks and would seriously crush any chance of rejoicing in God’s goodness. God says His Love is bigger than any offense and can cover it completely while keeping our hearts softened if we keep looking to Him.
I- Inspire your family to slow down with you
Often, all it takes is a moment of inspiration to get everyone to slow down and focus on the most important things in this life. Get outside. And intentionally look for and talk about God’s miraculous Creation.
C – Celebrate the big and small things
Go ahead…find a reason to make a cake or throw an impromptu party and celebrate at all times of the year. Make a big deal out of anything that brings you and your family great joy.
E – Express gratitude together
Each day, find a special time when you can talk with your sons about what you’re all thankful to God for. And then write these things down together in a journal every single day.
We’d love to hear how you will REJOICE and keep Christmas alive all year long.
Megan Spires @ DevotionalMotherhood.com