The Spirit of Christmas…

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It’s that time of year again.  And by that time, I don’t mean celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, I mean time to buy a bunch of crap… I mean well-thought out gifts for people.

I know that I drive my husband and mom crazy when they ask me what I want for Christmas and my reply is “nothing… I don’t know… or I’ll try to figure out something.”  Honestly, I don’t usually want things.  I told my husband that I wanted the bathroom painted.  That would be my favorite gift!  Yet, he still feels the need to buy me something.  So, I’ll have to figure out something to tell him so that he’ll be happy that he paid money for something to give me.  Y’all, I truly struggle with this!

Most of us want deeply to give at Christmastime.  We want our family, friends, kids’ teachers, Pastors, bus drivers, mailperson, hair stylist (you see where I’m going here… where does it end?) to know how much we love and appreciate them.  So, we feel that the only way to do that is to go buy something that they may or may not want.  I don’t like this.  It hurts me.  Yet… I buy, too.  Because Heaven forbid that you don’t buy… even worse, what if they buy for you and you have nothing to return?!  The horror!

The problem is that we are all in different financial conditions.  You may buy because you have excess, but someone else may be buying instead of paying their light bill or just racking up credit card bills that they will never be able to pay.

This year, I have kicked it way back.  I (I say “I” because my husband is currently on ship so I’ve been doing all the buying) have bought my boys two gifts.  Each got the one big thing that he wanted and then something else that they probably won’t care at all about. HA!  The rest of my immediate family got what they asked for… but again, the vicious circle of telling someone something just to make them happy to buy you something.  Teachers and bus driver each got nominal restaurant gift cards… hopefully, it’s the thought that counts.  As far as my friends… y’all are getting food.  Sorry I ruined the surprise.  😉

I asked two of my friends to spend time with me instead of buying junk.  So, we are going to a movie together.  THIS… this is what Christmas should be.  Share yourself with the people you love.  Let them share their lives with you.  Invite them over.  Give them the gift of your time.  Your money might be endless, but your time certainly is not.  What does time look like?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Invite people over for dinner
  • Go out to eat or a movie
  • Rake their yard or do a chore that they can’t do themselves
  • HAND write them a letter or card expressing how much you love and/or appreciate them (I’m telling you this would make anyone’s day!)
  • Do a project together, go to a class together
  • Adopt a truly needy family with a group of friends

This is just a beginning.  Get your mind working.  Be creative.  I’ll bet if you are just straight up with your friends and family, you would find that most of us feel the same way.  We love each other… we feel obligated to buy for each other… but we don’t really need more crap (we buy it for ourselves all year-round).  So, start a trend (maybe for next year)… step out of the materialistic box and give the people you care about a little (or big) piece of you… your heart.  There, you will find the true meaning of Christmas.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

The Hallway…

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Have you ever heard the saying “when God closes a door he opens another” or maybe it was a window?  Either way, you know what I’m talking about.  That is an old saying, but it’s not from the Bible.  I do believe that God does shut doors in our lives and that He opens them, too.  But, what happens in between?

I’m at this weird place right now in my head.  (No comments from the peanut gallery!)  I feel that God is taking me on a new journey in ministry.  Not like a new job or city, but a new way to serve.  I feel like He has gently led me out of one room and closed the door.  I’ve walked out of that room and started my way to another… I just don’t know which one I’m headed to.

Have you ever felt this way?  Maybe you lost or left a job, maybe you moved to another location, maybe you got a divorce, heck… any number of life changing situations… or maybe it’s just a subtle whisper.  Either way, you are on a journey, but not sure of your destination.

God doesn’t call us to be in control, just active participants.  He wants to lead us, but we have to move.  We have to put one foot in front of the other and go towards the doors.  If it’s not open, we move to the next.  We trust that He loves us and has our best interests at heart.  We trust that He will catch us when we fall.  We trust.

So, if you are coming out of a door, keep walking the hallway.  Eventually, the right door will open.  Keep walking…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Love Letter…

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photo-nov-24-5-00-50-pmHave you ever had someone ask you “why do you love me?”  Over the past near 15 years, my husband has asked me that quite a bit.  Sometimes, I think it is because he has trouble finding his value in himself.  Other times, I wonder if it’s because I just don’t do enough to make him feel it from me.  I’m not really sure of which is correct, but since he’s gone right now, I’m feeling a little sappy.  I’m going to try my best to put it to words… even though I don’t think he ever reads my posts.

When we first met, we worked in the same building.  He had given a friend money, with no expectation of getting it back.  I saw him sacrifice things that he might want so others could have what they needed.  I saw kindness, generosity, and caring.  I fell in love with that.  He opens doors, gives rides, works hard, washes dishes… I fell in love with that, too.  I have watched him quietly do the dirty work that mostly goes unnoticed, but makes a huge difference.  He has a servant’s heart… and I love it.

He drives me crazy.  I mean like up the wall, pull my hair out crazy… and I love that, too.  My whole life I quit things when they became easy.  Easy is boring.  I never took the easy road… I chose the road less traveled… most times to the horror of my parents.  But, while walking through the briars and weeds in the woods, I managed to find my way to him… twice.  I love that he knows all my crap and loves me anyway.  I love that he tickles my feet, even though I want to stab him in the eye when he’s doing it.  I love that we are loud… I love that we are silly… I love that we laugh.

I love that he is calm when I am not… and I am calm when he is not.  I love that he takes the boys to get icees and always brings me back a candy bar.  I love that he would buy me the world, yet doesn’t understand that I already have it.  I don’t love when he’s gone, but I love that he serves our Country… and I most love that I get a chance to miss him… to get butterflies… to be excited to see him… even after 14+ years.

I love when he smiles, even though he thinks he looks goofy.  I love when he prays, even though he thinks he’s horrible at it.  He prays simply, but if you be still and let him go… there is a great humility when he speaks to God that is beautiful.

Mostly, I love that when we stand face to face and he puts his arms around me, I can lean my head in… and there is this spot on his chest where my head fits perfectly… like God made it just for me… and there, I feel safe.  I love you babe…

photo-nov-24-5-02-25-pm“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:7-9