I am not the biggest fan when it comes to decorating for the Holiday. A couple years ago, along with my teen daughter, we did a study in minimalism for Christmas. We didn’t decorate at all, and we put aside gifts for each other. We donated money in honor of those on our list we wanted to buy for to a clean water campaign in Africa through our church.
And honestly, we loved it. Our church decorates, so when we wanted some quiet time around decorations, we went there. It was fun to look at lights as we drove around at night. We took the money we saved on a tree and gifts for each other and donated even more to the clean water campaign.
So here it is a few years later, and the desire to look all festive just isn’t there again. There has been no purposeful decision, but it is a week after we usually put up a tree, and we haven’t done much. Part of it is a new kitty, and a lack of desire to keep on top of his shenanigans where a tree is concerned. Part of it is just better things to do?
So today, while I was shopping for a house-bound elderly woman that I love, I noticed these little mini trees sitting outside of the grocery store, aptly named table top trees. Real pines, maybe 2′ tall or so. I decided: perfect. It is home and sitting proudly on a little table. Still bare, but already I smell pine in the air of the small house I live in. The cats, including that new kitty, are checking it out. If the tiny tree is still upright and alive in the morning, I think I will add a string of lights and some ornaments!
I have been reminded that the place where Christmas is really important is inwardly. If my heart isn’t ready to accept the gifts of Christ this Holiday season, nothing outward will mean anything. So I have been concentrating on an inward focus for some time each day. And I can already tell that I have angered the enemy greatly, because he is doing all he can think of to do to thwart my meager efforts.
Because of this inward focus, I eliminated all sugar from my diet yesterday for two reasons: to take away one of the most persistent idols in my life (idols are such attention-grabbers and focus-stealers) and to better prepare for what is coming in 2019 where eating is concerned. There are many ways that you can be sure that sugar is an issue for you, none of which is pleasant in any way. Your body will not appreciate you taking away something it clings hard to. If you want to see if you have addiction issues with sugar, try eliminating it entirely for a bit; it will make sure you are left with no doubt.
For me, the Advent celebration is a beginning, not an end. Instead of the year closing out with Advent, the New Year is led in by Advent, a season where hearts and minds have been focused on what really matters. I can enter into a new year with plans well made and intentions well defined. The hard part is not letting a month of planning take my focus off the Reason for the season.
I am narrowing down my word for the year.
I am preparing my Power Sheets.
I am making my 2019 book stack. I estimate how many books I can finish in 52 weeks. I have twenty five books on the list so far, for a whopping total of 5546 pages. Divided by the days of a year, I need to read 16 pages a day. MANY days I read so much more than that, but the secret will be reading daily.
Today I received my Franklin Covey planner. It was kind of silly how hard I worked to find the perfect planner. And I receive it and it is NOTHING like I had anticipated?? But it is actually BETTER.
Instead of one large planner, it is 12 separate months of planners, set up in a daily format. There is a two page spread per day. Each month has financial planning pages. AND, there are two extra spiral-bound books, one, an address and phone number log book and one, monthly spreads for 2019. This I may keep open on my desk. It’s a beautiful blue color. I must admit, when I sent off the order electronically, I believed that the planner I had ordered would work fine for the year, and I could always try a different one in 2020 if the Franklin Planner wasn’t perfect. Well, it looks pretty perfect. It isn’t girly and decorated, but that was the last thing on my list, so I can forgo that for functionality!
Advent deserves a key verse, right? Since I am feeling as if a bit of warfare is happening in my little corner of the world, there is no better verse than James 4:7 this year.We can battle against Satan ’til we are half dead, but if we just SUBMIT and RESIST, God will handle Satan Himself. And He is much more able than I am, for sure!!
It’s a snowy evening here in my neck of the woods. Not heavy snow, but light pretty snow. My favorite weather. It is a cozy evening at home. Kind of a sweet evening. And I am grateful for that when it appears!