Monday, December 19, 2011

A Graceful Christmas

                Christmas gracefully approaches for me.  Usually I have a list a mile long of shopping, wrapping, addressing, baking, and decorating to do this time of year which I frantically dive into right after Thanksgiving while listening to my favorite Christmas music.  In November, I started making the lists, but then set them off to the side.  Occasionally, I have picked them up and started a project at a turtle’s pace.  Amazingly, almost everything is done without the frantic attitude well except the baking.  I am still debating whether to do that or not.
                I keep wondering, what is so different about this year.  My daughter and I are doing the advent wreath almost nightly while reading a story about a Jewish girl who at the end gets to meet baby Jesus.  We have gone to all the band concerts, a choral concert, recitals, The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, and Christmas pageants.  The cards are sent, packages sent, gifts bought and almost wrapped.  All of this has been easy and relaxed and fun.  I didn’t decorate as elaborately as I normally do and the tree just went up last week.  The other thing I haven’t done like normal is baking.  I usually bake three to four different types of cookies and decorate them.  I also make a couple different types of candy plus lefse.  Since I am dieting, I haven’t done any of the cooking and baking.  This may be the big factor of my relaxed attitude, but I do think it is more.
                Looking over the past year, I have put more of a focus on my relationship with Jesus.  Now, I have always prayed, studied, and attended church and other activities relating to faith.  I do think I have had a very close relationship with God my entire life.  The difference this year is that I have focused all of these activities into a project, the project being this blog.  I am always thinking about what I want to write next.  By doing this, I listen more.  I immerse myself more.  I am now using my talent (whether it be good or not) for God which is enriching my life a hundredfold.  How great is that?
                A while back I wrote a letter to my son.  I was frustrated with what I was supposed to be doing in my writing and my ministries.  I always feel pulled in so many directions in both areas of my life.  In writing, I am pulled to write about theology, history, fantasy, young adult, adult, and where ever else the wind will take me.  In ministry/volunteering, I am pulled to Eucharist, school, Family Promise, football, Girl Scouts, the library, funerals, and this list can go on and on.  He wrote back that we are called to do these things in His time.  I started letting go at that point.  There have been other moments of clarity from my mother-in-law and a friend or two.  Instead of hitting all my activities with huge amounts of gusto or looking for opportunities, I am listening. 
                Sure, my book hasn’t made any editorial progress.  In fact, my fiction writing has come to a screeching halt in the middle of the road.  I am not worried.  It will come back in time if it is meant to be.  My giving to others is decreasing in the area of football, but ramping up in Girl Scouts and school.  I might this year add some Family Promise time.  I will wait for other opportunities to come in God’s time.  I will probably get frantic again because that is who I am.  For the moment though, I am enjoying a very relaxed advent season, listening and waiting.
                Blessing to you all.

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