I cannot believe it is already Thanksgiving week, can you? I love this time of year…the weather, the anticipation of the celebrations to come, time with family and friends. But I also dread it because I know that soon it will end. I have one of those realist perspectives that causes me to only half enjoy things…knowing that they will soon be over. Sort of a downer, I know. But I have learned, over the years, of a few things that help me to enjoy the season more thoroughly. I thought I would share a couple with you-perhaps you need this encouragement right now too.
One thing that helps me to enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas is to have my shopping for and crafting of gifts for Christmas completed by early December. This is by no means a small task…I know! And I am not here to give the 10 step plan for getting this done, I’m just saying if you can do it, I think it will a blessing to you. Some years this seems like an impossible goal. Honestly, some years it doesn’t happen, like the year we had an October baby, and probably the year we had a February baby. But for the years it does get accomplished, it allows me to be very intentional with my gifting-rather than making hurried decisions, and if/or when it is accomplished, to have the freedom to enjoy the opportunities the season provides without those things looming over my head or taking the joy out of relaxing and spending time together. A huge help in making this possible has been following a cash envelope budget system…thank you Mr. David Ramsey. Which means that I can start shopping as early as January or whenever there is cash in the envelope and I can buy gifts as I see something that suits the receiver.
Another key for me to thoroughly enjoy the season has been doing an advent or preparation of the heart for the season. There is nothing more distressing than getting to December 26th and feeling like we’ve missed the target again, am I right? The past couple of years I have done Ann Voskamp’s, “The Greatest Gift” book (link below). I love the daily devotional (for the month of December) and tracing through the Bible, from the beginning of time, the story of Jesus’ coming-a baby in a manger as the greatest gift to humanity. Now, I understand that Voskamp’s style isn’t for everyone, although I enjoy her a whole bunch, for some it is like reading something written by Yoda of Star Wars fame. There are other wonderful advents available to read, such as the She Reads Truth app., which offers an advent for the month of December. I personally really enjoy Voskamp’s poetic and artistic style, in fact we also have her children’s or family version advent book; “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift-A Family Celebration of Christmas”, that allows the whole family to read along in a child friendly understanding. It’s been helpful for me to try to start my advent book a little early…as there will certainly be days in December that I will miss and by starting a little early I can still complete it for Christmas.
Preparing in these ways, both physically and spiritually for the Christmas season, has been a great gift to me and my family. So, as we embark on another Christmas season and together prepare our gifts, our homes, our families, and our hearts for celebrating the gift of our Lord Jesus, I pray that we honor Him with our choices and that our sights stay steadfast on Him.