The reason why I wanted to do this Thankful Thursday post is to cultivate my heart in gratitude. I know am so blessed in so many ways and yet I quickly get distracted from those blessings when I get overwhelmed with life. One thing that is kind of over whelming me now is just the approach of Christmas with all the added activities, and getting my house ready for Kenny’s visit next week, and completing some projects I want to give as gifts, and... I guess that is more than one thing.! Also my heart is not quite in the spirit of Christmas. Partly that is due to the fact we won’t be together as a family this year and I think I am dreading that. Yesterday I got most of my house decorated. We haven't done the tree yet as we are waiting to decorate it when Kenny and Becky come next week. And I have been listening to Christmas music, which I love! But the thing that is helping the most and the thing I am choosing to be thankful for this week, is Advent.
I did not grow up in a church that celebrated advent. As kids, we had this felt strip that hung on the wall and you counted down to Christmas by eating a tootsie roll each day. [And I kind of remember my brother Marty eating off of more than his felt strip!] Its not that I was without teaching about the Christmas story. I just never prepared for Christmas in my heart.
I think I discovered what Advent really was when I wanted to make Christmas more meaningful for my kids. A woman in my homeschool group shared how they had made an advent tree and had devotions and put up a different ornament each day. So I made the tree and the ornaments and we began having Advent. The book even came with questions to ask and a carol to sing. We had a hard time with the singing part, but we tried. My kids probably have more memories of me moaning “how behind we are in advent”, but I still like it. It is an accountability for me. It is a tool to get my mind thinking about Christ’s coming, both at His birth and now as I am waiting His return. It turns my heart from the decorations, the projects, and the missing family members, to the reality that Christ came to bring me salvation! Yesterday I read how He changes my identity. According to Isaiah 62:10-12, He calls me Holy, Redeemed of the Lord, Sought After, and my life is No Longer Deserted! Truths like that are what I want to overwhelm me rather than my circumstances or “to do” list. So, I am going to work on one of those projects now but with a grateful heart!
By the way there are fifteen days left until Christmas