Two years ago today, I officially graduated from college and had published this little book of devotions named Defining Moments: Overflowing with Living Words. A lot has happened in the past two years, but I still love words! And I still love to celebrate milestones!
In honor of the anniversary of the book and God’s goodness in my life, I’d like to giveaway a FREE copy of Defining Moments! Subscribe by email or follow me in via wordpress or RSS feed, and I will enter your name in a random drawing to be announced on Monday, December 23rd! Please let me know in the comment section that you are a new follower!
Also right now until the end of the year, you can purchase the book through Paypal on the BOOK page. Just click the cover of the book! Sale price $8.00 and FREE shipping and handling.
Here’s a glimpse into one chapter::
a usually sudden manifestation or perception of; the essential nature or meaning of something (www.m-w.com)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 NIV)
I have a confession to make. I have been looking for Christmas under the tree for many years now. This tendency manifests itself in my actions. I host Christmas parties, decorate the whole house, bake cookies, buy and wrap presents with care. All of this is very satisfying to me because I love Christmas; yet something is missing. I set up our Advent candles, meditate on Christmas devotions and sing the carols with heartfelt joy. But the joy fades soon after the tree is packed up and only cookie crumbs and candy canes remain.
Last year something new happened. I experienced the peace of the season. Peace accompanied me, not busyness and tiredness, my perennial companions of the holidays. And no complaining, “Oh, I can’t wait until this is over.” Or even worse, “What will I do with myself during the bleak winter ahead?” I still engaged in many of the holiday trimmings, and yet I did do some things differently. I didn’t put all of my hope into a magical Christmas season. I didn’t demand that Christmas come through for me. I didn’t try to recapture some childhood ideal. I just enjoyed it. I let it be the Christmas that it was going to be. I didn’t get upset if it wasn’t exactly like years past. And most of all I focused my heart on the true meaning of Christmas, Christ’s arrival into our world to save mankind from our sins (Matthew 1:21).
One December morning, my agenda included gathering my family around to decorate the tree while listening to carols, but alas no one was to be found. My husband had graciously retrieved the decorations from the attic, put up the tree lights, and had then retreated to his newspaper. I asked the boys if they wanted to help decorate the tree. “Not really,” was their reply. So I sat in the corner to cry. I won’t go through all my pining, but my pity party included the realization that no one would care if the tree was up and decorated, except me. I had to decide to put it up for my own joy. It was hard, but I’m glad I did. And really I think the three guys in my life would have wondered where it was, if I had given in to my “nobody cares” mood.
When I look back on why last year was different, the event of putting up the Christmas tree became an epiphany of sorts, a moment that revealed the demands of my heart. Since I believe the Holy Spirit resides in my life through faith in Christ, I will give Him all the credit for changing my experience. He pointed out to me that I have idolized the holiday for far too long.
Thus began my turning away from Christmas idolatry. For the most part our Christmas may not have looked much different than years past, but it definitely was experienced with less stress and greater joy. My demands were transformed into desire to spend more time with friends and family, as well as time to just be quiet. Instead of the flurry of the season, I sensed God inviting me to get to know Him better. Christmas had come to reside in my heart.
Linking with Soli Deo Gloria Party!