Day 693: Leaving Luxury (Celebrating Advent)

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Advent season is here!

{If you aren’t familiar with Advent, the word derives from “Coming” and it starts four Sundays before Christmas… this year it started this past Sunday, December 1st… and it is when Christians anticipate the coming of Christ’s birth!}

I feel like, finally, everyone else has caught up with me and they are ready to celebrate Christmas now that Thanksgiving is over! (We decorated on November 1st so we’ve been in this mode for a while now!)

In the previous years I’ve always gotten a book or an app or a reading plan to celebrate Advent, but this year I decided that I wanted to do my own! It’s mainly happening on my Facebook, twitter, and Google+ pages where I am posting throughout the day on a typical focus.

My personal focus this Advent is giving to Christ. I mean, He has given me SO MUCH and since He is the focus, then I want to give HIM gifts. But of course, unlike my 6 year old, God isn’t really interested in Lego’s Lion Chi Temple… but He is very interested in me. in my actions. in my attempts to honor Him.

So each day has a focus like the past few days have had:

Day 1: Give Him your service.
Day 2: Give Him your praise.
Day 3: Give Him your luxury.

And I’m afraid that already Day 3 is going to be the most sacrificial gift of all.

Because for Advent, I’m going to give God the gift of giving up a luxury.

Diet sodas. Tea. Coffee.

On hold for the remainder of Advent.

Water only here.

Oh. my.

Because not having those things, well, it is going to get my attention… and that is why I am doing it. Like I said on one of my social media posts, giving up a luxury is like making a mental speed bump. It makes you stop and think, “Wait. I’m used to having this… why can’t I have tea? Ohhhhh! Oh yes! Because I can use this moment to direct my mind to Christ!

And really that is exactly what I want to be happening all through Advent… I want to be looking to Christ! Anticipating Him! And getting ready to celebrate Him!

Because when I really think about it, all of this “luxury” is really just stuff.

He is truly what makes my life luxurious!

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Day 685: Thanksgiving Thoughts

Thanksgiving is upon us.

And so are the blog posts.

My email inbox has been inundated with all kinds of recipes that could meet any, and I mean, ANY dietary need. Gluten-free, low-carb, fat-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers. You name it, someone’s made a Thanksgiving recipe to go with it.

{And really, I do understand why a lot of people need and want those recipes.}

Right now, though, I am not thinking about recipes, or ingredients, or calories, or weight.

But I am thinking about Thanksgiving.

And what I’m thinking about doesn’t really fit into a recipe. And it isn’t really diet advice. And it isn’t even really about food at all.

I’m thinking about what Thanksgiving really is.

And I’m thinking that I need to celebrate. You see, I looked up the word Thanksgiving at dictionary.com just cause I was curious. I mean, I remember in elementary school there was all the talk about the Pilgrims and the Indians and there was a big deal to do with like, I dunno, corn or something (which I always find funny because I can’t think of a single Thanksgiving during which my family ate corn). Anyway, the definition said, Thanksgiving: a public celebration in acknowledgment of divine favor or kindness.

It doesn’t say anything about food. It’s just a celebration. And as I’ve learned over the past 685 days of this covenant…

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A celebration does not have to be about food.

I can celebrate God’s favor by running around with my little kids in the leaves making a point to play so hard I come back into the house looking like I raked the yard with my hair.

I can celebrate God’s kindness by asking my mother to tell me a few stories that she recalls about my Mamaw being kind as we mourn her absence and yet celebrate that she has gotten to spent the past year in heaven.

I can celebrate all that God has done for me by cleaning the dishes for my Aunt Martha who is going to get to host our family Thanksgiving for the first time in ages!

I can celebrate all the kind words God has written on my heart by sharing a kind word of encouragement with each of my family members. My mother for defending my happiness all my life. My father for teaching me how to laugh at myself and the world around me. My brother for teaching me that there is only one place where the bible is wrong: there truly isn’t a friend that is closer than a brother. My husband for always, always, always allowing me to dream and plan and think and imagine even when my dreams and plans and thoughts and imaginations are not feasible.

And I can celebrate the freedom and forgiveness that Christ has given me, both eternally and here on earth, by focusing on blessing those around me this Thursday instead of focusing on the food around me.

I can look for as many ways as possible to BE the celebration instead of thinking about GOING to a celebration.

See?

Even just thinking of these things and I’m already SO looking forward to Thanksgiving, but my thoughts have nothing to do with sweet potato pie, or green bean casserole, or even that huge bird.

In fact, all of that seems so very insignificant compared to the kind of Thanksgiving I’m now planning.

Because I am planning on spending this Thanksgiving focusing on acknowledging the divine favor and kindness of my God and my Savior.

For He is truly my Thanksgiving.

 

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