I have shared the devotions A Heart to Hear by my friend Jennifer before. I wanted to share the one she wrote today and pray that it blesses you as we begin the month of December.
Here we are, poised on the brink of the Advent season, like a roller coaster at the peak of the first hill. Now more than ever, we need to hear the Lord! Everywhere we turn, voices are shouting for our attention, our time, and our money. Pleas for giving to those in need compete with commercials touting the latest trends in toys. The desire to focus on simply celebrating the birth of Christ collides with a calendar that is suddenly covered with special events. Most stressful of all is trying to figure out what will bring joy to each and every person on our lists without causing a financial meltdown. Suddenly the joy of the season is wavering as we take up the burden of making Christmas wonderful for all the people we love. Does anybody besides me tremble a little at the daunting task of decorating, planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, baking, gift wrapping, gift giving, memory making, and don't forget photographing and scrapbooking the whole thing? Oy vey!
So...here in my quiet place, I'm coming to the Lord and I'm asking Him to make my mind new about Christmas. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to let the Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes. When it comes to preparing my heart for Christmas, that's exactly what I need Him to do. First on the agenda is dealing with the fear I feel over wanting to make everyone happy and being pretty sure I will fail. When I brought these fears to the Lord, He told me gently, yet firmly that He alone is responsible for each living soul. He said, "You can love, care and do what I allow you to do, but you will NEVER be able to make them happy or holy or whole. This is MY work. You are required to trust Me and stay out of My Way!"
There are many things I can give my family for Christmas, but happiness is not one of them. What I can give them is myself, at peace, simply loving them with no guilt, no stress, and no strings. I can give them freedom to be who God is making them to be. I can give them the gift of enjoying the imperfect instead of driving everyone crazy in my obsession to make everything flawless.
One more deep breath, and I think I'm ready to look forward to Christmas. My heart feels lighter, because I know now that my Abba Father has His own plans for this special season and He alone is able to make Christmas exactly what it needs to be for each one that I love.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
3 hours ago