"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain."
~Psalm 127:1

December 2, 2013

The Greatest Gift: December 1

I had a feeling I would be back in December.  Just a simple suggestion from a loved one, "you should do a devotional for Christmas."  What do I know?  What wisdom and insight can I give anyone?  There is so much that I don't know, that I am unsure of.

I was hoping to get this book (The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp) for Christmas, but by then it would be "too late" to read.  It is an advent book that you are supposed to start on December 1, and goes up until December 25.  Yesterday, I was lamenting the fact that I would probably have to wait until next year to read this book at the appropriate time.  Just an hour after this, I was surprised to find this book in my hands, my own copy!  God, You were definitely at work in this!

I can't make any promises of how spectacular this may be.  It very well may fall flat.  Or I may have to stop short again, but I am hoping to write about what I learn each day from reading this book, what God shows me.  And of course just like my 31 day series in October, I am getting a late start.

I think I will share the Scripture from each day and any thoughts I may have had from the reading or good quotes, and then try to answer the questions posed.


"Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot—
    yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root.
And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

In that day the heir to David’s throne
    will be a banner of salvation to all the world.
The nations will rally to him,
    and the land where he lives will be a glorious place."  -Isaiah 11: 1-2, 10

Advent means coming.  The Advent of Jesus' birth, the coming of Jesus.  It was so long awaited.  Prophesied by many prophets in the Old Testament times.  Why was there so much time in between the prophesies and the coming?

Waiting.  It seems to be a common theme recently.  And when that happens, I should pay attention, because it usually means God is trying to point something out to me.

I didn't understand the extent of this joyful waiting thing when I started the 31 days of writing on my blog in October.  I still don't understand it, really.  I think I am in a perpetual state of waiting.  But what does it mean?

What am I waiting for this time?  After the impossible has become reality.  After the longed for thing is held in my hands.  What am I waiting for now?  I still feel it, will I always be waiting for something?

One of the questions from the book:

"What are you waiting for, yearning for this season?"

I almost laughed or maybe dropped the book when I saw this question.  I've been asking myself this question recently.  What am I waiting for?  My answer has, so far, always been "I don't know."  But if I think about the question in terms of this advent season, then I may have an answer.

I am longing to not feel rushed this Christmas season.  Which is so difficult, because I always feel rushed.  I feel rushed trying to leave the house for any planned or unplanned activity.  I feel rushed trying to come up with and make (because that's how it's going to be this year) Christmas gift for family and friends, because every year it comes to the week before Christmas and I don't have any ideas, time, or money to be able to give a gift that I think someone will really like.  I feel rushed even thinking about putting up Christmas decorations.  I mean December is only so long, so I only have a limited time to have these decorations up (although, I don't because our tree stayed up year round because I just didn't care to take it down).  And Christmas music is only played for about 30 days out of the year (or longer these days).  And then there is Thanksgiving, and I'm still trying to drag that holiday out a little longer because I don't want to skip over it like it seems the world is trying to do.

Just writing that last paragraph makes me feel stressed out and tired.  And I really do not want to feel that way this year.  I don't want to buy into madness or commercialism, that my Christmas has to look a certain way to be Christmas.

I am waiting for hope and joy.  Those feelings I get at night with the tree lights sparkling and not a care in the world to bother me.  But I am yearning for those feelings to last through the year, not just one night, or one month.

That is my hope for reading The Greatest Gift.  I want to be able to slow down and breathe in this season.  I want to really focus in on what really matters, what is, what I have, what I've been given.

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