We are on the cusp now. A little inching, crawling, climbing left to go, and we will be at the height of the official turn of the holiday season, at least as it is celebrated in our current U.S. culture. Recipe saving, meal preparing, gift shopping has, for some, already been in full swing. But for the tree-lot of us, next week we will exchange our regular routines for a trip to a Marshmallow World for six weeks.
Elves are on the shelves and Advent calendars are hanging on doorways. Before long, we’ll have zipped along one day after another with holiday traffic, peppermint mochas, Christmas decorations of every design and literally all the bells & whistles.
For me, Thanksgiving Day seems to have morphed into a sort of super-holiday season – I hardly ever wait to put up Christmas decorations because the twinkle lights are so delightful. Thanksgiving décor has become an October thing anymore. By the time we enjoy sharing gratitude as extended family and friends over a turkey bird meal – there’s little evidence of the holiday anywhere else in the house.
The Macy's Day Parade ushers in the official holiday spirit – but this spirit resembles more of a Shopping & Shutterfly spirit, than a Sovereign Spirit of Salvation.
Maybe it’s having a child this year that is making me more sensitive, more aware of this season’s celebrations. Or maybe it’s something deeper. I’ve been pondering legacy a lot lately, I even blogged my ponderings every day in October. Dr. James Dobson released his life-work last month that encapsulates his contributions to healthy families. We invested in his DVD series about building a family legacy, and we are excited to host couples in 2015 to watch with us. (This would make a great gift idea for young families by the way, or anyone really!)
There is something stirring in my soul that wants to redeem my days, live with purpose, and use my influence wisely in my generation. I’m growing restless with the hurried pace I’ve kept up these many years – and especially this time of year. I think God has more for me, us – more of Him to experience – and I don’t want to miss it.
One day on the calendar in particular serves as a hallmark of my/our consumer Christmas culture: Black Friday. Even the days before and after are absorbing the shock of spastic shopping.
I confirmed it today: 156,000,000 posts for Black Friday online! If you reviewed one link every minute, it would take you over 296 years!
Now let me make this disclaimer: I’m all for bargains! I will be at a store the day after Thanksgiving, hoping to get some items on deep discount. Good stewardship is not the issue I’m addressing here today – it’s our rhythm and focus any time of year, but especially during this holiday stretch.
It is my favorite time of year, always has been, and not because it’s without heartache. A couple years ago I wrote about the bittersweetness of Christmastime, and the hope of “Home” it brings to those of us who are called God’s children. This homeward vision is what I want to cultivate a little more this year, this lifting of my eyes to the skies where I will rise someday. And not to a cloud, but to a city full of twinkling Light all year round!
But here is the reality: if we do not choose this focus, choose to slow down and remember, choose to adjust our vision – it just won’t happen.
We. Will. Miss. Him.
Not down the aisle with the toy trucks, nowhere in the Starbucks, or among the Christmas wreaths, we won’t find Him – even underneath. (My apologies, blame Dr. Seuss and his wiley Grinch for my rhymey ways today.)
I’m not saying God is not in the aisle with the toy trucks, or sitting in the Starbucks, or fluffing bows on Christmas wreaths, or hanging stockings underneath. He could be, if we meet with Him there. If we invite Him into our rhythm and acknowledge Him in our celebrations.
What if we did. What if we did meet with God by the toy trucks – even in a whisper:
Thank you, thank you for someone to buy toy trucks for, God.
What could the season be like in our souls? What could it be like for others we engage with this season?
I want to invite you to join me in a new holiday tradition. A way to pause, slow down, sit a while and make space for God to meet with us and settle our hurried souls down before the big turn comes.
Next Monday, November 24th I’d like to invite you to celebrate with me a White Monday.
What is White Monday you ask? Well, you tell me. White Monday is a day where we create space for time with God – heart time. A fast if you will. A fast of what may normally fill your soul – good or bad.
A fast from hurrying.
A fast from worry.
A fast from food.
A fast from noise.
A fast from social media.
A fast from shopping – online or in stores.
A fast from cleaning. (I can imagine many signing up for this one!)
You pray, and you decide. What is it that tends to occupy your attention (other than work – unless you have lots of vacation time and can take White Monday off!) How can you stop, be still, rest, reflect, listen, respond, pray, ponder, sing, laugh, slow down and look up?
Do that then. Monday. White Monday.
And maybe, just maybe, we will find in this space a wonder returning, a winter wonderland TJMaxx cannot offer. And if we find it, maybe we will love the experience so much – we will want to return here again. And again. And again.
The good news is that we don’t have to wait 365 days for it to come again. God is with us all year long – our Emmanuel. He wants to make merry in us every month of the year, oh ‘tis the seasons!
So are you up for it?
Be with us God, collect us each and together with you and stretch our hearts to know you, experience you, to taste and see – You are good! Make us merry with you! And let Your merry work in us draw others to You this season!
Feel free to share any insights from your White Monday experience – either here, on Grace Women’s Facebook page or email me!
Have a Wonderful White Monday and a Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted on Thu, November 20, 2014
by Heather Yates