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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Rest in the Holiday Season

Rest: v
3. To be quiet or still: to be undisturbed.
5. To be quiet or tranquil, as the mind; not to be agitated by fear, anxiety or other passion.
11. To be satisfied
12. To lean; to trust; to rely;
13. To continue fixed.
16. To abide; to remain with.
17. To be calm or composed in mind.
Definitions from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Does this sound like your holiday season? Unfortunately it often doesn’t sound like mine. I want it to, though. I want to be undisturbed, tranquil. Not agitated! No fear. No anxiety. Satisfied – that’s a big one. How much rest and peace are lost because we are unsatisfied with our looks, house, clothes or cooking skills? Way too much in my house. Only when I remember to lean, trust and rely do I have rest. And no comparing! Comparing destroys satisfaction and therefore our rest as well.
By continuing fixed, abiding in the Prince of Peace I can be calm have a composed mind (I really have to work on that one). I can have rest. I can rest. So can you.
I posted Monday about Resting in the Holy One. I talked about planning my Holidays with God and my family.
Here's what we came up with:
I am resting in remembering. We are using Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree Journey to remember the wonderful story of God's love and redemption. We are also reading Christmas is About Jesus: An Advent Devotional to remember Jesus in the midst of the commercialism and different ideas we encounter in our culture.
We are choosing one baking project per week - some fun but not too much to achieve (I hope).
I want time for Jesus more than ever, more than anything.
Putting up the tree. Driving to look at Christmas lights. A few favorite foods. That's all my children wanted. Simple. I'm thankful. :)
 I'll be posting something, though I'm not sure what exactly for my annual Countdown to Christmas, Focus on Jesus.
More on that tomorrow or Friday.
Be sure to check out and enter the Christmas Blessing! Details and participating blogs.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rest in the Holy One During the Holy Days

>Our culture is so busy. Expectations are so high. Holidays seem to magnify everything. Holidays in themselves are not the problem. God set up days for Israel to remember. They were holy days. (See where we got holidays, and perhaps went wrong). Holy is set apart, different, special. The days were to remember Him, His goodness, His deliverance, and His promises.

It is so easy today to get wrapped up in the preparations, the presentations, and appearances. If you go to the store, look at magazines, get on Pintrest everyone seems to have better ideas and everything more together. Do you post your every reality online or do you post your best? Most everyone is posting their best for you to compare to.

I have a challenge for myself this holiday season. You are welcome to share it. See I wrote this book called Christmas is About Jesus. I wrote it because I believe it’s true. Yet every year after the black and orange and skeletons finally leave the stores, replaced with the sparkle and lure of Christmas I get discouraged. I have some ideal so deep inside I don’t even know what all it involves about Christmas. I want a big tree, I want peace, and I want fun, baking, games, and gifts treasured by the receivers. In there I also want the perfect house and quiet conversations on the couch lit only by the peaceful white lights on the tree. None of these things I want are wrong. Somehow without me knowing they become too important. Looking at the decorations in the stores or on Pintrest fill me with a miserable longing and feeling of failure. I have to ask myself, “If Christmas is about Jesus why am I affected so much by decorations?” 

So my challenge is to do with my holidays what I have started doing with every day. I’m asking God what is important to Him. What does he want me to get done? Of course the top of the list is remembering His deliverance and blessings. How will I do that this year? I’ve only started asking.
 In past years I’ve done different things: choosing to express thanks for each decoration display I see, enjoying the beauty where I see it. Asking the children what is important to them and getting it scheduled.

This year I think my method has been to avoid. Not a good choice. So I will take my challenge and plan my holidays with God this year. He doesn’t care what I do or don’t make for dinner or from scratch. He has no requirements on how extensively or simply my home is decorated. He wants me to prepare my heart. Do I cherish the gifts He gave me in Jesus so long ago? Do I cherish the gifts he has placed in my home that I - theoretically at least - would be trying to make Christmas so special for?

I challenge myself and you to have holy days this year instead of just holidays
How can you simplify? 
What is not realistic this year? 
What will you do to remember, recall, and recite?
Ask God, your husband and children what matters most to them, you may be surprised.

Woman to Woman Ministries presents the Christmas Blessing Giveaway!  Join thirty-two bloggers for ideas and advice on how to remain peaceful in a stressful season.

In addition to sweet encouragement on keeping the peace in your home and heart, we are giving away a blessing of $320 in PayPal cash.  The winner will have the money transferred to their PayPal account where they can use it for Christmas celebrations, groceries, bills, whatever they need.  To enter to win simply complete all of the tasks in the rafflecopter below. 

Participating Blogs…Please help support these wonderful bloggers!
1.      Woman to Woman Ministries http://www.w2wministries.org/
2.      Sweet Blessings http://www.jenifermetzger.org/
3.      Treasures Found in Him http://www.debibaker.org/
4.      Leaving a Legacy http://www.leavingalegacyblog.net/
5.      Kelly Martin Stories http://www.kellymartinstories.com/
6.      Happy Little Homemaker http://www.happylittlehomemaker.com/
7.      The Encouraging Home http://www.theencouraginghome.com/
8.      Christian Women's Voice http://christianwomensvoice.org/
9.      Beautiful in Him http://www.allisonjonmorrison.blogspot.com/
10.  A Simple Life, Really?! http://asimplelifereally.blogspot.com/
11.  Managing Your Blessings http://www.managingyourblessings.com/
12.  Thankful Homemaker http://thankful-homemaker.blogspot.com/
13.  For Unmarried Christian Women http://www.for-unmarried-christian-women.com/
14.  The Chuppies http://thechuppies.com/
15.  Homemaker by Choice http://www.homemakerbychoice.net/
16.  Leaving a Legacy http://angietolpin.com/
17.  Love, Friendship, & All Things Girly http://www.bethanyjett.com/
18.  Simply Audra Marie http://www.audrasilva.com/
19.  Young Wife's Guide http://youngwifesguide.com/
20.  A Biblical Marriage http://abiblicalmarriage.com/
21.  Becoming a Strong Woman of God http://www.becomingastrongwomanofgod.com/
22.  Unmarried http://www.unmarriedmovie.com/
23.  CSAHM http://csahm.com/
24.  Renewing Housewives http://www.renewinghousewives.com/
25.  Mothers on Mission http://mothersonmission.org/
26.  Awakened Anew http://awakenedanew.com/
27.  The Father Knows Best http://www.thefatherknowsbest.com/
28.  Our Simple Farm http://www.oursimplefarm.com/
29.  So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler http://www.soyoucallyourselfahomeschooler.com/
30.  Getting It Right - Occasionally http://www.gettingitright-occasionally.blogspot.com/
31.  Only A Breath http://www.onlyabreath.com/
32.  Kove's Blog http://www.kovesblog.blogspot.com/

Christmas Blessing Giveaway Rules:
No purchase necessary.  Must be 18 to enter.  Void where prohibited by law.  This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated by Facebook.  By entering this giveaway, you agree to release Facebook, Woman to Woman Ministries and all participating blogs of all liability.  Contest ends at 12:01am EST on Tuesday, December 11, 2012.  Winner is randomly chosen by Rafflecopter and will be emailed on December 11, 2012, then funds will be transferred to winner's PayPal account.