Monday, December 8, 2008

Being all here ...

There's a famous quote by Jim Elliot: "Wherever you are - be all there." Words to live by, for certain.

So much of the time we are caught up in the next moment without ever really enjoying the one we're in. I am guilty as charged. All the personality tests I've ever taken identify me as a visionary. I live in the what-could-be's. Which is great if you want to buy a fixer-upper house. But not so great if you want to slow down and simply enjoy life right where you are.

Christmas can be the worst. I plan and shop and spend and clean and bake and make and decorate and wrap and pack and mail. Everything about the customary American Christmas propels me towards December 25th with such force that I slam through it instead of landing in it. The day arrives. In a blur. And then it's gone. And there's a void.

Sunday morning I was sitting in church watching a sweet couple light the second candle of the Advent wreath. It was a beautiful moment. Ah! I caught myself! I was enjoying the moment. THAT moment. Whoa!

And then another thought occurred to me. I have enjoyed this Christmas far more than any other I can remember and December 25th is still a couple of weeks away. Why has this year been so special? As I pondered that thought while we sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem," it dawned on me that each day has become a treasure because I'm looking for the treasure in each day.

We are lighting the Advent wreath each Sunday. We are opening a drawer on the Advent calendar during family devotions each night at bedtime. And we are also documenting this Christmas with the 24 Days of December scrapbook. Each day I've gotten to mine a magical moment to photograph. Each day we've sat down as a family ... even one night with a friend who was here for a sleepover ... and read God's Word and talked about just what it means that God became a man and lived among us. Each devotion brings forth a jewel, adding to the treasure of the holiday.

As I work to be present in the moments of each day, I find myself, like Mary, rejoicing in my Savior, who is filling my Christmas season with Himself. And doesn't that just fit? He is, after all, the great "I AM."


One of the daily treasures I've discovered is that our Friends are out there celebrating Christmas with us. Jenn sent these photos of the traditions her family has started during this Advent season.

Their Advent wreath...

Their Advent calendar...

It's not too late, you know. Even if you haven't done the first thing to celebrate Advent this year, jump in where you are. You can find Scriptures here. You don't have to worry about "catching up." Just jump in and go. Same goes for starting and missing a few. Jump back in today.

Remember God is "I AM" ... He'll be right there in the moment with you, wherever that moment is.