Normally, during the month of December, my schedule is jam-packed full of traveling, church events, family get-togethers, and holiday parties. And I’m thankful that I’ve had these wonderful opportunities and life events for the month of December in years past.
But, this year is going to look a little different.
I love planning, going to holiday parties, attending Christmas programs, and other events this month. But, I’m actually looking forward to a different-type of December this year.
I’m looking forward to a December that encompasses a little more of the quiet and less of the hustle and bustle that often comes this time of year.
My son has definitely taught me the gift of just being present and not always “doing” and “planning”. It’s an amazing gift that I often struggle to fully appreciate and accept at times. I’m hopeful that this month will reiterate the importance of having the stillness and quiet in my life during this time we celebrate our Lord and Savior’s birth.
My side of the family decided to combine our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration in one weekend this past month. My brother and sister-in-law are joyfully expecting their second child during the month of December, so this made it easier on them to plan ahead for our double-holiday get-together this past month. And I’m looking forward to planning a special trip to go visit them within the next couple of months after our newest family member arrives.
For my husband and myself, having one get-together for my side of the family helped us out a lot because we live about five hours away from my side of the family, so the cost in driving can definitely add up. Also, driving with a 14 month-old-baby can easily accrue several stops along the way, making the trip even longer. So, I’m happy that we consolidated our travels into one trip.
Along with the lack of travel for our family this month, my church normally hosts a lovely and meaningful Women’s Christmas Tea event on the first weekend of December, but this event had to be canceled this year due to our new church building not being completely finished. An alternative location ended up not being an option for the event.
I was initially disappointed, as this is such an amazing event for the women in our church and community, but clearly it wasn’t meant to be this year, and so I’m looking forward to using this day in another way this December.
My husband and I also usually plan on attending a Christmas program and New Year’s Eve event. Last year, we went to the Nutcracker Ballet and we did a New Year’s Eve cooking class- both were phenomenal!
But this year, we’ve decided to hold off on planning to do any specific events or programs for the holidays. We’re still in our money saving-mode! With exception to my lovely husband planning a mini-getaway- which will be the first one we’ve had since our son was born last year.
Our little guy will be staying with my in-laws for a night. It will definitely seem a little weird without him, but I know the quality time with my husband is much needed, and it will be a fun time for us to get away for a couple days.
All-in-all, I’m actually looking forward to less planning, less events, and just going with the flow of what the days and weeks bring this next month. I’m setting aside the hustle and bustle and the noise, to intentionally seek the quietness, stillness, and peace that come with Jesus.
I want to intentionally create time within my home to stop, relax, and appreciate my surroundings and the people around me.
I’m looking forward to spending a night just driving through and looking at Christmas lights within a neighborhood. There’s always something magical about just looking out a car window and starring at the beautiful lights, admiring the work of the homeowner who took the time to decorate for Christmas.
I’m looking forward to relaxing at home, spending time with my family, and just listening to music and watching Christmas movies. It’s nice when there’s no place to go, nothing to do, and there’s time to relax. There’s something peaceful about Christmas music, and it lightens my heart and soul. It also helps me to deeply appreciate and better understand the love of God.
I’m looking forward to what impromptu things will unfold when our family doesn’t have so much planned for this month.
I’m hopeful there will be more conversations, laughter, giving, and love, as well as reflection over what this season is truly about.
But, I have to be intentional about seeking peace and quiet during this time of year because if I’m not, I can easily fall back into the idea that this season is about “me doing”, “me planning”, and “me going”, when really, it’s not about those things at all.
I’m hopeful that God will use this time of quiet to soften my heart, and open my mind to worship Him and experience the season in its fullness, as it is a season of love and peace as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
As we are within the first week of Advent, I have been taking the time to do an Advent study to further the quieting of my heart and to spend quality time in God’s Word- remembering the true meaning of the season.
I have decided to follow the Women Living Well Advent free downloadable ebook. The book is titled, Keeping Our Hearts Focused on Jesus, and it’s by Courtney Joseph and the contributors
This Advent study includes a weekly Bible study as well as a devotional passage, which I really like. It then breaks down each day of the week by providing daily scripture readings and reflection questions and a time of prayer.
This study also contains daily activities to keep the family involved in understanding the true meaning of the season. And it even includes some weekly Christmas baking recipes for those that love to bake this time of year.
I have enjoyed doing a few of Courtney Joseph’s Bible Study plans through the Women Living Well website. She and her team do a wonderful job of putting together the studies and using the S.O.A.K. method for the daily reading questions and discussions.
I like that the Women Living Well website allows each person to take on the amount of reading and “homework” that he/she feels comfortable with, and it also allows studiers to be a part of online discussion groups through Facebook and the website.
It’s a great resource, and I highly recommend it.
I hope that in this season you find the peace and joy that only Jesus can bring. Thank you for stopping by The Fish Full Life.
How will you and/or your family be spending this Christmas season? Are you making time for reflection, peace, and quiet during this December?