Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thoughts on Advent (a pledge) Part 1

Mr. and I had great plans of decorating for Christmas tonight.  But after getting home, whipping up dinner and wassail (which, by the way, how do YOU pronounce because Mr. and I disagree...), putting up the Autumn decorations, and pulling out all our Christmas stuff, I was absolutely pooped.

So instead Mr. pulled the tree out of the closet (we are blessed enough to have enough storage to be able to keep the tree intact and shove it into an empty closet) and we curled up on the couch to watch Home Alone.  Ya know... with all the decorations strewn about the house.

We'll get to decorating eventually, but while I was pulling out all the decor I got to thinking.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.  Well, really I do a lot of thinking ALL the time. I mean usually I can't STOP thinking.

But I've been thinking long and hard about Christmas.

At Altamesa we have been having a lot of discussions about Advent and what it means and how we can use Christmas as a springboard to inviting Christ into every aspect of our lives as we greatly expect our Savior's return.

And if you know me at all, I love Christmas.  It used to be my jam.  Fo reals.

I used to go all out and decorate like crazy.  I spent a lot of time listening to Christmas music (and I mean I would start in like September) and I would recreate and attempt to create memories.  And Christ was in my Christmas, but He wasn't my focus, if that makes any sense.

Well after several discussions about Advent and the practice of it and what it means to celebrate Advent, I got to thinking about my choices during Christmas.

Now, I enjoy a lot about Christmas, but probably my most favorite part about Christmas is the music.

I absolutely adore Christmas music and you only get to listen to it once a year!

And I listen to a lot of Christmas music.  All kinds too.  Secular and Christian.

But this year, I am trying to intentionally refocus my heart and mind on the death and resurrection of Christ and the hope we have in His second coming.  And so my pledge for the season of Advent (which technically starts on December the 2nd) is that I will only listen to music that will help me to reflect on Christ.

Now, obviously if I'm in the middle of a store and "Jingle Bells" starts playing, I'm not going to run out of the store.  I will also not shout "bah humbug" while watching television and "Santa Baby" comes on.  Though I might if I hear Mariah Carey singing "All I Want for Christmas."

Honestly, my heart just needs this.  My soul needs it.  I can get so caught up in the season that I forget why it's important that we celebrate.  And I do believe that it's important.

So my plan is to create a playlist that weeds out all of my secular Christmas music.  I'll be back tomorrow or Thursday with a list of some of my favorite songs and artists just in case you'd be interested in joining me.  And there are lots to choose from!

I did a little test today and as I skipped certain songs and focused on ones with a Christ-focus, I found that I heard them differently for the first time.  I connected with them more.  I felt God opening my heart as I reflected on what it meant that He sent His Son for us.  And he's coming again!

Ya'll, it was GOOD.

So if you plan on joining me, I would love to know!  I pray that it will bless you and that our true focus is on Him at this time and at ALL times.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Family Forever (I promise it won't suck)

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving.  I know that we did.  Even if Shelby was stuck in the hospital.  But don't worry, she got to open some of her Christmas presents early because of it.

She also informed me that I'm not keeping up with my blogging.

And if I want to make money I need to keep up with it.

Cause that's what it's all about.


As I was driving back to Fort Worth with Mr. I realized something.

I missed my church family.  A lot.

I missed my teenagers, I missed my co-workers, I missed Ladies Bible Class and my friends.  I missed going to work and spending time in the word.  I missed my FAMILY.

Now, I love my given family and my married family.  More than just about anything.  And I absolutely HATE that we don't live closer to them because I typically miss them often and a lot.

But my church family is so much a part of my life that whenever I'm away from them, I miss them.

Ya'll, I can't tell you how blessed I am to have a job that I adore.  That when I am away from, I can't wait to come back to.  God has given me a gift.

We are entering into the season of Advent and Altamesa is celebrating this season as we celebrate the first coming of Christ and prepare for his second coming.

There will most likely be a few more blog posts about Advent over the next few days because ya'll, I am SO excited about this.

There is a quote in 1st Peter that talks about how we should live our lives in GREAT EXPECTATION of the second coming of Christ.  Our hope.  And frankly our ONE WAY TICKET TO HEAVEN.  I love this imagery because I think that everyone has waited expectantly for one thing or another.  And the idea that we are waiting on pins and needles, that we can't WAIT to be with Christ and live with Him in Heaven... the whole idea gives me chills when I think about it.

And as we were driving home I realized that when we are all with the Father in Heaven, I won't miss ANYONE.  Finally, we will all be together.  I won't have to leave any of my families.  We will all be together.  For eternity.  (and I realize that might sound the exact opposite of Heaven, but I don't think it will be)

And right now, I can't imagine anything greater.

And that is something to look forward to.  And plan for.  And GREATLY expect.