Lately, we've been busy preparing for Him! Advent is well underway in our home and I've been taking time to step away from some things in order to spend time in quiet.
The tree is trimmed, decorations are in place and I counted my nativity sets as blessings and was surprised that I have 15! I picked up some new sets from my trips to Ecuador and Peru and Javi made one at VBS so that's included in the count; as well.
I've been doing a lot of thinking about bedlam (chaos) in the midst of Bethlehem (peace). I had devotions the other night at Friends Women and spoke on this topic. We are also using some materials with the children and youth about it.
Our world is chaotic, but it has always been. Jesus came to us in a stable in the midst of a very chaotic time! While there was peace in the stable, the city was a mess! People and soldiers everywhere and what are the chances that Joseph and Mary were the very last arrivals to the city? I doubt it. There were people EVERYWHERE!
So it is today. People everywhere. Unhappy people who think that they are owed something. Happy people who think they are owed something.
I am working hard at stepping back and allowing the chaotic flow to pass me by and not get swept away by the torrent waves. I have stepped away from the banks, not even wanting to peer over the banks in fear that I might fall in.
I'm trying to create the peaceful stable right here in my heart and thus, my home.
I'm preparing for Him! For his birthday celebration and for His second coming!
(Paco's nativity set he made at VBS. Next year, the creche!)
(More from Peru)
We (DH & I) are in the beginning stages of really changing up how we "do Christmas" around here. After reading The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, we could very well have a true "#UpsideDownChristmas" in our future. To understand what the means in detail, read Ann's blog post. In the meantime, here is our "Jesse Tree." We are using the free ornaments Ann provides on her blog to go with the chapter readings.
If you're tired of feeling burnt out, exhausted and overwhelmed each Christmas, then you might be ready for an #UpsideDownChristmas, too!
We added the Jesus Storybook Bible to our Advent time after I read about it on Adriel Booker's blog. There is a free printable reading plan to lead up to Christmas Day. One nice thing about this one is the kids can do it over breakfast before leaving for school. We just use this book for our devotion time this month. They don't need a parent overseeing any activity or anything, so it helps teach them to be responsible for their own devotion time.
Next year, I hope to have this advent wreath added to my collection. It's a little spendy but if I save little by little, I can buy it without it being a hardship. There's a lent and Ascension portion that can be used with this wreath and I would love to have it for Lent... we shall see!
My blessings overflow and I'm still counting my #1000gifts. Life may be hard but God is always good. Always.