Monday, December 29, 2008

Worth the Effort

Nancy Wilson recently wrote:
May you all enjoy your post-Christmas celebrations. I know many of you keep going for the full twelve days. Learning to rejoice and celebrate is a real discipline that requires patience, stamina, practice, and endurance. So go for it! God must be pleased that we are making progress!

So true! It is easy to want to skip out on things because it is just too much work. Celebrating takes time and effort...but it is worth it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Church Year Perspective

Angie says:

"But back to Christian living in general…one of the helpful aspects of the liturgical or church year calendar is that it helps us be balanced in our Christian walks. During the Lenten season, we fast and confess our sins–a season of penitence. Then comes Easter (which really ought to be the biggest and nosiest and most joyful celebration of the whole year!) And really, Advent has been traditionally a time of reflection and preparation for the real Christmas feast–the twelve days of Christmas, which starts on Christmas Day, not before."

Summary by Peter Leithart

Peter Leithart has some helpful insight on the topic I have been on the last few to balance celebrating in grand style with remembering the poor and staying focused on the meaning of the season). He says that Christmas (like all our feasts) means enjoying an abundance of good things and then asks, “What are we to make of this as Christians?”

“There are some – let us call them liberals – who want us to feel guilty for the excess of our celebration. How can we be eating all this chocolate and making this great expenditure when people are hungry and lonely and vulnerable. And there are others – let us call them conservatives – who say that the hungry and lonely and vulnerable are not our responsibility, so we should celebrate with a clear conscience. Besides, if someone is hungry, so goes the thinking, it’s probably their own fault anyway.

Scripture does not allow us to be either liberals or conservatives when it comes to Christmas, or when it comes to anything else for that matter. Against the liberals, we have the Scriptural pattern of abundant and rich and frequent feasting. At their feasts, Israel cut loose and enjoyed food and drink, and enjoyed it abundantly. . . . But we are not conservatives either. The fact that we are to feast and rejoice with a clean conscience does NOT mean that we feast without any thought for those who have nothing to feast on. Israel is commanded over and over not to forget the Levite, the orphan, and the widow. . . . Remembering the Levite, the orphan, the widow and the stranger was not a way of smuggling liberalism and guilt-manipulation into the back door. Israel was not supposed to refrain from feasting because there were orphans and widows around. Rather, they were commanded bring the orphan and the widow into their feasting, so that the needy could share the abundance of their joy and of their goods. We in the new covenant have an even more profound reason for doing so: God has shared the abundance of His life with us in Jesus, and so ought we to share with one another.

So, feast this Christmas in good conscience. Lay your hands on whatever your soul desires, and eat it in rejoicing and thanks. But look for opportunities to share your abundance with the orphan, the widow, the aged and the poor. God has filled you when you were empty, and helped you when you were helpless. Go and do likewise.”

I originally found this quote here.

Another Thought on Christmas

Another great post for Christmas can be found here. Gotta run! Baby is crying :0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

But Still Celebrate in Grand Style!

Here is a good follow up post to the video I put up. It reminds us that even though there is a place for simplification, and we do need to remember the poor, there is also a place for extravagant celebrating! She even says this:
I'm inclined to think, though, that some (not all) may embrace this “Advent conspiracy” stuff as a way to justify their own laziness and/or curmudgeonliness. To those folks I say: stop griping about the celebration and start celebrating! Put up an extra strand of lights. Give your kid a little trinket every day from Christmas through Epiphany (the twelve days of Christmas). Buy extra hot chocolate and marshmallows for the family to enjoy while you have your Advent devotionals and singing.*

* Believe me, believe me---I’m exhorting myself here as much as anyone else. I’m often ashamed at how much my dislike of mess and disorder and noise dictates what I do or, more often, don’t do, with my kids.
Good point!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Poor or Consumerism?

Even if you don't join this organization in their efforts, it would be wonderful if we all spent a bit of our money helping the poor during this season. Blessing our families during this time is wonderful! But, we could simplify a bit and help a lot.

So there I was...

...reading our Advent story to the boys. Jeremy was gone to a meeting, but the two purple candles were lit, the boys were being good, and Remy was crawling on the floor. The big boys even like to dim the lights. All was well, until I told Riley to scoot back and sit still. As he was "scooting" I saw something behind him. I squealed, "Uuugghhcckk!" and told every one to stay still. I pulled Riley up and confirmed that he had a poopy diaper that had literally squished out everywhere. I think he had been grinding it in for a while before I noticed. And, to make it even more fun, he was sitting in the center of the couch. This is the one 12 inch square that touches the back and both of the cushions. This is the biggest poopy mess in my life as a mom.

So, how does this story fit with my goal on this blog..."to challenge and encourage us all"? Well, be encouraged that you are not cleaning up this mess!

(...I am not really sure how to go about this, but I know it will include a lot of Kids and Pets. Thanks Dolly for first showing me that stuff.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

GREAT and Practical Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Devotions

Here is a link to a wonderful Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Devotion put together by a Randy Booth. My husband came across it and then I saw it at Femina. It has a 1 page intro explaining the season a bit (very helpful...did you know that Christmas is the FIRST day of the 12 days of Christmas? I love that!). Then it has 1 page or less for each day. It is a quick read, but with lots of meat in it. I really like the last section on each day. It is an application to put to use what you just learned. Neat!

Down Time

Here is a wonderful article about how (and why) to have some TRUE down multi-tasking allowed. Take time to just "be" and enjoy something that is purposefully not productive. The Sabbath in a great time for this. We mom's tend to work right on through sometimes. But God says we NEED rest and I would say that he knows better than we do...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Some Great Books

Here is a fun little book club that Simple Mom is hosting in the coming year. I think I am game for most of the books. I don't plan to get involved with the comments and chatter about the books...I am enjoying limiting my time in cyberspace. But, I like having a list that others have recommended and having a timeline to commit to. She took many suggestions and came up with some interesting topics. I am particularly interested in Your Money or Your Life, Last Child in the Woods, and It's All Too Much. I read For Women Only a few years ago and it was interesting. What do you think? Are you interested in any of these books?