Truthfully, We are not Decorating this Year!

Truthfully, We are not Decorating this Year!

We have always purchased and decorated a tree the day after Thanksgiving, but not this time.

Truthfully, we are not decorating this year. I know. WHAT? We are in the middle of moving into our fixer-upper and there are many details yet unfinished and more boxes from storage than I remembered still needing to be unpacked. I haven’t even found my Christmas stuff yet!

Twenty-seven years ago, Mike and I celebrated our first Christmas together and purchased a tree that was bigger than we had decorations. I had grown up with colored lights and an artificial tree. He had grown up with a live tree and white lights. He won my heart and how to decorate a tree that year and love was the garland and grace that filled our tiny apartment.

This year, we moved from our house to an apartment and then into our new-to-us house and have not, to date, even thought about a Christmas tree. Even though it has been our tradition to always decorate the tree on Black Friday, it is not happening this year. We may get one when the furniture is finally in place and the house in a semi-state of order. If not, it will be OK because I have learned that grace is the garland of love that fills our lives and the faithfulness of our God never ends.

In the middle of our mess and messy lives and finding what our new traditions will be in our Empty Nesting Season 2, where is the presence of peace? When the presents, packages and bows are put away, will we have experienced the presence of Jesus? When the lights are entangled once again on a shelf and stored away, will the Light of Christ be shining outwardly from within my heart? Will joy be untamable? Or will the cloud of too much to do and unrealized expectations hide the truth of peace on earth and in my heart? Will the presence of Christ permeate each day or will the Light of the World within me be dimmed by depression, doubt and another holiday gone by without the gift of Sabbath? Will surrender shine like a radiant beam from His holy face to mine?

Will surrender shine like a radiant beam from His holy face to mine?@DeAnna_Morris3 Click To Tweet

How to Practice the Presence of Jesus:

  • Be Intentional
    1. Create space on your calendar for reflection, grace and love.
    2. Read the Christmas story out loud to yourself.
    3. Appreciate God moments as they come.
  • Be Honest
    1. With yourself: what is realistic?
    2. With others: what is realistic?

Tip: It’s OK to gracefully decline and say no to some things, even family.

  • Be Still and Quiet
    1. Turn off the noise, social media, TV, etc.
    2. Take time to breathe, take a nap, rest.
    3. Be grateful for His perfect presence.

I am preparing now to practice the presence of Jesus in my heart and mind. I am planning now to talk with Hunky Hubby about our future, which includes daughters-in-love and a baby girl next year. So much has changed in our lives this past year that I find myself wondering how I will navigate this new season. One thing is sure: Christmas trees are not required to cultivate faith, family and home or to practice the presence of the peace of Christ.

Christmas trees are not required to cultivate faith, family and home or to practice the presence… Click To Tweet

Challenge: Will you stop today to ask God how you can practice the presence of His peace during this busy season? How can this busy time of year be simplified?

Question: What has God whispered to you in a quiet moment that inspires you to embrace His peace in the middle of a filled-up calendar? What is keeping you from trusting God’s promise of peace to you? We would love to hear your comments. 

If you are looking for a simple devotional, will you consider taking a look at my book? You can find it here or by clicking the photo below. 

book-cover_final

Pansies are Happy Flowers

Pansies are Happy Flowers

Fall comes slowly here in the South, but that never stopped me from wanting happy little pansies to begin taking root as soon as September came around. There is something wonderful about cultivating the soil in anticipation of growing something beautiful. Except I don’t have a green thumb and my visions of gardening have always been overcome by my reality of forgetting to water and tend to the flowers I plant. Nevertheless, I had spent time planting my favorite colors in the flower bed just outside our front door one day while the boys were at school. 

Evergreen Street was a kid-filled street and our house seemed to be in the middle of all of the activity. Bicycles, balls, and boys go together like peanut butter and jelly and we had both on overflow most days. I have always loved being a mom to three boys and my heart is as happy as the pansies I planted pansy-1145739_1280-jpg-pixabaythat day when I remember all the crazy moments spent sorting socks, shoes, and sand from their pockets.

One specific afternoon comes to mind when I think back to our days living at 119 Evergreen; it was warm, sunny and the yard was filled with the voices of laughter, talk, and noise of little boys. I was making dinner or something inside while listening through the open door to the boys play outside. The doorbell rang and rang and rang. I knew who it was. Our youngest loved to ring the doorbell to let me know he was “home” and I would have spoken to him for ringing the door  for the hundredth time in an afternoon, except this time was different.

Looking out the glass door as I approached, I could tell something was different; he had that look in his eye and I knew he was up to something. He was holding something behind him. I hoped it was not some kind of critter from the woods out back. But as I approached and opened the door, his hand presented to me in the most elegant fashion a fistful of happy pansies! With a smile as big as the sky and sunshine flushing his chubby cheeks, he announced, “I picked you purdy flowers!” He was so pleased to give me a gift. “I know you like flowers, Mommy!” And I do! But in that moment, I loved him more!

i-know-you-like-flowers-mommyIt didn’t matter that the entire root system and ball of potting soil was still attached to his gift. He was absolutely delighted to give his gift! It didn’t matter that I had bought the flowers, they belonged to me, I had planted them where I wanted them; he had seen them and thought of me and wanted to delight me with a gift. His heart was in the gift and I received it, dirt and all, with love, delight, and joy.

He helped me trim off the roots and dirt and we filled a clear vase with water to display these little beauties for as long as they would last. Then he skipped off to play with his brothers and friends and my heart was tender before the Lord as I considered what giving means.

These little pansies that were given back to me that day are what I envision when I think of the joy of giving. When giving our gifts to God, He is delighted when we do so with a cheerful heart.

When giving our gifts to God, He is delighted when we do so with a cheerful heart. @DeAnna_Morris3 Click To Tweet

When we stop to notice something beautiful, to acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes to us from God the Father, when we give back to Him what is already His and we do it with gladness, He takes great delight in us! Even when our gifts are messy and dirty or in need of work before being placed on display before others, He delights in our giving not because the gift itself is special, but because we are special to Him.

Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose]
just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
[and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 AMP

When you consider giving to God a gift of praise, thanksgiving, your time, talent or tithe, how do you feel?

Do you feel excited, joyful, and blessed, or do you feel resentment?

Please feel free to share in the comments below. We want to hear your stories of giving and thankfulness!

Just released by DeAnna Morris:
Simply Life; Live in Faith Every Day

 

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