The countdown to Christmas has begun. What kind of feelings does that statement evoke in you? Joy? Stress? Panic?
For me, it is a combination of all three. Although this year, there will be less of the running around panic that has consumed me in years gone by? Why? Simply because my family and friends have all decided to cut back -- drastically -- when it comes to gifts. We haven't gone the route of grab bags yet, but we have all decided we already have too much stuff and we do not need to keep adding to the pile! We have also agreed that re-gifting is just fine...although there is that slight concern we will end up giving back a gift to the person who gave it to us in the first place! Consumable gifts are on the top of the list as favorites.
Look at that, I have completely gone off track. Sorry. Back to my original statement. The countdown to Christmas has begun.
In my house, that means a whole slew of new Hallmark movies! My husband and I are Hallmark junkies (more him than me, truthfully). Last night, CBS aired November Christmas, with an incredible cast of actors who sucked you into their lives before the first commercial break (which, by the way, didn't come until 20 minutes after the show began). Oh, and while we're on the subject of commercials, they packed this movie full of some of the most moving, smultzy Hallmark commercials there are. Where are the Kleenex?
Bill and I looked forward all week to sitting down and watching November Christmas on Sunday night. And that is exactly what we did. But it wasn't the only highlight of the day.
First, we headed to Emmanuel Christian Church for Sunday School and worship. Excellent start for the Sabbath, don't you think? Bill taught the junior and senior high kids while I sat in on the adult Sunday School class. It wasn't my week to teach and I wasn't up to singing with the worship band (which practices during SS). So I was able to participate in a class where my friend and fellow GG community member, Maggie Larter, was teaching on the book of Judges. No one teaches the way Maggie teaches! Her animated style, honesty and enthusiasm flavor every class, and hearing her speak about Deborah, the prophetess and judge, was delightful. Not to mention the other interesting characters in the 4th chapter! Pretty dramatic stuff, folks!
With our minister, Bob Hartman, in England performing in Carol, based on one of the books he has written, we were blessed to have an incredible guest speaker during the worship service. If you have never heard Jon Pritikin's testimony, let me tell you, you are missing something! I doubt there were many, if any, dry eyes in the sanctuary by the time he was done. What an amazing servant of God...serving in a most unusual way.
Since Bob's away, his wife, Sue, joined us for lunch. I cannot tell you how much I love our Sunday lunches out with family and friends. The lovely little Lady Laura was an absolute delight and little Lord Lincoln sat contently on his daddy's lap for most of the time we were there. Blessings.
Sandwiched between church, lunch and Hallmark, was the challenge of how to spend the Sabbath in an insanely busy time of year. Hmm. Well, I must confess I did do some grocery shopping. I was hungry for spaghetti and I didn't have any pasta in the house. Plus, I am leaving town again this week to go help my mom who just had a knee replacement. So again, the challenge taunted me with little effort. Voices in my head saying, "You should get this done. You should get that done." Shoulds. Coming from an unholy place of self-imposed obligations. I ignored them.
I had some financial questions I did discuss on the phone with an old friend who specializes in these types of things. My daughter, Jess, questioned me on how that fit into my Shabbat, and I answered her flippantly by saying, "The Sabbath thing is getting thrown out the window today." Slap. Conviction. So, while I did do the phone consult, and I did do some grocery shopping, I honored the Sabbath in the best way I could. No Christmas decorating, no cleaning or laundry, no emails or work. None.
And the day finished out with an uplifting, well-acted and directed movie that I watched with my very best friend. Restful. Peaceful. And, I have to admit, emotional. It was Hallmark, after all. How could it not be?!
Blessings to you as you wade through the busyness of the season. Remember to rest,