Pondering the Season

One week until Christmas. 

Is your shopping done? Cookies baked? Wrapping completed? Parties to attend yet?

In the hustle and bustle of the season, it can become so easy to get wrapped up in all the “stuff”that needs done. As I scrolled through my Facebook feed today, I saw a post that included photos of a friend’s children and every single gift they had opened for an early Christmas. These were extravagant presents, and I found something in myself feeling a little…Gee, my kids aren’t getting that much.

There is nothing with presents, cookies, parties, or decorations. The issue with Christmas is that it can become so easy to lose our focus on what matters.

My pastor preached about ordinary people this morning. He quoted Abraham Lincoln…”God must love the common man, He made so many of them.” It was a great reminder that all of us are struggling one way or another in life at some time or another. It reminds me that my kids aren’t going to remember the gifts they received years from now, but they will remember the traditions and time we spent together, the laughter we shared, and the memories we have made.

One of my favorite verses this time of year is…Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19

To ponder is to think carefully, reflect, contemplate. To ponder is to intentionally pause and reflect. With everything going on in Mary’s young life surrounding the birth of Jesus, she certainly had a lot to ponder. I visualize her quietly reflecting and praying. 

That single verse is such a powerful reminder to me of the importance to be still and reflective this time of year. In the hustle and bustle of the season, stopping to ponder on God’s grace and peace helps me keep my eyes on the true meaning of the season.

Take a moment to pause and ponder the greatest gift of the season…The birth of a Savior.

The Comparison Trap

Do you ever find yourself in that trap…you know that comparison trap? I find myself there far too often. Someone is always prettier, thinner, smarter, has the better job, never seems to struggle. It’s not a good place to find myself, and I don’t think it’s a place God wants me to fall into.

It’s a dangerous place to be for so many reasons:

1. It undermines the unique person God created me to be.

2. I find myself feeling sorry for myself.

3. I focus on things that truly don’t matter and deserve my focus.

The truth is, I know things aren’t as they often seem. People are good at putting up facades. Sometimes the people who I think have it all togetherĀ are fighting their own battles. For me…I can’t eat the stuff everyone else can. My skin isn’t as clear as I wish it was. I’m not where I want to be professionally in my career. My writing isn’t where I wish it was. And on and on.

On the radio the other day, I heard a reminder that God works while we are waiting. His plan for my life is uniquely mine. No one else is designed quite like me. Me with all my frustrating food issues, imperfect skin, voice that can’t carry a tune….He loves me. He created me to have a heart toward the elderly residents I serve, a gift to express myself in words, and the ability to emphasize with others who struggle with food issues.

How amazing to think that the God who created all the stars, no two snowflakes alike, the beautiful butterflies…created me, too. I need to keep my eyes and focus on Him.

Galatians verse