I also want to thank those of you who commented about the Sophie series. In case you haven't read them, there are twelve stories and you can get them either as individual books or in the two-books-in-one-volume sets. Not a bad addition to your Christmas wish list ...
Speaking of which, I don't know about you but when my daughter was growing up (and she has continued this tradition with Maeryn) we would take some time before Christmas to go through her room and weed out all the toys she didn't play with any more. We'd find good homes for them and make space for the new ones coming her way on Christmas morning. I think that applies not only to giving away those chapter books you've outgrown to make shelf space for Sophie books, but to what's going on inside of us right now.
We've talked in our last few posts about what we need to put aside, get rid of, or stop doing in order to make room for what we really need and want from Jesus as we once again realize he was born for US.
* It seems like it's pretty easy to say, "I need to spend less time on my kindle, watching TV, sitting in front of my computer, talking on the phone."
* And it's almost as easy to come up with ideas like, "I'll use my kindle to read Scripture," and "I'll put a Bible app on my phone." Those are GREAT .
*AND you've even figured out what it is you're making room for when it comes to our Lord's birth -- the knowing that he loves you, forgiveness for some stuff you keep doing, that kind of thing.
Here's the side that isn't so easy. Jesus came to show us how to be exactly who we were made by God to be. He modeled that for us. A HUGE part of that is what we do for other people. Here's what it looks like:
1. Jesus came into the world to show us who we were made to be, which is children of God.
2. When we accept that, we devote ourselves to being our best selves, following what he taught us.
3. To do that, we have to have a relationship with him, by praying, studying scripture, talking to him in our journals
4. The world isn't all about that, so we constantly have to be getting rid of things that get between us and God.
5. As we do, we stop thinking so much about ME-ME-ME and more about our fellow humans. It just happens.
6. And then we start really, really giving.
In this season of giving presents and helping people who have so little and showing our family and friends how much we love them, we have a BIG OL' chance to do #6.
Uh, but, you're kids -- so you don't have a lot of money (maybe none!) and you can't just get in your car and drive to the homeless shelter. You're sort of like the Little Drummer Boy in the song: "I have no gifts to bring."
So what can you give? Really give?
I have a suggestion:
* make a list (in your journal is a good place) of the things people like most about you -- your sense of humor, your big hugs, your gentle way with little kids, your huge laugh -- and make it complete. This is not the time to be modest, because these are God's gifts to you.
* Next to each one, write down a way that you could share that gift with someone else this Christmas season. Does the grouchy aunt who always comes for Christmas dinner need a smile from you for no reason? Could your mom use a break from your siblings for an hour so she can wrap gifts or take a bubble bath? Get the idea?
If you want to comment on today's post, share one or two of those with us. I have a feeling once you do this, it'll become a habit ALL the time .... and THAT, my mini-women, is one of the reasons Jesus came and continues to be in us.
Oh, and by the way -- you are a gift to me, all year long.