Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and prayerful. Col 4:2
I could order a boatload of books off Amazon right about now. Or personally keep an independent bookstore in business if I had the money! Not enough time, too many books to read! There are a couple of new Christmas books out that I’d like to read. They would help me get in the Christmas spirit, I thought. That made me think about what it is that puts us in the “Christmas spirit.” Why some of us are more scrooge-like and others have the wonder of Tiny Tim?
There are many things to do to keep us feeling Christmasy. There are the physical things like decorating your house up, shopping (Really? I know retail therapy does this for some but for me, the malls at Christmas are a horror show! I’ll scratch that one from my list! It makes me scrooge-like) and baking. (Bah humbug! Another nightmare as far as I’m concerned. I could build a house from the bricks I’ve made over the years that were supposed to be chocolate chip cookies!) Ok so making this list isn’t making me feel more Christmasy!
Which is why it’s good that Christmas and being a Tiny Tim and not a scrooge, doesn’t depend on any of these things.
The Christmas spirit is nurtured long before December ever arrives. I started a Thankful list a few years back, after reading Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts. It’s about looking around you and noticing the little gifts that are in our lives in the everyday. To notice the little things in life, which are ninety-nine percent of the time the real gifts, you have to slow down. Sometimes even STOP. This is a gift in itself. Slowing, stopping lets you become more aware of your surroundings. I started to notice how the skies are different every single day and night. How some trees have rainbow leaves in the fall. How the squirrels would lay stretched out flat on the branch of the big maple tree in our backyard on those really hot and humid Windsor summer days. In each of these and the many other things that I became aware of, a little seed of joy burst forth. These were gifts that were on display all year round, I had just to stop and see them. It humbled me. I had been too arrogant before, caught up in my own schedule and agenda to bother with nature and all that blah, blah, blah. I’m embarrassed by what I used to think. But the gifts were there all along whether I saw them or not. Learning to stop and be watchful is a present I still unwrap everyday. It’s my choice to unwrap it or leave it.
And so it is with Christmas. Colossians 4:2 says it so well. Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and prayerful. Just like a little kid waits and watches for Christmas, I think I should have the same sort of expectant attitude to really enter into the Christmas spirit. Be prayerful as I wait, watching for how God is going to show up this Christmas. When I first read this verse, I really liked it. It told me it was ok to watch for answers. For some reason I thought that was wrong. Waiting and expecting good things wasn’t in my Christian vocab. I’m not sure where I got that idea from….
Margaret Feinberg in her book, Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God, talks about praying for “pixie dust.”
“Praying for pixie dust was an invitation for God to lavish our team with his loving-kindness, and for each of us to walk more upright, eyes attentive to what God might do next….A prayer marked by faith is never about what happens on our terms or time lines, but God’s. Faith-stained prayer brings us to a place of trust and hope. Praying for pixie dust is a childlike expression of trust and hope – trusting in both God’s wisdom and winsomeness, finding hope in God’s mercy and mirth.” (p. 17)
This Christmas I’m going to try to watch for how God is going to meet me in a special Christmas way. Christmas “pixie dust”.
What about you? What are you going to be praying and watching for?
Postscript: I know this sounds a bit on the fanciful side. It’s not. Margaret Feinberg is just in her 30’s and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s fighting this battle, still wonderstruck by a God who doesn’t disappoint. Please pray for her and her husband.