Sunday, December 11, 2016

One More Thing on My To-Do List

Ah, what a weekend. After last week’s chaos, the perfect remedy for my frenzied mind was the breathing room offered in a slow December break.

As the wife of a bonafide workaholic, I have to admit that I normally find myself resentful on Saturdays by being ‘stuck’ at home with the kids while the hubby traipses around in his glory tying up loose ends at the brewery. But this Saturday was different; ‘stuck’ was right where I needed to be.

We made a couple batches of Christmas cookies.

We decorated the tree.

The kids hung out in PJ’s all day and caught a couple Christmas movies on Netflix.

When Nate did get home, he stacked firewood and sealed the windows in preparation for this week’s cold snap.

St. Nick made his late appearance thanks to a brief shopping trip to Dollar General.

Sunday found us in a similar situation, ‘stuck’ inside, this time because we were literally snowed in. Something about the slow descent of snowflakes makes the world seem as if it’s moving in slow motion in the best possible way. I savored the day….even after Vic pooped in the bathtub.

After the kids were in bed, I did a quick kitchen clean up and was surprised to find myself feeling prepared for Christmas. Cards will go out this week. Almost all of the kids’ gifts have arrived thanks to Amazon. The last pieces of the puzzle seem to be falling into place just as they always do.

Then I caught a glimpse at our Advent wreath, and my pride fell in the puff of snow off a shaken tree branch. Yes, Advent is about preparation, but preparation for what?

 In Advent, we mirror the hopeful world thousands of years ago as they awaited the coming Messiah.  We, too, await Christ in His Second Coming. Am I ready?

“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12)

What account will I have?

For the most part, my ‘settled’ life makes it easy to avoid serious sin. But an account is not a grocery list of the things I didn’t do. It’s a story of the ways I did serve the Lord.

As the prayer says, “I have sinned….in what I have done, and what I have failed to do.”

Words left unsaid. Justice left unserved. Mercy left unoffered. Callings left unanswered. Gifts left unopened. 

Suddenly I found myself much less prepared than I had deluded.

We have one week left in this year’s season of waiting. While I crossed off a lot of tasks this weekend, my to-do list remains long with last-minute Christmas preparations. But in my unusually quiet house as I settle into my worn-out recliner, I resolve to add one more line to my list that will help me to walk in the way of the Lord:


Like tossing fresh straw into the manger of my heart, confession will prepare the way of the Lord by offering Him a clean resting place. Time and time again, my selfish ambitions cloud out the will of God. There is no better way to clear this fog than with the merciful love of Christ Himself, who charged His chosen Apostles to, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

This Tuesday at 6:30 our church family has arranged to have FIVE priests in Tigerton for the sacrament.  Oh, how I wish I could seize that opportunity, but unfortunately I have another obligation on my list. I was going to let that convenient excuse be my permission slip to skip the repentance and get on with the good news. I'm too busy. It's too hard with my work schedule. No one's available to watch the kids. But I also know how good it feels to be showered in grace.
So I’ll have to call the office and schedule—a humiliating  phone call for sure, but how else will we become humble if not by being humiliated now and then!

A few weeks ago I asked Louisa what kind of birthday party she thought Jesus might like, expecting an amusing answer similar to last year’s “Cars” idea. Her response: “A disciple party.”

At the time, I remember thinking it was nice that she was trying out a new word in her vocabulary, but tonight’s reflection has me thinking deeper. I think my three-year-old might be onto something.

Jesus does want a “Disciple Party,” insofar as He’s called us all to be disciples. He wants to celebrate with true followers willing to take up our crosses and deny our very selves for the cause of Jesus, to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

With two more weeks until Christmas, I’m planning to do all I can to get an invite to that party.

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