Only two days ’til Thanksgiving and I’m sure you’ve started your preparations.
We don’t go over the top during the holidays. We tend to stick close to home and are pretty quiet observers of all of the hustle and bustle, but one thing I still manage to make time for is writing in a journal (or two!).
And I want to encourage you to do the same.
Think ahead to mid-day on Christmas morning when the pile of wrapping paper and packaging sits waiting to be thrown away. Whew. You’re catching your breath before the toys are played with, the books are read and the naps are taken. Sure, snap a photo or twelve and post one or two (just sayin’) but really make the time to stop and capture your most special moments in a journal you can revisit throughout the next year or even after the novelty of the stuff wears off and the bickering begins again and the volume increases.
Try not to wait until the “end” of the holidays (whatever that looks like for you) to try and remember/capture treasured moments. Look for special, powerful, life giving moments during the holiday season and watch it change how you do the holidays.
Here are three moments I want to encourage you to capture in your journal throughout this holiday season.
1. THE MOMENT OF FORGIVENESS
I think we watch those Lifetime movies in all of their cheesy glory because even though they really don’t dig into the depth of the tensions and stress that being with family can bring, they do work out the ‘conflict’ by the end of the movie. We’re drawn to that.
This might be the year that you work out some small step of forgiveness in your heart that you’ve been harboring for many holidays. Or you may witness someone else offer a seemingly small act of forgiveness that you just know took Jesus for them to move into.
Write it down. Smile as you let the words be real on the page. Forgiveness is a gift to our soul and marking it is a beautiful testimony to be revisited over and over again.
2. THE MOMENT OF GROWTH
Write down that seemingly minuscule moment when you did something you didn’t ever think you’d do or do that well. You’d “always” thought this way or responded that way.
It’s a big deal to grow.
The biggest benefits oftentimes come from taking the smallest steps toward that new thing, habit or direction that freaked you out before.
Maybe it’s saying “no” to a tradition that leaves you tapped out after the holidays. Or maybe it’s saying “yes” to finally serving in a capacity that you’ve been secretly wanting to try.
Write it down. Yes, even now when it doesn’t seem like anything more than an unidentifiable teeny, tiny seed.
3. THE MOMENT OF JOY
This one may seem obvious but in all of the baking and photos of good food that will be posted this coming week, there is a lot of tension going on behind the scenes. People are still reeling from the election results, there are still warriors dying in foreign lands, there are still notifications of terminal illness and hearts aching over missing loved ones. There is just so much hurting happening, so much despair during this season.
Every day may not be filled with countless moments of joy, but when we set out with the intention of seeking it, it will be found.
For me, my hope and joy is found in what Jesus Christ has done for me, for all of us. It transcends our manmade holiday frenzy, the pressure we allow the news and media to put on us and the expectations to keep up with the whoevers.
There is sadness for us ’round here during the holidays, but now there are more and more moments of joy. Joy deep within my soul. Brought up and out in the tears that I shed watching my son become a young man, seeing what the local church is doing in our community for single moms and refugees and widows and by being able to talk to, love and be loved by so many people who care. And these are just a few things for me.
In the midst of the frenzy, what is feeding joy deep in your soul?
Make a promise to yourself to write about one or all of these during this holiday season and watch yourself be more intentional in looking for these moments.
And then….cherishing them.