Four days into December, and I’m whipped. The combination of:
- Allergies–come on Texas, get cold!
- My company Christmas party
- And a baby dedication for my niece–which was both sweet and fun!
All the above have left me drained. Add on the craziness that is the month of December at work, and I’m ready to crawl back into bed. I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to just hunker down and push through the holidays. At some point the:
- Company Christmas cards will be finalized/stuffed/mailed.
- Hustle and bustle of the season will end. Local drivers will return to their normal driving habits.
Do not misread me, I love Christmas. I enjoy spending time with family, the joy of giving gifts, and beginning new traditions with my own family. One of the traditions we have started, as a family, is going through season of Advent. Advent allows us to prepare our hearts and focus on the coming birth of Jesus.
In a culture that uses this season to get children to dream about how their lives would be made better by possessing a certain material thing, where Christmas has been reduced to a shopper’s nightmare and a retailer’s dream, it is vital to draw the wonder of our children away from the next great toy and toward the wonder of the coming of our great Lord and Savior, Jesus. – Paul David Tripp, Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional
This year, we are moving through the Advent season with two guides:
- In the evening as a family, we are walking through Focus on the Family’s Holy Night Advent Calendar. Each day, you read scripture and an overall thought. Then, you cut out an item (could be a palm tree, dove, etc.) and slowly build a paper craft manger scene.
- Tabitha and I are reading through Paul David Tripp’s Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional. This book has been excellent so far and I’m using it as a teaching resource for Sunday School.
The craziness of the holidays and being away from family in another state, for me, can distract from what I have in front of me and what the Christmas season is all about. By moving through Advent, I’m hoping to combat the familiarity and embrace the wonder of God sending His son, Jesus.
Familiarity tends to rob us of our wonder. And here’s what’s important about this: what has captured the wonder of our hearts will control the way we live. – Paul David Tripp, Come Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional
Q: What family Christmas traditions help you keep your focus on Christ during the Christmas season?
One of the dark character qualities of sin that we don’t recognize as much as we should is unwillingness. We’re often unwilling to do what God says if it doesn’t make sense to us. We’re often unwilling to inconvenience ourselves for the needs of someone else. We’re regularly unwilling to wait. We’re often unwilling to be open and honest. We’re too often unwilling to consider the loving rebuke of another. We struggle to be willing to say no to our own wrong thoughts and desires.
We often struggle to be willing to answer God’s ministry call. Often we are unwilling to admit that we are wrong. Too often we struggle to serve willingly and to give generously. Unwillingness is one of sin’s powerful damaging results. So here’s what the Christmas story is all about: a willing Savior is born to rescue unwilling people from themselves because there is no other way.
You see, it’s not just the Christmas story; rather, the entire redemptive story hinges on one thing—the eternal willingness of Jesus.– Come, Let Us Adore Him: A Daily Advent Devotional by Paul David Tripp
I had a difficult situation pop up last week where I had to confront someone. I was hurt and needed to clarify what had been communicated. The old me, the one who was raised with zero conflict resolution, wanted to be quiet.
I’ll just let the whole thing go, I thought to myself.
But I didn’t. I had the conversation that needed to be had. Everything worked out with the miscommunication clarified.
I realized though that I had been unwilling to engage God. Unwilling to allow Him to work through the situation. I think that we, as Christians, do this a lot:
- We don’t communicate with God, when we sin, because we are unwilling to face the consequences OR even acknowledge something bigger going on inside of us.
- We ignore God when we think that things will go differently/negatively so why pray?
Our unwilling nature deprives us in our faith walk. What God wants to use to strengthen our relationship with Him/our faith we instead put on the back burner of non-engagement. I know that we are called to more than this.
Let us be willing just as Christ was willing.
Welcome to the Monday edition of the Surf Report.
.: God / Life :
My brother-in-law gave me a devotional book for my birthday (Thanks, J!). Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional has been kicking my butt.
“At the end of the service where I announced my resignation, the oldest man in our congregation waited on the porch of the church for me. We were the last two to leave. He came up to me and asked if he could speak to me, then said: “We know you’re discouraged and we know you’re a bit immature, but we haven’t asked you to leave. Where is the church going to get mature pastors if the immature ones leave?””
Things have been hard at church lately. Winds of change. God has been reminding me to hold back and pray. I think we, as human beings, often run from the maturing process. Scrambling to find the ejection seat. Failing to remember what happened to Goose.
.: Gaming :
Wyatt and I played the LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens demo. Small smart mechanical changes aside, a LEGO game is a LEGO game.
- Also wrote about playing Song of the Deep.