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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Less Is More!

“You will keep in perfect peace
him whose mind is steadfast,
because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26:3 NIV

 Thanksgiving is over and the last of the leftovers have been enjoyed. My mind now starts racing to all that is to be accomplished in the next thirty-two days. I have begun this day by putting on my armor which consists of my warm bathrobe and fluffy slippers! In addition I have also armed myself for battle with hot coffee, calendar, my Bible, cook books, note book, pen and markers, and now I will begin the task of making lists. I make lists for cleaning, decorating, menus, baking, shopping for gifts, shopping for miscellaneous holiday items, grocery lists, parties, concerts, and activities to attend, and entertaining others. There is also the Christmas card list, and last but not least, a list of things I would like to do for others. Now comes the huge task of scheduling days to shop, decorate, grocery shop, bake, write cards, wrap gifts, attend and host functions, holiday hair cut, housekeeping, and my writing schedule, plus reserving some time to serve others.
I don’t mind telling you that the day after Thanksgiving I am a woman on a mission! High gear would be an understatement! Now it begins. The lists are piling up one on top of the other. The very last list on the top of the pile of many lists is “the complete list of all of my other lists”! I know this process is insanity! Truth be told…I just can’t help myself.
Oddly enough, the multiple lists have piled up and have completely covered my Bible. I now frantically search for my Bible as I multi task by shooting up a quick prayer to God asking for his help to get through the next thirty-two days. I flip open my Bible hoping that I will quickly land upon some “magical” verse that will put the wind in my sails that will be needed to push me to the front of this holiday marathon! Why wouldn’t God give me a verse above all verses to make it all happen?
Glancing down at my Bible I begin to read from Isaiah, “You (God) will keep in perfect peace him (me) whose mind is steadfast, because he (I) trusts in you (God).”  At that point I am stunned by the timeliness of this scripture. It doesn’t take me but a moment to realize that I am being influenced by obligations, traditions, and pressures that will soon send me flying down the dreadful path of stress and insanity. Yes God, that is exactly what I need. Peace! Zap it to me! At that moment, it was as if the Holy Spirit whispered, “Not so fast Paula, this is a two part promise. God will give you peace but you must first keep your mind and heart on him!” Great! One more thing to do!  How can I spend time with God when there is no time? I am now feeling even more stressed as I get up for another cup of hot, flavored, caffeine. Standing in the middle of my kitchen, it was as if a light came on in the very dark tunnel of my brain! Peace is the absence of stress. Huh! Imagine that. This calls for re-evaluation of all that I have put on my many lists. Let the writing of "God’s Priority List" begin. Prayerfully, I bow my head and pray before I attempt to separate the good from the best. My good - God's best. 
Do you relate to over extending yourself as you prepare for the Christmas holiday?
Are you longing for peaceful preparations to replace the stress that you are beginning to feel even before you begin your Christmas preparations?
What can you eliminate to make “less” Christmas preparations allow for a “more” meaningful time for you and your family?
Do you understand that to keep stress under control during this time of preparation it will require you to make time daily for God to refresh you with his peace?
Will you pray for God’s guidance and direction as you write out God’s “To Do” list for this Christmas season?
As you attempt to simplify your Christmas preparations, are you willing to eliminate things of less importance so that you can pursue the tasks that God considers to be of value?

Returning to God’s Word I turn to Isaiah 9.“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9:7a NIV I again bow my head and begin to pray to the Prince of Peace, asking him for the gift of his inner peace in my life during this time of holiday preparation.
Dear Jesus,
I pray that you will help me to make your work my work. Help me to weed through and re-evaluate all that I have considered doing for this Christmas holiday. Show me what I should cross off my list and what should remain. Help me to see that less is more and that little is much when you are in the plans. Father, give me one list, your list. Jesus, guide me as I rewrite my “To Do” list so that my holiday preparations will be manageable, meaningful and enjoyable. Jesus, as we celebrate your birth I want to plan to do things that will glorify you and bring joy to my family.  I want this list not to be my list but rather Your “To Do” list. Today I ask for your peace. Peace that passes all understanding. Peace from you Lord, the Prince of Peace.
It is in your name I pray. Amen.