Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Twelve Pathways to Christmas

Psalm 46:10
He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

The Christmas season with all its worldly trappings is upon us once more.  Gifts to buy and wrap.  Parties to plan or attend.  Baking for friends and neighbors.  Trimming the tree.  Hanging the wreaths, the stockings, the garlands.  Cards to sign and send.  More gifts to buy and wrap . . .

The hustling, bustling, head-spinning list of must-dos and have-tos seems endless!

And, if we let it consume us, by the time Christmas Day rolls around, we are too tired or cranky or broke to enjoy it.  Too stressed out to celebrate the glad tidings with great joy.

But, how do we slow down?  How can we simply be still in the midst of chaos?  Meet the demands which keep on coming with grace?

What can we do to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls to welcome the real reason for the season?

I have three suggestions:  set aside intentional time just for you; spend time in prayer and scripture, and read Andy Wood's inspirational gem of a book, The Twelve Pathways to Christmas which you can download to your Kindle here

What a happy serendipity it is the day I run across Andy's marvelous blog, Lifevesting!  I have followed his writings faithfully ever since.  So, imagine my delight when Andy recently asks me to read his latest book and write a review for Amazon.  As well acquainted as I am with his writing style, I know I'm in for one pleasurable and enlightening learning experience.

And, I am right.  From the first page to the last, Andy's conversational style, memorable vignettes, and grounded Biblical references draw me in and set me to soaring on eagle's wings.  

I cannot put it down.  I read it all in one afternoon.  I want to read and reread. 

Again, and again, and again . . .

And, I will, but slower this time.  Much slower.  I want to savor, to treasure each word.  Take each of the twelve pathways one at a time.  Reflect.  Meditate.

Pray.

Because, I know beyond any remnant of a doubt, even a Scrooge couldn't help but be moved by Andy's engaging, illuminating work.  And, that being said, The Twelve Pathways to Christmas will replace A Christmas Carol as my traditional Advent read.

And, my hope for you?  That Andy's book will become your required read for this blessed season, too.
~
Will you take time to be still and know that He is God in this all too busy season of the year?

Will you pray with me?
Thank you, Father, for giving us gifted writers like Andy Wood who so eloquently remind us to stay centered in You during this hectic and busy season.  May we never forget to be still, to listen to You, to know You.  Let us all rejoice in the reason for the season, giving thanks to You in all things.  Amen.

28 comments:

  1. :-)Enjoy and bring on the festivities in good spirits.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Janu! Yes, we will certainly enjoy the season!
      Blessings to you!

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  2. A great post Martha! We don`t gifts for Christmas. I think people put too much emphasis on presents and gifts and not the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. Have a blessed day!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Nelieta!
      Yes, we downplay the gift-giving here, too. For years now, Danny and I have chosen a retreat to the mountains together in lieu of other gifts. Well worth it!
      Blessings to you!

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  3. Martha, what a wonderful story! I have learned over the last coue of years how to slow everything down by just not saying 'yes' to everthing LOL. Also, we no longer purchase gifts. Anything that we want to give has to be made by hand :) It can be anything from a baked goodie to candy to clothes...but it has to be made from our heart and hands.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Mary!
      Oh, what a wonderful tradition you have in your family for Christmas! I really like that - so personal, thoughtful, and meaningful.
      Blessings to you and yours!

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  4. Thanks, Martha, for your kind encouragement and support. My prayer is that the book can become a tool from God's hand to our hearts as He meets us where we are this and every Christmas.

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    1. You are more than welcome, Andy! I truly enjoyed writing this post and mean every word about reading your gem of a book again and again. It's just that good, my friend!
      I do hope it touches the lives of many . . .
      Blessings always!

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  5. That's really the trick, isn't it Martha? Finding that stillness to fill ourselves with the wonder of God's gifts during this joyous season...

    Have a Blessed Day!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Phil!
      Oh, yes, finding the stillness when the world tells us to hurry, hurry, hurry. But, only in the quiet, reflective times can we truly drink in the miracle that is Christmas.
      Blessings to you!

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  6. Hi Martha:
    He says, "Be still, and know that I am God.
    This is one of my favorite favorite passages from the Bible. It reminds me of another passage from my favorite psalm
    He leadeth me beside still waters.

    Both passages invoke the word "still" and in both they mean the same thing. Stillness brings a sense of calm. It is in the calm state that you can most sense God and it ONLY in a calm state that this is possible. I can relate this all back to your post by simply saying:
    That in this crazy time of the Christmas season, let us not forget that the meaning of Christmas is not spend money, spend money spend money. The meaning if Christmas is:
    Find those close to you and spend time with them. That's what will keep you still, that's what will bring you calm. That's the true meaning of Christmas. Spending time with loved ones.

    Hope you have a glorious Christmas season, my friend!
    --
    Chris

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Chris, and leaving such a thoughtful reflection about the season. Yes, it is all about being still and calm in His presence and spending time with our loved ones, not money. So beautifully said, my friend!
      May your Advent and Christmas be glorious, too!
      Blessings always!

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  7. Glad to know that you have found a way to way find for yourself in this busy season, with Christmas just round the corner. Have a lovely Christmas season, my friend. God bless you

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Rimly!
      I'm so glad to have found such a blessing in Andy's book. It will help me stay focused on the reason for the season.
      May your Christmas and Advent be beautiful and meaningful, too, my friend!
      Blessings to you!

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  8. we were at a Christmas party last night...and it was a beautiful time of fellowship...we just had a drink together and shared a laugh..it was really fun and I was reminded that relationships and not stuff make life beautiful.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Annmarie!
      Yes, it is all about relationships, isn't it? May your Advent and Christmas be blessed!
      Blessings to you!

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  9. Wonderful reminder.. I actually adopted this stance years ago. I refuse to get caught up in the madness and remind myself the reason behind the season and the day. It's so much for that white twinkling lights and mulled wine. As always, Martha, thanks for keep us thinking an remembering the great purpose. On a side note, so happy about the book. Congrats!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Brenda, and for the congrats on the book. It is an exciting time here at the Orlando house, for sure!
      Glad to know you don't get caught up in the craziness that this season wants to throw at us. It's all about being still and knowing Him.
      Blessings to you!

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  10. I appreciate the reminder too Martha. How could we celebrate everything during the season other than the reason for the season:) ?? How nice would it be to throw out the parties, gifts, traditions and focus on only prayer and God. Unfortunately, we have it all the wrong way and spend time on everything but prayer, God! I guess we each can only try to change how we each decide to spend the holidays and what activities we participate in. Prayer will be in both of ours:)

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Vishnu!
      Yes, it would be wonderful to remove all the trappings, and just spend time in relationship with the Lord, and with our family and friends. And, you are so right when you say only we can change and/or decide to spend our holidays.
      Blessings to you!

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  11. Being still during the holidays is a challenge. At the same time, the holidays invite stillness and looking inside, waiting and listening.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Galen!
      Yes, it can be difficult when all the world is rushing around us, but it is, I think, the most important thing we can do at this glorious time of year.
      Blessings to you!

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  12. Yes, it is so hard to manage everything during the holiday season. I used to get so stressed out years ago, with all the obligations I had and planning parties, etc. I would often find myself WISHING it would just be over and not really enjoying it. I now take more time to be STILL and focus on HIM, rather than what I need to get done. It has helped me balance my holiday's and not over work myself. Thank you for sharing and I joined his blog, too.

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    1. So sorry, Lisa Marie, for not seeing your kind comment earlier and responding. Sometimes, Blogger lets me down!
      I'm so glad you are taking the holidays in stride, slowing down, and simply enjoying it. Oh, and so glad you signed up for Andy's blog. You will NEVER be disappointed!
      Blessings to you!

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  13. What I do for myself is actually a joyful thing - I shop for Christmas throughout the year. When I stumble across that ideal gift for that special loved one, I get it right then and tuck it away in my closet. I learned the hard way that if I pass the opportunity by with a promise to find that item closer to Christmas, I end up losing out. So, throughout the year, I make this a practice. If I see that perfect item, I snap it up. It gives me a micro-Christmas moment out of the blue, and it also takes a lot of stress out of the ramping up of the holiday season. Usually by the time that Thanksgiving is here, I'm close to, if not already done with Christmas shopping. That frees my time up to relax and enjoy the holidays, spend time with family & friends and not be tearing around in panic.

    The other thing that I do, you've probably noticed on my FB wall. I begin posting a handful of my favorite Christmas songs every couple of days. They're another way of reconnecting to those childhood comfort memories for me. :)

    Merry Christmas, my beautiful girl! <3

    - Dawnie

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Dawn!
      That is truly a great way to shop for loved ones and to leave the season free of frantic buying and frustration. Too, finding that perfect gift in April or August gives us a refreshing boost from the spirit of Christmas in the off-season, so to speak. :) We can all use that kind of love, caring, and sharing throughout the year.
      Somehow, I've missed your Christmas songs, Dawn. I'm checking now to see if I can catch up. What a great gift that is to give to others!
      Blessings, and Merry Christmas, sweet friend!

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  14. I was laughing a bit when I read how you described people when they become too tired days before Christmas arrives... I was one of the cranky ones too LOL!...almost broke, but the reasons for which are so different. I got myself so stressed up because of work and had so little time to prepare for Christmas.

    Hmmm... I was forced to sit still because my asthma prevented me to sleep for four days. Anyhow, God His own ways to talk with us...

    I think I've read some of Andy's works through the ones you shared in FB. I am grateful that God inspires people to talk about Him...

    I pray with you.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Melissa!
      I'm so sorry to hear that you were quite stressed before Christmas; I must admit, I got a bit worked up, too, but have gotten much better at seeing that stress coming and willing it to depart.
      And, though having the asthma can't be any fun, God can and will slow us down when we need to.
      Yes, I have reposted Andy's writing many times as he is not active on Facebook. His 12 Pathways e-book is excellent!
      Blessings to you!

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