I’m a re-evaluator.  And this can be a good thing – a gift – when use appropriately.  But anything in excess is dangerous; even self-re-evaluation.  In excess, this is just a sign of my inability to grasp the grace of God in my day-to-day.

I sat back last night, after a week of sickness in the house that interfered with extended family visits and Advent devotions. . .  and I felt the need to re-evaluate.  Because life had thrown me a curve ball, I felt I had failed in my inability to hit a home-run this past week.

But, while I came up with some good ideas for next year, the reality is that life didn’t throw any curve ball. . .  God landed me in the exact circumstances that He chose for me for that week.  He allowed to happen what needed to happen.  And while I feel like a failure because I had to cancel plans and I got behind on things. . .  my only real failure was my failure to take a step back and look at life through the lense of God’s all-knowing and all-loving eye.  I got angry at myself, putting too much stock in my own, limited human abilities when I should have been trusting in His sovereignty and thanking Him every step of the way.

So, as I enter this week before Christmas feeling like we are too far behind in our Advent devotions to ever logically catch up and wishing I’d shopped more wiesely or decorated more or baked more or that I’d done more to turn my kids hearts toward God. . .  I’ll take those thoughts captive and enter the week, instead, thinking on the pure and lovely and true thoughts of thankfulness to God for everything. . .

Thankful for:

  • The blessing of four children
  • The picture books they give me the excuse to read
  • Tomie de Paola – such a great author
  • Hot cocoa
  • Mini-marshmallows
  • Christmas movies in the afternoon
  • Big, colored lights on the tree
  • Kid-made paper-chain garland on the tree – soooo glad I didn’t have to make it myself this year. . .
  • That tacky little tinsel-lined star on top of our tree
  • My parents who just can’t win with winter visits but try anyway
  • Sick days that let me catch up on a bit of laundry
  • TV to soften the blow of sick days
  • Sooty hands and no fire . . . a lesson in patience
  • Misbehaved children . . . a reminder of my own need for grace
  • Cool, grey days . . . a chance to focus on the bright, warm Light that is the heart of Christmas
  • Long nights
  • Fires on the first try
  • All the strength and energy I need for the day (that I know the Lord will provide)
  • Quiet mornings to clear my head and organize my thoughts
  • The week before Christmas – a magical time (if you take the time to slow down)
  • Early to bed; early to rise

Just one thing to do today:

Enter this special week before Christmas – this, the last week of Advent – with a heart open to thankfulness to God for everything.  Take those thoughts of, “I should have. . .”, “I still need to. . .”, “I wish I’d. . .”, “Why didn’t I. . .” captive and, instead, meditate on how each moment – the good and even the seemingly bad – is a gift from God.  Then thank Him – right then and there.