Words of Hope: Christmas Intention

The world outside my window is covered in snow, the trees flocked with hoarfrost. A palpable stillness descends with the snow. I have a quiet, almost solemn but still joyful feeling as I look out in wonder. Beauty of nature does this. Research has found viewing scenes of nature improves our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. I have experienced this, a walk in the woods, staring at the night sky, listening to the river, all revive my spirits. I read in scripture Jesus going up on the mountainside getting away from the crowds to be alone. I wonder if He interacted with nature differently knowing His hands form the world. 

This time of year, I especially need moments in nature. Concrete, consumerism, and pressure to buy agitate me. I personally hate to shop now that I am older. Dad didn’t like to shop either. The florescent lights, the decisions needed, the pace, the parking, all do not thrill me. When I was younger, my mom who is a professional shopper could power through the entire mall and be finished with all shopping in less than two hours. I like this style of speed shopping. Get it done. My girls like leisurely shopping. Usually, I cope with this by taking a book to read and finding a spot to sit. My girls, however, want me to participate. They invite me over to smell a candle, to touch the “softest socks in the world,” to taste a small sample of apple cider. As I begin to participate, I feel the familiar gratitude and wonder. I am reminded that God is present, all around me, speaking into the world with such love and generosity.  

Every experience truly is a choice. I can enjoy or I can grouse. I can withdraw or I can participate. I can rush and stress or I can be calm and patient. I can look at the world with frustration and fear or I can look at the world with wonder and peace. Intentional means deliberate, on purpose, conscious, intended, planned. Dad believed the more intensified, the more challenging, the more pressured your schedule or life experience, the more stillness, quiet, and intentional time is needed to live in the Spirit and not in reaction. This Christmas season, how can I intentionally choose ways that draw me closer to Jesus, the Light of the world? 

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. – Isaiah 9:6