Updated: Sep 6
I don’t know about you, but we just put up our tree and I am already feeling the momentum of the season. I love Christmas and want to savor these moments. Lately I feel like time is flying! I do not want to just fly through these days and miss the Meaning of the season. I want my days to count. I want to live them with Jesus, in His presence, and present with those He has placed in my life. I imagine you would like this as well.
In hopes that it will bless you, I thought I would share my plan for the season. Perhaps you would want to do something similar.
I have committed to place intentional pauses throughout my day over the next month. I have an advent book I purchased from She Reads Truth to read each morning. There are many advent studies available. If you have the Dwell app, there is a free download you can use. Before doing the Advent study I am using a tool we share with the global workers we serve. It is called SNAP (see below). I have adapted it somewhat, but it is basically a way to slow down, be where you really are, and make choices based on the truth.
I have set 2 other timers throughout my day to cue a pause in my routine to reflect and refocus my eyes on Jesus. The final time of pause in my day comes before I go to sleep. I am using the Abide app Sleep feature, but you could also just choose a portion of Scripture that helps you focus on Him. The point of all of this is not to create more things to do, but to intentionally FIX our eyes on Jesus in this season- to purposefully remember we are WITH HIM. He is Immanuel- God with us.
I invite you to join me. I would love to hear what you are doing, as well as how it impacts you. I am praying for you.
SNAP Adapted from an article by Ian Cron https://michaelhyatt.com/snap-practice/
How do we do this? In the beginning, it may mean setting reminders on our phones or smart watches 3-4 times per day. When the reminder sounds, we take a few minutes to close our eyes, take 5-8 slow, deep prayerful breaths. Ground ourselves physically by feeling the weight of our feet on the floor or our bodies in our chairs. I like to breathe in, “be still”, and out, “& know I am God”, breathe in, “I will be exalted among the nations”, and out, “I will be exalted in the earth!”
(BE STILL & know HE is God)
Now that we’ve paused long enough to breathe, we can begin to notice what is happening within and around us. We scan our bodies for tension, initially just becoming aware of what is there. We begin to feel the frustration, hurry, sadness or other emotions that may have earlier been hiding under the surface. We consider our mood, our environment, and our interactions with others. What is actually happening? We do not judge, criticize or condemn whatever thoughts or feelings surface. We are simply learning to be aware. This may be an area of growth necessary for some personalities more than others. Awareness allows us to see what is really going on and bring it honestly to the Lord. We cannot surrender what we don’t know is present.
(Search me, O God… Psalm 139:23-24)
Once we become aware and present to what is happening, we can begin to ask deeper questions. These questions will allow us the opportunity to change our state and challenge those negative beliefs:
What am I believing right now?
How does it make me feel?
Is it true? Really true? What does God say?
What would change if I chose to believe God?
*If you have extra time and space available, this would be a great time to be journaling those answers.
Now that we’ve practiced a bit of self-observation and understanding of what beliefs underlie our reactions, we have a choice. Instead of allowing ourselves to play out the same negative, untrue scripts in our lives, or even simply living on auto-pilot, we can choose a different path. We can choose a different belief, a different story-ending if you will.
(Now choose life… Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Using SNAP one time will not change your life. It is a practice, just like many other things in life. SNAP is a tool to grow in awareness, to allow God to search your heart (Psalm 139). Practice SNAP! Set a timer for the first thing in the am, last thing in the pm, and 2+ times during the day. Practicing this will help create a helpful habit of awareness so you can grow in acknowledging HIM in all your ways…
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Revelation 22: 17
A Few of Our Family Favorites for Christmas:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson We read this every year. I hear about it if I try to skip it. And I cry...every year!
Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide This book is a great advent (daily) read aloud for families.
Skipping Christmas by John Grisham was made into a movie- Christmas with the Kranks. The movie is great. The book is even better!