These Wonderful Things

Our 2015 Christmas card! | @ashleydanyew

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Newspaper for gift-wrapping.
Charlie Brown stamps.
Extra rehearsals.
(Endless) to-do lists.
Christmas concerts.
Amazon packages.
Bulletin drafts.
Doxology Press orders.
Shipping deadlines.
Various versions of Jingle Bells in lessons every week.

These are the things our December days are made of (especially if you're a musician!). As much as we long for a slower pace at this time of the year, the truth is this is one of the busiest seasons of all.

Real-life December means we're behind on our Advent calendar. Because part of me feels like if I don't turn the cards over, the days won't go by so quickly.

It means stacks of music on the piano, next to the piano, and on the floor as I try to prepare for several concerts and services in the next two weeks.

It means daily to-do lists to try to keep up with gifts to purchase, gifts to wrap, holiday baking, social engagements, online orders, and home repairs and make sure something doesn't slip through the cracks.

It's ironic, isn't it?

"A season that is, at its heart, a love story - a story about faith and fragility, angels, a baby, a star - that sweet, simply beautiful story gets lost so easily in a jarring, toxic tangle of sugar and shopping bags and rushing and parking lots [and rehearsals and services] and expectations." - Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine

For many, December is just plain busy and there's not much we can do to change that. However, I believe there are little ways we can choose to live in the moment and savor the sweetness of this season, even in the midst of the hustle and busy-ness.

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"These wonderful things are the things we'll remember all through our lives..." (+ a free print!) | @ashleydanyew

Peppermint mochas.
Small acts of kindness. 
Butter cookies.
Harry Connick, Jr. Pandora station.
Lights on the tree, wreaths on the windows.
Cozy nights in with SD.
Candlelight services.
Our favorite carols.

These are the things that remind us of Christmas. The things that fill our hearts with holiday cheer. The things we wait a whole year for. The things we "remember all through our lives" ("Sleigh Ride").

Let's focus on simplicity and kindness and little acts of service. Let's set priorities and stick to them. Let's choose grace, for ourselves and for others. "Let's honor the story - the silent night, the angels, the miracle child, the simple birth, with each choice that we make." - Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine