I really do enjoy the holidays. Seriously, I do. But seeing that I'm a woman of routine and predictability, I'm not too excited about the next two months of busy-ness that comes with Thanksgiving and Christmas. I'm pretty sure God did not intend for our lives to be that way. I'm hoping to shift my focus, learn to go with the flow, and enjoy moments with family and friends. This will probably entail paring down the shopping lists and pacing our schedule so little ones don't become over-tired and too cranky to enjoy the specialness of the season. And, it will involve a whole heart change for our family of six.
BJ and I just recently became members of a church, Buffat Heights Baptist Church, just a couple of miles from our house (compared to SHBC which was a 30 minute drive for us). The change was preceded by lots of prayer. We feel blessed to be a part of a fellowship of believers in our own community who share a burden for lost souls in neighborhoods and businesses that surround us. We feel challenged by the Bible teaching led by our Pastor and humbled by the openness of new people we meet every week in Bible study.
However, we do seriously miss our family at SHBC. I'm certain we will always feel a connection to SHBC. After 13 years there, we had built some amazing friendships that will last a lifetime and into eternity (isn't that cool to think of?!). We are so blessed to have been discipled and challenged at SHBC by some of Knoxville's (and Tennessee's) greatest Bible teachers and leaders. It's so cool how God works all things for our good.
We are now in the process of transitioning into serving and learning how to minister and grow at Buffat Heights. Pastor Dave is challenging us to think differently about the holidays. I have come to welcome his messages with an open heart because it was just what I needed to hear as "busy is about to get busier." If life swirls out of control, I will miss the intention of sharing the love of Christ during a season when so many hurting people become acutely aware of the gaping hole in their hearts and lives.
I suspect Christmas this year will look a little - or a lot - different at our house. And no, we aren't throwing out the Christmas tree just yet. And yes, the kids will probably receive a gift or two. But just as we give and share with those closest to us, we also hope to focus on those we haven't even met yet. I'm certain God will make us aware of families, couples, children, and individuals who need the love of Jesus, if we slow down and take the time to see them around us.