“Tomorrow is December. Time to make sure 2015 counts.”
I saw this on an Instagram post on Monday. This scares me. The year is coming to an end. It was an amazing year, and so many crazy things happened. Life is just a constant surprise.
I’m not where I thought I’d be, but exactly where I’m supposed to be. Anyone else?
It is Advent season. We’ve almost completed the first week. I wanted to do something cool like we did last year, but we just ran out of time. Kind of like 2015. How do we “make it count?” What is left to do to make it a fulfilling year?
I have a new word – and maybe it is the word for 2016 – but I don’t feel like waiting until January to make it a thing. Simplicity. I want to simplify my life in a lot of ways. Like I literally want to throw out all my stuff. It’s a little weird.
Life just gets so full, my head gets full, and after a while I want to empty everything. I want to bag up all my thoughts, belongings, and emotions in trash bags and start all over again.
I’ve felt this pull towards minimalism and simplicity so strongly recently. I want to unclutter my life. Give away my TV (anyone want it?), cleanse my closet of excess clothing, and just eliminate extra stuff that is all around.
I want to unclutter my mind too. So many thoughts, voices, opinions, distractions that keep me up at night and put a wall between me and God. I feel like I have to wade through a million thoughts and lots of noise in order to get to Him.
And I’ve also obviously been thinking about Advent. I’ve been wanting to do something cool for it, to enjoy the season, to embrace it for all the magic it entails. I’ve sensed that these things – my need to simplify and my love for Advent – somehow work together. I just couldn’t put it together for the longest time.
Then, at my life group this week, we read an Advent devotional. And two simple words stuck out and brought it all together: Make Room.
I don’t know how “Make Room” became a Christmas theme, but it makes so much sense. When I Googled it, there is actually a book called The Uncluttered Heart: Making Room for God During Advent and Christmas. I should probably read it.
For now, though, here are some (week one) Advent thoughts.
We’ve already finished the first week. December is flying by, and Christmas will be here and gone before we know it. We need to simplify, and soak up all the goodness in this time. Go to the parties and make memories with friends. Play games and watch movies with family into the wee hours of the night. Make room for Jesus in this busy season (ironically, the season that is all about Him – yet we can’t find the time).
Create space to hope, the first theme of Advent. Go to Him with your hopes and dreams for your life, for the next year, for your relationships. Make room for Him to speak into your life and call out hopes you had no idea existed within you. We are all made for great things. No one is doomed to a small or average life. Make room by eliminating the lies, the shame, the belief that you are small or unworthy.
Bring hope to our world, in some small way. Random acts of kindness, encouraging words, helping a stranger, giving to a cause. We can hope for a better world – because Jesus promises us it is coming. We are called to bring His Kingdom to this world now, not just sit around waiting until He comes back. Do something to better the world around you. Hope in the goodness of people and the united desire for peace. There is no better time than this season to remember, our God came into this broken world to bring peace and hope. Make room for goodness by eliminating laziness and selfishness (whew, I’m so guilty here), and giving your time and energy to others who need it.
I’m going to be working on making room this Advent season, cleaning house, both literally and inside the messy house of my mind. Hope is everywhere, if we will only seek it, if we will make room for it.