This weekend at church, the most adorable little girl stood on the seat in front of me. She was wearing a beautiful silver dress and had a pair of velvet Mickey Mouse ears perched on top of her head. Her headband reminded me of the year that Bill and I took our daughters to Disney World on the Fourth of July. It was crowded and stressful and I told myself that we would never do that again.
No one wants to be so busy during the holidays that they have no time to enjoy them, yet so many of us pack our pre-Christmas days with an overwhelming number of To Dos. This year I resolved to not to fall into this trap, largely out of necessity. On the day before Thanksgiving, I had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur and repair a tear in the labrum of my left hip. Several people who have seen me hobbling around on crutches have commented on how awful it must feel to not be able to walk over the holidays but I don’t see it that way because knowing that I would spend all of December on crutches motivated me to get ready for Christmas early.
Proverbs 13:4 teaches us that the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied, but sometimes God works through circumstances to drive home the lesson. With presents wrapped, cards ordered, and decorations up before December 1st, I had none of those distractions to keep me from serving and spending time with friends and family.
Diligence is the earnest and persistent application to an undertaking, not a frenzied race to December 25th, so let’s make Proverbs 13 our mantra for 2013 and lean on God’s promises every day.
I recently received a message in my inbox from a woman who received one of the books that I had posted on paperbackswap.com. In her e-mail, she gushed about how much her daughter was enjoying it.
Knowing that the letter art book that had been tucked away in our gift closet ever since I bought it 5 years ago was now being used every day served as yet another reminder that we are not always the right person for the resources God has entrusted to our care. And sometimes, the best way to benefit from our possessions is to give them away.
December is a great month to clear your home of clutter. It creates space for the gifts that Santa will be bringing on Christmas Eve and gives others an opportunity to benefit from the items that have outgrown their usefulness to your family. One of the first two spaces I go through are my daughters’ closets because I know that I can pass the clothes that Katie and Hollie no longer wear to my niece when we see her over the holidays.
Next, I scrutinize our gift closet and get rid of the oldest items that I intended but never managed to give away. While in the basement, I also look inside holiday totes for decorations that could be donated to Goodwill. I prefer large pieces that have maximum impact with minimal installation time (like the giant wreath we hang in our entryway) and no longer enjoy setting out smaller items that create more clutter than Christmas cheer.
One of the last placed I scrutinize are the bookshelves in our living room as I challenge myself to let go of literature that I never should have bought in the first place. Books that are in good condition with no liquid damage, writing or highlighting are posted on paperbackswap.com. What I like about this site is how easy it is to use. For every book that I mail to another member of this free service, I receive a credit that can be used to request a book from the thousands that are posted on this website.
We all have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources God has temporarily entrusted to our care. Sites like paperbackswap.com make it, not just possible, but beneficial to pass our unused items along to others.