by Leslie Ann Jones January 01, 2019
By the time you read this, the new year will have arrived with all the celebration that's due, but as I'm writing, the Christmas tree still stands twinkling in the corner of our den, and our girls are happily playing with the Lego sets they unwrapped last week. I usually spend New Year's Eve taking down the Christmas decorations and packing everything away, but this year, I'm running a little behind, and to be honest, I don't hate it.
I'm just not in a hurry to pack up Christmas this year. We've spent the past couple of weeks traveling and visiting with out-of-town family, and while the days have been full of joy and laughter and all good things, I need a minute to regroup before diving headfirst into the new year.
Did you now that historically speaking, Christmas was celebrated for the 12 days after Christmas rather than the 25 days before? It's true. Just ask Wikipedia. But this year, it seems like everyone is in a hurry to move on. I was shocked at all the people in my instagram feed packing Christmas up at the stroke of midnight on Dec. 26. If that's you, I'm not judging, I'm just not there yet.
This year, I want to linger a little longer in the sparkly wonder of the season. To sit for just a minute more in the joy of the incarnation. To dwell a little more deeply on the hope of Christmas. And to carry it into the new year with me.
I'm not one to make big resolutions or set lots of goals at the beginning of each year. I tend to choose a trajectory for the year and aim for growth rather than making a big list of things I'd like to accomplish. This year, I'm finding my soul is in desperate need of slow and careful tending. Maybe that's why I'm not yet ready to quit Christmas.
To be honest, my quiet times over the past few months have been haphazard at best. A quick prayer here or there. A short devotional reading. A bit of journaling. A little Scripture reading.
No regularity, no depth, no rhythm, no lingering.
All hurried, all off-kilter, all helter-skelter, and all out of whack.
Anyone else with me?
What Christmas has done for me this year, it seems, is remind me of what I've been missing. Wonder. Awe. Joy. Hope. Reverence. Worship. Peace.
And so, I'm choosing to push back a little on our crazy culture's need to move full speed ahead. I'm slowing down a bit and spending the first few weeks of this new year reacquainting myself with the age old practices of spiritual disciplines. Reading the word. Spending time in prayer. Participating in worship. Lingering a little longer on the things that matter most. Slowly and steadily getting back into the rhythms of faithfulness.
I think that maybe, just maybe, I'm not alone in this need to linger longer on the basics of faithfulness, so over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing a crash course on the spiritual disciplines here on the blog (check the schedule below for details). I hope you'll join me in lingering longer day by day.
Until next time, grace and peace.
January 8 // Linger Longer: One Day at a Time
January 15 // Linger Longer: Hear God's Voice (Word)
January 22 // Linger Longer: Have God's Ear (Prayer)
January 29 // Linger Longer: Belong to God's Body (Fellowship)
*(Adapted from Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines by David Mathis)
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