At Christmas time, more than any other time of the year, I long for a slower pace. I long for time to discover the simple joys of the season and to keep my focus on Jesus – the reason for the season. It seems to me it was easier to do when my children were young. I was more aware of how the commercials grabbed their attention and created a hunger for “more.” In those days, I purposed to distract them from all the jingle jangle of commercials by pulling out the Christmas books, jigsaw puzzles and turning off the television. That helped to simplify our lives – making time to enjoy our relationships and conversations about the meaning of Christmas. Now that the kids are grown up, I rarely get the puzzles out, and it seems a little harder to give myself the gift of simplicity.
I’ve been thinking lately, why give the gift of simplicity just at Christmas? There is tremendous value in giving ourselves, our families and friends the gift of simplicity all year long. Simplifying creates margin, space and openness in our lives. Jesus teaches us that freedom is not found in having and doing but in “being,” and being happens best when we keep God first in our hearts. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
So … I am challenging myself to keep life simple. Some days I’m better at it than others, but I am working at discovering more ways to focus on relationships, and on practicing “less is more” in my purchases and activities. Practicing simplicity is also helping me to identify just where my heart is, discover a life unencumbered by “stuff” and helping me enjoy the simple blessings God provides – what a true gift! – by Judi Brandow, Office Team Leader & Communications Specialist