Living with children in a home is a messy business. Eating multiple times a day rumples the kitchen, creativity and pretend make for a cluttered, disorganized living area, imperfect children naturally generate conflict. But the key to all of this swirling activity becoming a place of life-giving is dependent on the conductor of life in the home. If a mama accepts this as a healthy, normal pattern of family and seeks to cultivate an atmosphere of love, affirmation, and a heart filled with the peace of God’s presence inside, the memories of home will be sweet, and will provide a secure place in which children are free to develop and grow.
Peace starts in the heart of a mama and is contagious to those who live around her. A happy, peaceful woman is a gift to all who come into her home. Wisdom teaches us that some of the holiday dinner will be burned or undercooked, glasses of sparkling juice will be spilled. Someone might even become ill. But if a mama prepares her heart for these possibilities, she will create harmony in her symphony of life.
Arm yourselves with the purpose of practicing living with a peace-filled life this week so that you may more easily breeze through the extra stress of the holiday season with the grace God is so willing to give. Family was His good idea, and He wants you to know the delight of it, not the disappointment.
Next week, Clay and Nathan will be gathering with dear friends in Colorado Springs to celebrate Thanksgiving together. I will be making turkey and whatever I can find to celebrate here in Oxford with Sarah and Thomas, Lily, Joel and Joy. We will miss being with our boys in the States, but we will think about them and call and celebrate over the internet.
As a woman in her mid-sixties, I have developed some perspective in life just by living long enough. I have many friends throughout the world, have had so many opportunities to travel, to experience life through lots of adventures. Yet, at this point of life, my relationship with my children and with Clay is what gives me the deepest and most abiding pleasure.
These are my people. Being with them is where I belong. Knowing one another deeply and supporting one another as a devoted community is such a rare gift that we all share. I need this close community. Clay and I need and depend upon our adult children for the emotional fellowship we all share, the rousing conversations about theology which means so much to all of us, our dreams, wishes and fears and all that goes into making a close friendship so special.
As I approach Thanksgiving, which we will share together in my small home, I anticipate that we will share in the celebration we have had through many seasons—to honor God, to humbly gather as a family and to recognize His goodness together, as a community who believes deeply together that He is our source of life in every aspect. I already know we may not start dinner on time if Lily needs one more nap, or one of the girls may not quite have their part of the meal ready—and Joel may be late in making and mashing the potatoes. Yet, I anticipate that my grace spoken, given felt through the holidays as the hostess honoring Jesus in my home, will be the fragrance of His love passing through all of us as we gather in His name.
Yet, it makes me so excited to think that soon, at Christmas, all of us, and baby Lily, will be together, again to share in the life that has been created over so many years.
One crisp fall evening a couple of years ago, ended with a blazing sunset of reds, pinks, and corals shouting for attention out our back deck found us taking a moment to admire. As we were sitting in peace, the front door opened and my then 26-year-old, Joel, strode in with weary face and exhausted body.
"I just decided to come home after working all last night and today, because I need some rest and peace.”
Dinner still a half-hour away, I quickly cut some savory cheese and placed crisp, whole-grain crackers on a plate and poured a bubbly drink in a glass, handing him my offering, "Just a little something to hold you over ‘til dinner is ready."
The furrowed brow softened and he said,
"This is why I came home--I knew you all would fill me back up, and I wanted peace and quiet for at least one night."
One of the best powers of home is the life that comes from within, giving comfort and a place to belong, soothing the soul, inspiring the mind, and giving a moral compass through all the twists and turns of life.
Often when we think of having company over, especially during the holiday season, we think of cleaning our home, cooking great meals, decorating, and putting forth our best.
Yet the giving of hospitality to our beloved children is an imperative art that will truly reach their souls and give them a reason to believe in the God of love and holiness.
When bodily needs and emotional needs are met; when minds are filled with nobility and inspiration, then souls are predisposed to follow the God who is revered in all of these rituals.
And so, as we approach the holidays, consider especially how to make a lifegiving home for your children. Whether small ones who you caress and give cool sips of juice, teens who rage with hormones and moods but need times of thoughtfulness and perhaps cookies prepared on their behalf, or a weary husband who needs patience and compassion served alongside a favorite treat…
Let us make HOME: a place where the giving of hospitality and love becomes the life through which your children see Jesus incarnate in your home.
As you prepare to cultivate a people, a place and a community within your family and at table, remember, it is the daily celebrating of life together, that will prepare for you a heritage and deep friendships that will satisfy the deepest places of your soul the rest of your life. It is a gift to inherit and one of the greatest works of your life.
My people are my dearest and best friends and they make me feel I have a place to belong.
AND, I AM SOOO EXCITED TO SHARE WITH YOU A WONDERFUL, AND ABSOLUTELY SOUL-DELIGHTING MUSIC THAT WILL PROVIDE A BACKGROUND OF SOOTHING AND INSPIRING BACKGROUND FOR BREATHING IN A PEACEFUL HOLIDAY.
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