Friday, December 11, 2015

Fifth Day of Hanukkah - Simple Quiet Pleasures

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

Simple Pleasures(1) 

Spend tonight savoring simple joys. 

Pop some corn and snuggle with a book of sentimental short stories of Christmases past. 

If you live in an area with snow, take a walk and leave a trail of snow angels behind. 

In a warmer climates, grab a blanket, head outside, and search for the star in the East. 

Consider watching this video - Star of Bethlehem. It weaves science and faith together, beautifully building God's incredible timing for sending His Son! 

Take this night as an opportunity to reflect on Christ’s humble birth. Turn off all the lights except Christmas decorations and/or candles to really set a quiet mood for the night time advent of His presence into the world.  Try spending a minute or two in complete silence together as a family (can you do it?  Is it comfortable or uncomfortable?) Brainstorm simple ways to invite Him into places of your hearts, your homes, and your daily activities that may have been lacking His loving light in 2015.  Write down the thoughts and circle 3 things on the list that you believe you want to commit to in the coming year.  Keep it handy and reflect and refine it as the days of Hanukkah and Advent continue...

A Prayer Exercise of Quiet Solitude
1. "But the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (Habakkuk 2:20).  
Commit the first 2 or 3 minutes of your prayer time to silent meditation on the Lord - His majesty, His power, His love, His worthiness.  Let your heart be led into a place of awe over this mighty God who extends His love and provision to all of His Creation!
2. “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15).
Allow the Holy Spirit to bring to mind some area of your life that He knows requires some attention - Have you been trying to earn your salvation?  Do you have inordinate guilt over some perceived infraction against the Lord?  Have you sins of commission and sins of omission?  Confess these areas out loud as the Holy Spirit brings them to mind and release them from your mind.  Ask the Lord to increase your understanding of rest and grace, and help you to learn how to trust His provision for you.  Continue to sit, envision His strength becoming part of you and becoming your strength.
3. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
The Hebrew word for "still" in this verse carries the meaning of "going slack".  Think of it as your muscles going to a relaxed state instead of being strained in effort.  You can even think of it as a state of surrender.  And we can be still in a restful frame of mind when we know -  acknowledge, believe, are aware, understand - that He IS God.  The "being still" is akin to yielding to one who we acknowledge is the One in is giving up the control that is so much part of our nature...
Finish your prayer time with 1 to 3 minutes of practicing being still, yielding to His wisdom and sovereign knowledge!

(1) Adapted from the article "Merry and Meaningful" on Just Between Us.