A Time to SHOUT IT OUT!!
I love traditions! Call me strange, but I have always loved working with my hands and, let’s face it - many Christmas traditions can involve lots of work (can I get an “amen” here?). Hospitality is my spiritual gift and I love to serve the Lord and others by cooking and cleaning and everything else. Most of my friends might call it a curse - for the longest time I mistakenly thought they were just lazy! I have learned over my short 55 years that God has made each of us, every single one of us, oh, so different in the way we serve, the way we love, and the way we celebrate.
Working with my hands comes easy but It's the first part of the verse above for which the Apostle Paul deserves an explanation and a Shout Out. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” Who does that? Does Paul mean this literally? He was actually writing to the Thessalonians reminding them to "mind your own business!" Now, usually when I use that term, I am frustrated. Really frustrated. But what if I used it to center my own daily life, to make leading a quiet life my personal ambition? Attending to my own business rather than being preoccupied with someone else's? Wow, what could I accomplish?! Maybe some dinner on the table? A better handle on my holiday schedule? More time to contemplate the significance of Christmas? More giving of myself, more of my time given to others? Leading a quiet life, attending to your own business, and working with your hands are all possible when we ask the Lord to let this challenge be our focus.
After our children left the nest, my husband Sam and I couldn't bear the emptiness. We began teaching and mentoring young married couples at our church. Because we are a product of growing through serving, we wanted them to learn how to grow in their faith, to love through serving. We then started a tradition with other local churches to feed breakfast to the homeless community one Saturday a month. This is our third year serving and our homeless numbers have gone from 25 to over 100 people. Christmas is an especially wonderful time for this tradition, for giving and sharing, for a SHOUT OUT in gratitude for God's gift to us - His only Son, Jesus! We try to make it all the more special by serving up traditional biscuits and gravy on the Saturdays during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We didn’t necessarily start a new tradition but let God take something simple we were already doing and make it even more meaningful for the holidays.
As I write this article, plans have also been made to feed our law enforcement, who QUIETLY watch over us, for Thanksgiving. It's a small gesture of thanks but I want my family to serve, to give a SHOUT OUT to those who deserve so much more than they receive in the name of Jesus!
Is there a neighbor who you have never met? How about someone you see walking the streets and you have always wondered about their story? What about the person you see repeatedly behind the checkout counter? God lays out countless opportunities for us to serve Him through serving others.
It is my prayer that we, along with those we may be mentoring/watching us, learn how to "work with your hands, to "make it your ambition" to do whatever glorifies the Lord. Pray that He will show you daily how to lead a quiet life that will be a SHOUT OUT to Him and for Him. Be the hands and feet of Jesus this Christmas - after all, it is His birthday we are celebrating.
- What is one way you can be/live more quietly this Christmas? Ask your spouse or closest friend for help in identifying something practical.
- What is something you are involved in or who is someone you currently know that you could serve in a simple, quiet way this Christmas? The idea is probably not to add one more thing to an already busy schedule but to let the Lord show you where He is already at work.
Answer any of these questions either in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen.
Biscuits & Gravy for Thanksgiving & Christmas Morning & Lots More
1 pound maple ground sausage
3 cups milk
½ cup self rising flour
salt and pepper
12 frozen biscuits
Brown sausage but DO NOT DRAIN GREASE! Sprinkle flour over sausage and stir until pasty. Add milk one cup at a time as gravy thickens (add more for thinner gravy.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over baked biscuits and serve with TABASCO!! SO GOOD!!!!