Sunday, January 15, 2012

Enough already!

This second Sunday after the Epiphany, most of us have put Christmas behind us. Decorations and lights are down and packed - or thrown - away. The bills for gifts we scrambled to buy are coming due. And we may have some wonderful memories of friends and family that we pull out to treasure, via photos or online.

I've made it a policy to commit a donation of "stuff" each time we get called by charity pickups. I often try to find things the night before. Supposedly, we're supposed to have things at the curb by 7am. Since we have a long driveway, there's no way I'm lugging a bag or bags to the street the night before ... or that early in the morning. Either W drops it off on his way to work, or I'll take it up when the dogs and I go walking. A little each time helps keep the house from overflowing. (I haven't braved the basement yet. Be forewarned, those who store their things below.)

The stores, filled with treasures and trash for the holidays, have marked down their stock. Many of us are shopping 75%-reduction sales, browsing for something that might not yet be in our house, kitchen, garage, or bedroom. I take longer to buy things, and generally avoid the stores. My house is full.

Ok, I admit I found the coolest ceiling laundry rack that can lower one rod at a time. It would save me from having to rescue toppled laundry. (The folding rack sitting on our washer-dryer gradually moves to tip everything onto the floor. I'm still debating that purchase. Will it make life easier, better? Support a small business?)

W refilled counter-top containers with flour and sugar from big storage bags this week. "How blessed we are not to worry where the rice, the flour, the food comes from," he remarked, scooping out food into the canisters. We talked about abundance, and how we take it all for granted. We think God owes us this "easy" life, where food, water, and shelter are part of our daily lives. We are his debtors, not he ours. I'm asking God for a grateful heart, and to know when enough is enough.

Earlier this month, a friend asked, "What one word would you choose for 2012?" Immediately, "GRATITUDE" popped into my mind. I resisted adopting it for a few days, in a funk over a series of disappointments. But the word keeps knocking at my heart. Truly, each of us has much for which to thank God. I'm reflecting on a few:
  • Life
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Church
  • Breath of heaven, holding us together
  • Nearness of God, thinking of us by day and night
  • Forgiveness, given and received
  • Abundant provisions
  • Work, though it may come and go in seasons
  • Sunshine and shadow
  • Ministry and being ministered to
  • The treasured Word, come to be among us, written on our hearts
  • The Scriptures, the revelation of God to us (how few of us value it, or feast on its riches)
  • Home and household
And - so much more. What's on your list?
I  hope you fall asleep and wake praising God for his tender mercies and the grace he lavishes on us!

Read more: 
*Second Sunday after the Epiphany: Watchword for the Week - How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:17

*1 Samuel 3:1-10,(11-20); Psalm 139:1-6,13-18; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

*Ah, you who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is room for no one but you. Isaiah 5:8

*For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Mark 8:36

Moravian Prayer: Giving God, you have created all that exists, but our greed compels us to covet things you have given to others. Have mercy on us for our sin of wanting more. Help us to find joy in our own gifts. Amen.

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