We must devote, not only times and places to prayer, but be everywhere in the spirit of devotion; with hearts always set toward heaven, looking up to God in all our actions, and doing every thing as His servants; living in the world as in a holy temple of God, and always worshiping Him, though not with our lips, yet with the thankfulness of our hearts, the holiness of our actions and the pious and charitable use of all His gifts.
I give myself a certain gift every year at Christmas. There is absolutely nothing which can be acquired at the finest store and beautifully wrapped in a box that compares to it. It has been a part of my life and routine for a very long time now. I call it the gift of Twelvetide Rest. It begins before the sun comes up on Christmas morning and ends on the evening of the 5th night of January.
Many traditions and customs have been established throughout the ages to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. Festive parties, ceremonies, gift exchanges and merriment of all kinds have happened in celebration of this particular collection of days.
In comparison, I try to avoid feasting and merrymaking throughout those days. With one exception: I indulge in a couple of “Rocky Rolls” on Christmas morning. The warm and gooey cinnamon rolls served every Christmas morning are a holiday tradition at our house, passed down through the generations in my husband’s family for many decades. Not only are they tasty, there is extra love added as the children in our lives have stepped into the roles of apprentices, journeymen, and finally, masters of roll-baking perfection. And upon graduation, they are starting the process all over again with their children. (I won’t share the recipe here, because someday, one of my grandchildren might want to open a “Breakfast Garage” and make a small fortune selling them. So mum’s the word on that.)
If I don't have to leave home for work or church, some of the Twelvetide days are spent wearing pajamas all day long. In addition to drinking lots of water, eating light, and drinking some delicious coffee, I spend countless hours reading and lingering long over some of my books with those edge-worn covers and my Bible. In the quiet of rest, I seek the Lord regarding His plans for me for the year ahead. I do lots of writing as well, recording impressions, hopes and dreams for the days ahead. Deo volente! (“God willing.”)
I choose a word, a scripture verse, and sometimes a quote that remind me of the days of devotion. On occasion I have turned them into art of some kind. But always I keep them before me in the year ahead.
My word for 2019 is ABIDE. I love its many definitions: to bear patiently, to endure without yielding, to wait for and remain stable. To continue without fading or being lost.
My heart turns those words to a prayer for the unseen days ahead. Trusting them to a God who sees all and loves us.
Help me to bear patiently the challenges and uncertainty that come my way in the year ahead. Keep me free from all anxiety and fear, knowing that you are LORD over all and that you do all things well! Help me to continue to run successfully the race set before me, enduring to the end without yielding. May my heart be stayed on you, for I know that when I wait for you to reveal your plans and purposes, there will be stability and peace. May the flame that burns brightly within not fade. Thank you that because of Jesus, I will not be lost!
I love you Lord!