Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Twelve Deeds + Dates of Christmas

GOODNESS those snow days didn't do me any favors in the energy department. I am straight up dragging at work today. Even though I'm a little sleepy, I'm so excited to share a little challenge with you!

Lately I feel like I see the 12 days of Christmas referenced everywhere I look (In some places it's the 25 days of Christmas.  Yeesh--that's a lot of baked goods.).  The past couple of years I've half-heartedly participated in Advent by following along with Scripture reading plans that required about two minutes of my time each day of December leading up to Christmas, but I didn't actually DO a whole lot.  I mean sure, I wrapped some presents, baked some banana bread, and said the words, "I just LOVE Christmas," all romantically to Daniel several hundred times, but I didn't really practice the crazy things those very Scriptures I was supposed to be really reflecting upon were teaching me.  Again, I'm not saying I should only follow the Lord in December, but I am saying I should let God's Word change me and guide me, and my annual reading of the Christmas story and all the prophecies about Christ before it should show up through the movement of my flesh and bone during the Christmas season.  

Christmas is twelve days from tomorrow, and I've spent a little time the past couple of weeks trying to come up with my own twelve days of Christmas based on what I've been reading about preparing the way for Jesus, taking care of the orphans and the widows, and throwing down all I have to pick up my cross and follow the Lord.  It's really easy for me to get caught up in buying the right gifts for the right people and making sure I have money to do so this time of year--I end up losing sight of Christ in the spirit of being the best Christmas gift giver to people who really don't need more junk to remember me by (I mean that lovingly, friends and fam--I love giving you stuff!) and not really giving up anything at all. 

So I've come up with a list of twelve deeds that I think will help me focus less on myself and my own pride and more on other people.  I've debated whether or not to share this challenge with you because I don't want it to look like I'm saying, "I am SUCH a good person, guys!" It's pretty much the opposite, actually--I decided to share it because I'd like your accountability.  If I'm being totally honest, getting all or even a few of these things done in the midst of holiday madness is going to be TOUGH for me--I'm a selfish girl who really just wants to sit and watch all the Christmas episodes of The Office back to back while binge eating the cookies I got at my small group's Christmas cookie exchange last night.  Making, doing, and buying things for people I don't know is going to require some effort in the time of year I usually allow myself to sink into that whole "Long Winter's Nap" lull.

Since this is my first married Christmas and my husband somehow still finds me somewhat charming after living with me for a month and a half, he's agreed to partner with me in this stuff. And because I'm asking the Lord to teach me the art of selflessness, I want to get better at focusing on my Daniel's needs as well, so I thought I'd add in some intentional time together during these next twelve days.  

(Now I'm definitely not saying deeds or works are going to earn me any favors or special treatment with God--I'm just admitting my everyday actions aren't reflecting the Christ I claim to pursue and hope to mirror. And you all should know by now how much I like lists.  If it's not written down in list format, I probably won't do it.)

So here we go:

The Twelve Deeds & Dates of Christmas!

1. Bake for neighbors (I've never met them because I'm TERRIBLE.)
+ Watch basketball game at sports bar (This requires us to leave our house--we don't have cable.)
2. Free family photos
 + Wrap presents together over hot chocolate
3. Give away half of closet
+ Try on clothes for one another
4. Leave a large tip
+ Go out for lunch
5. Invite someone new over for dinner, cook for them
+ Have a glass of wine together after guest leaves
6. Babysit for free
+ Daydream out loud about future family 
7. Write anonymous letters of encouragement
+ Watch a Christmas movie in front of the fire
8. Buy a stranger's coffee
+ Coffee date, no cell phones
9.  Organize bell ringer flash mob
+ Drive around to look at Christmas lights
10. Go Christmas caroling, hand out candy canes 
+ (This could be a group date!)
11. Serve at soup kitchen
+ Watch "White Christmas" at Circle Cinema (old historic theater in Tulsa--we watched this there during our first Christmas season together)
12. Give to an adoption fund
+ Find a moment together to pray over child, family, & our future family

I'd love for you to consider joining us in this little challenge or maybe even create a list of your own! Either way, I hope you have the merriest Christmas!


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