When I was in junior high, I ran track. Sprints were my specialty and at the time I was pretty fast. For my school, anyway. I broke the records in both the 50 yard dash and the 100 yard dash. It was fun to be really good at something. Junior high was the end of my illustrious track career. I am quite sure I no longer hold those records.

There was something about standing at the starting line, hearing the cues to get set and ready to run. It was important to calm myself so I didn’t jump the gun, literally! At the same time, I had to be ready to push off and be moving as soon as the gun fired.

Today, it feels like I am standing at the starting line of the holiday season. Prepping for tomorrow, knowing that it is the “gun shot” for me in many ways. Friday I give myself permission to decorate for winter and Christmas. Fall decor will be packed away with care for ten months. My mind will turn to other holiday traditions of baking, wrapping, entertaining and puzzling. (Yes, puzzles are my winter tradition!)

So on this day, I take a deep breath and intentionally calm myself. I want to be fully present in every activity, every moment, every memory of the next few weeks. This day, I am baking pie with my daughter. She wants to learn; I am willing to teach.

The most challenging part of the next few weeks will be taking time to be quiet before the Lord and listen. It feels so compelling to get things done and there are so many things to do. So I set my intention now to take time for myself to be in fellowship with Jesus. Even if it means I don’t do something else.

. . . Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. 3Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.

Isaiah 55:2-3

I invite you to join me in pausing, taking a deep breath and listening, even if only for five minutes, before rushing into the day. Whether it is the holiday on Thursday or the days between holidays, give him the first five and see what he can do!

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