December 26th has always been my favorite day of the year. Of course this makes no sense to my kids. They can’t imagine any day being better than Christmas.
But for me, it’s about the "pause." It’s knowing I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. There is no rush, no requirement. We can stay in our PJs all day if we want and play with our new toys; we can leisurely put things away or just make piles all over the house. We can nap; not answer the phone; pretend the whole world has stopped.
That’s what happened when Christ was born: the world stopped. Everything changed. Hope came down; peace became possible; love held new meaning. Of course the world has turned it all around and made Christmas so hectic that there seems no time for pause. In our rush, mankind even abbreviates it: "XMAS." We literally "cross" the Christ out of Christmas.
No matter how many things I have to do in the month of December, I refuse to scribble through the word "Christmas". It is about Christ’s coming and I will not cross that out. My entire life went on "pause" when Christ came into it. When God showed up on the path of my days, it’s as if someone took a picture that I forever treasure in my mind — it was the turning point. It was the end of the darkness and the beginning of the light. I can see it in my mind and my desire is to return to it always.
My husband Shane got a great gift from Santa this year: a picture of a baby pine growing up out of the snow in the shape of a cross — beneath which it is written, "Christmas began in the heart of God." "I wish we could keep this up all year," Shane said. Maybe we will. Maybe it would make us pause. God designed Christmas for the "pause," for the time to reflect on the Savior of the world and the very personal meaning of His coming in each of our lives.
The world will not tell us to slow down, so it is up to us to create the time to sit around the tree and recall the memories each ornament represents; to make the time to read stories in front of the fire with our children or write down the thoughts of our hearts in love letters to those we cherish; to intentionally carve out the time to snuggle up with the Word and fill our cups with Living Water; to make the time to jot down goals for a new year and a new season; to put the world on "pause."
I hope you take the time to pause before the New Year …and take time throughout the year … to pause.
Merry Christmas and Best to you 2010,
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
At the age of 18, I was recovering from an eating disorder, cutting, and suicide when I read Jennifer Strickland’s book Girl Perfect and it changed my life. At the age of 33, as I travel the world reaching youth for the gospel, this is the only book I recommend to girls who are struggling. The Lord has truly anointed Jennifer’s words through her story, not only to address the struggles of today’s generation of girls, but also to walk them through the healing necessary for victory.
Jennifer is a captivating speaker. She keeps the listener hanging in wonder of what’s coming next! Her presentation is not only absorbing, it reveals the truth of God’s power to heal a wounded spirit.
Barbara Brown, Former Stonecroft Ministries Regional Representative, San Diego, CA
“The ‘P’ word [perfection] may be the heaviest burden women bear. All the misguided things we do to attain it can keep us away from what we need most – the unconditional love of God the Father. The Girl Perfect Study Guide gives you a map to the wholeness you were created for.”
Nancy Ortberg, author and former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church
“The Girl Perfect Study Guide shatters the lies girls and women believe and points to the ultimate truth, which really does set us free. I am confident that this study will help thousands discover a beauty, purpose, and worth that truly lasts. Thank you Jen for exposing the ‘perfect life’ and inviting girls to experience God’s ‘perfect love.'”
Allie Marie Smith
Allie Marie Smith, Founder of Wonderfully Made
One of the best testaments to what Jennifer is doing for the young girls and women of today is a comment from my eleven-year-old granddaughter: “Grammy, I want to read this book and hear her again. She’s good and I learned a lot.” This is exactly what I experienced from a grown-up perspective when I was introduced to Jennifer Strickland’s amazing story. Read it and see if you don’t get the real story from an icon model and a powerful speaker of truth.”