Saturday, November 22, 2014

Time together....the most important thing

Yes, I am a "Black Friday" shopper.  Gwen and I have been power shopping for good deals for the last 10 years or so.  This year there have been so many "PRE-Black Friday" sales and I have been checking them out.  Given where our family has been in the last weeks, I haven't been looking very hard.  But yesterday something caught my eye.  I have been considering a tablet - something small enough that I could bring it with me for note taking (I'm getting a bit tired of trying to type on my Iphone).  And there, in the ad, was a tablet that seemed almost to good to be true.  So early this morning, I bought a tablet.   And before noon, Ken went out and bought a second one for himself.  I am proud to say that I managed to get the entire tablet set up by myself.  Now this is quite a feat for me.  And I am very pleased with this detachable keyboard.  I can use the tablet alone or with the keyboard.  So my Black Friday shopping began a bit earlier than usual.

The loss of Lucas has really been sort of a wake up call for me as far as "What is really important?".  I have been looking at the upcoming holidays from a very different perspective.  We have always had Jesus' birth as the central part of our celebrations.  But it suddenly seems much more important to find gifts for our family that are "event" type activities.  Things that we can do together.  If I have felt one thing over the last week, it is the importance of just being there for one another.  Being together and doing fun things together seems like exactly what we need right now.  I have the feeling that my Black Friday shopping will be a bit lighter than usual!

I have been thinking about our holiday traditions.   I loved celebrating Advent with my kids.  We always had Advent calendars and often other activities for every day during Advent.  For many years, I facilitated Advent Events for the families of our church.  Some of my favorite memories of these events center around my mom and her enjoyment and pure pleasure being able to attend with us.  She always visited us for Thanksgiving so her stays overlapped with the beginning of Advent.  As I was thinking about this today I realized that it wasn't the event that she loved so much, it was being able to be WITH us - the experience - with our family.  She loved all of the preparations that I had to do.  The cutting and planning and tracing and sorting.  Again, because she was doing this all with me.  I don't know how I have missed seeing this, but suddenly it seems very clear.   The most important thing is being together.  It doesn't matter what you are doing..... it is just having those you love close by.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my mom with Gwen and Doug.  We all loved when my mom came to visit.  It was one of the highlights of our year.  Of course, mom and I also did our share of Black Friday shopping.  There was one year we nearly froze in a bitter wind, waiting outside of a Sears store for a big buy one get one free sale.  And there was also the year that we went to Zayre's at midnight for a special big sale (those sleeping bags my mom got for Doug and Gwen were used for many, many years).  So I guess that I can now appreciate my Black Friday shopping with Gwen since we are loving it together!

Let's face it.  Relationships are what really matters.   Really being with people matters more than anything else.   And the same is especially true about Jesus.  Having a bunch of head knowledge about Jesus, knowing facts from the Bible, understanding who Jesus is, are all important things.  But without really KNOWING Jesus, you are missing out.  Yesterday I talked about prayer and how important it is.  Actually, prayer should be like talking to a good friend on the phone.  Spending time talking and listening to Jesus is really important.   Just spending time together, that is the most important thing.   Being together and feeling the love. And the good news is that Jesus is always available to be with us and He will always surround you with his love.  There is nothing better.

I realize that the beginning of this blog doesn't seem to connect with the rest!  What I mean is that I started off talking about a THING that I bought - while shopping! And I know that this seems contrary to the ending of this blog.  But it is not about the shopping, it is about the AMOUNT of shopping and the REASON for shopping that matters.   I don't think this year will be about more stuff at great prices. I will be thinking about how thankful I am to be spending time with Gwen.  I will be giving more hugs to every family member.  I will be grateful for warmth and comfort in our home.  There will be joy in just being together.  And I will be thankful for new, advanced technology that allows me to journal and blog on my new tablet.   Most of all, I am thankful for a God that wants a personal relationship with each one of us.  There is simply no better gift.

Jesus, thank you for helping me to understand what is really important.  Thank you for memories of shared times with my mom.  Holy Spirit, help us all to cherish times with family and friends.  Keep our eyes focused on what is really important.  Holy Spirit thank you for reminding me that relationships are what counts.   Amen

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