The good times, the laughter, the food, will all be done. The presents will all be opened—evidenced by the shrapnel of the wrapping paper, bows, and boxes across the room. Other songs will infiltrate the continuous Christmas music, and everyone will be off enjoying their new presents or sleeping.
This is my favorite time. All of the stress if done. All the preparations are over. I’m finished. I can rest. My mind can slow. The distractions are easier to push aside as there is no deadline.
I grab my coffee and curl up by the tree. I turn off all the other lights in the room and curl up with my journal, Bible, and quilt.
There’s a particular stillness, a precious peace that settles in. Some call it the let-down. I don’t. For me, this time is a treasured moment for Jesus and me. A time of thanks. A time of unwinding. A time to linger.
Then we start to review the year. What I’ve learned and what I chose to fight Him on; where I’ve done well and where I’ve failed Him. We consider who I was when I started the year and how I’ve grown or regressed. And we look at the call He’s laid on my heart. We look at the goals, where we are now, and how we are going to get there. We identify the next steps. And we linger.
Some years I dig into a passage or book, others I read only a few verses. But I always journal my prayer and response to Jesus. I open my heart to Him, asking for direction and change. I ask for Him to refine me and to give me His heart and mind; to prepare me for the upcoming year. And I ask for Him to help me fall in love with Him all over again, to take me deeper into His embrace and to give me wisdom, discernment, and insight. I ask Him to open my mind and teach me. I ask for more of Him and less of me. And then we linger.
Pour out and allow Him to pour in. Between the business and the chaos, pause. Make time to linger. It’s time well spent.
Then make lingering in His presence a regular practice over this upcoming year. It doesn’t have to be long, just long enough to let His word penetrate your heart, for you to rest in His presence. It will change you, restore you, and strengthen you as nothing else can.
‘But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him.’ Deuteronomy 4:29
‘“I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.’ Proverbs 8:17
‘If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. ‘ Jeremiah 29:13
‘The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.’ Lamentations 3:25
‘Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’ Isaiah 55:6-9
‘“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.’ Matthew 7:7-8