There’s something about this week which lies between Christmas Day and New Year’s. For many, it feels like an “off” week…perhaps a different work schedule, the house in chaos trying to find homes for all the new treasures received, travels and family members in and out of the house.
But, for me, this “in-between” week has become the perfect opportunity to vision-cast for the upcoming year. And, it’s not about New Year’s Resolutions, which tend to be broken by January 14th and completely abandoned come February. It’s not about a list of things to do. It’s about a vision to lay out before a new year begins. It’s a guide, directing this upcoming year with intentionality. It’s a vision that turns into a mission.
Last year, I had two points of focus: Freedom and Gratitude. And those two words shifted the way my entire year went. I can look back, not on a “perfect” year, but on one which most certainly witnessed multiple lies being crushed and truths revealed. I can see now how keeping a gratitude list (even though I didn’t update it as regularly as I might’ve liked) completely shifted my perspective to see the things in my life as gifts from God, from the larger, more obvious things to the little, often overlooked moments.
So, with 2014 wrapping up and 2015 ramping up, what is this year all about?
For me, as I’ve prayed about it and sought to hear God’s voice in this “in-between” time, I keep hearing, “Live Today Fully.” You see, I tend to think very futuristically. I plan and make lists, which is great! But, many times, I do this to the detriment and the neglect of living fully in this present moment.
Live – Be here…be present…be active…be aware…just be, experiencing what this moment has to offer.
Today – For this day…as long as I have a “today”…because the only time I truly have is right now.
Fully – Not as little as possible…not “conserving energy”…but giving everything I have to give to the calling I have in this moment.
Live today fully thankful. Live today fully loving. Live today fully serving. Live today fully gracious. Live today fully forgiving. Live today fully hopeful. Live today fully honest (with God, myself, and others). Live today fully Spirit-led. Live today fully responsible (for me). Live today fully releasing (others to be responsible for themselves). Live today fully discipling (myself and those in my care). Live today fully open to God’s unexpected. Live today fully surrendered.
So, this week, I’m spending some time seeking God about what it means for me to live today fully as a child of God, as a wife and mom, for our homeschool, for our ministry, for my writing and teaching, for my extended relationships. What does it look like to live today fully?
Will it be perfect? Nope. Will there be moments I let slip by? Probably. But my goal is not perfection. My goal is living purposefully.
What is 2015 about for you? What does God want you to focus on in this coming year? Who does He want you be (rather than merely what should you do)?
Today, I pray for you that you capture the vision God has for you and this year. And then, that you cast that vision into every arena of your life. May your 2015 be a life-changing and blessed year!
This is a revised re-post celebrating and diving into the beautiful symbolism of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Since Jesus was a Jew, I find it adds to the depth of my understanding of who God is when our family celebrates the Jewish Feasts as believers in Christ. It’s not something we, as believers, have to do…but something we get to do. So, let’s take a look at our roots and a little bit of this festive holiday!
My background is definitely not Jewish, but I did marry a man of Jewish lineage: a “Cohen”. In researching many of the most important celebrations of the Jewish/Messianic heritage, I have found such a depth of revelation and a desire to share this amazing heritage with our kids. And, since Jesus was a Jew, I figured there may be some worthwhile things to learn from that rich heritage!
God loves patterns and He loves a good party! From the movement of the sun and moon to the cycle of the seasons…there are patterns penetrating every aspect of our world and lives. In the Old Testament, we see how God instituted various Feasts, fasts and Sabbaths for our benefit. The primary reason given is always the same: to remember that He is the Lord…the Sabbath day is also to actually rest and remember that He is our Provider (and not us!) Fasts remind us that He is our Sustainer and His Word, our very Bread! And the Feasts remind us of specific points in time when God has shown up in a HUGE way!
Autumn is my favorite season of the year! There is so much going on and to look forward to. And now, the Fall Feasts are upon us! Our family is still working to get to where we incorporate each of these into our calendar year. But I look forward to bringing these into our family life with a creativity that honors God and reminds us of His ongoing Lordship.
So, just for fun, I’d love to share our journey and the bits I’ve learned over time. Rosh Hashanah/New Year is only days away! It is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the previous year and to dedicate the upcoming year to God, entrusting our lives, our finances, our ministries and all that we put our hands to, to Him. The traditional foods of this celebration are sweet, in anticipation of the good things God will bring in our new year. My personal favorite is sliced apples dipped in honey!
So how is Rosh Hashanah celebrated? There are really endless methods, but I don’t believe the important thing is to focus on the method so much as it is to focus on the memorial, the remembrance of God in our lives. For example, one Rosh Hashanah, we had extended family over for a huge, intricate meal. I hand-kneaded challah bread and made multiple traditional Jewish dishes. And I learned so much about the symbolism behind them. Last year, we stepped away from the daily distractions to spend some time in nature as a family and seek God’s vision for us in this upcoming year. And, this year, we’ll have a simple meal at home with a few traditional dishes to celebrate.
You’ll see in Leviticus 23:23-25 how this celebration is also called the Feast of Trumpets. The blast of trumpets (traditionally called the “shofar”, which is seen above) every day for 30 days was a reminder to examine yourself and return to God in every area of life. A great activity for kids is to make little “trumpets” out of paper towel rolls, decorate them and let them blow their trumpets.
Whether you follow the Messianic calendar or the traditional Christian calendar, or if the primary celebrations of your year are simply Christmas and Easter, I want to encourage you to use these reoccurring holidays to remember and glorify our Lord.
By the way, Rosh Hashanah this year begins at sundown on September 4, 2013. And, if you’re interested in diving deeper into how the traditional Feasts impact us as believers today, I recommend The Torah Blessing by Larry Huch. It’s a fabulous resource with great ideas, without placing a burden of legalism on believers. Remember, it’s not about the method…it’s about establishing a memorial honoring the Lordship of God in your life.
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