New Year Twinkle Lights

Psalm 31:3-4, 23-24

For you are my rock and my fortress;
    and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me;
you take me out of the net they have hidden for me,
    for you are my refuge….
Love the Lord, all you his saints!
    The Lord preserves the faithful
    but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
    all you who wait for the Lord!

Another busy morning came to a screeching halt. I was only half listening to our family’s advent devotional being read aloud at the kitchen table by my husband. But all of a sudden, I asked him to read it again. Then I grabbed a scratch piece of paper and wrote down the above verses to come back to at a later time. 

Now a few weeks later, I’m not sure what caught my ear that morning. It’s the Word of the Lord; it is important and all is useful. But what about the verses caught me in such a way that I wanted them to feed my soul on that early morning? 

Reading them again has me wondering if I did what I should have during the advent season. I didn’t spend enough time pondering the virgin birth and the circumstances surrounding the manger story. I didn’t find peace and rest in Mary’s Magnificat like I have so many other years. I didn’t even get to quietly reflect on God’s love being sent to earth while basking in the glow of Christmas tree twinkle lights.

I spent most of the days working outside my home, or attending various appointments. I fell into bed exhausted each night after making sure a few more things were ordered off the list of gifts I could purchase online. I finally asked my preteen daughter to just decorate the house any way she wanted so the plastic bins could be put back into the basement. 

I lost my way a little bit. I did not treat the Lord as my rock and my refuge. I did not heed to His guidance and fell right into the trap that was set for me. I didn’t fall into the trap of commercialism or overspending necessarily, but I fell into a trap specifically set for me. The trap was being so busy helping and taking care of others, that I lost my focus on Jesus. I did what I saw as things that needed to be done because they were on my list or what was expected of me, instead of doing the more difficult work of slowing down and doing what the Lord wanted of me during this season. He wanted me to slow down, listen, and patiently reflect on the wonder of His love and protection.

As a new year opens I’m clinging to verses 23-24 in a desperate way. We are told to love the Lord and He will preserve us, not just save us from ourselves, but keep us whole. We are told to let our hearts take courage as we wait upon the Lord. 

We all have our times when we lose focus, when we need to remember the saving hand of the Lord is there to protect and guide. The Lord has saved us, He is continuing to save us, and He will continue to do so until He calls us home. 

I’ve convinced my husband to leave the twinkle lights and tree a little bit longer; I need a little more time for advent and to take refuge in the Lord while I’m patiently waiting on Him to guide me. 

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About Cara Kipp

Cara and her husband, Adam, have ministered in a small-town church for more than a dozen years. The town is small, but sadly not small enough that she can raise chickens. However, she is raising three plucky kids and a six-toed cat. Since being saved as a teenager, she’s been involved with the local church, using her passion for women and intergenerational ministry in church planting and church strengthening. She has a passion for Jesus, working out, knitting, and coffee.