Our post Thanksgiving tradition starts with preparations for the excursion to deer camp for the opening day of deer season. The tradition started with Great Grandfather, passed down to Pop Maverick (his given name was Cledith) so Maverick was a nice, tough choice. The next generation was Pop Stan and his brothers (and assorted friends from the neighborhood) who faithfully attended this chilly event in a one room shack in the mountains upstate, with stories round the fire at night. It continued with his son Robert (my dear husband), who indoctrinated my son Drew, and this year my daughter Savannah joined in on the fun.
She attended hunter safety courses this year with Dad and is off with the the boys to deer camp armed with lots of down time reading material and hot chocolate. There is much to prepare, multiple coolers as there is no electric, food, lots of layers of clothes (2 feet of snow fell last week)! Warm boots are required ‘cause it’s a long cold trip to the out house (no running water)! In no time, they were off and I found myself gleefully preparing what to do with my down time (I know you girls think I should have learned that lesson by now)! Happily, I donned my flannel jammies and hopped into bed planning a wonderful night of uninterrupted sleep. I got one hour.
I awoke with the undeniable urge to pray. And I did. All night. He had other plans for me. I cried out every burden and desire in my heart. My fears and stresses were poured out to Him. It was not a rant. It was not a well thought out prayer like when you have time to compose your thoughts in a prayer circle before your turn comes. No. It was a cleansing constant stream of prayer about everything in my life; my fears and desires for my family, protection over my children, to guide us with our business, to heal and bless our marriage, all laid out to Him. I am refreshed this morning. I climbed out of bed without the normal list of things I must accomplish running through my head. Instead I felt that I must record what happened to me last night.
What a gift He has given me! I cannot explain how much physical weight I felt pressing on me that is simply gone this morning. I am so grateful. It is all that He asks of us. He asks for our burdens and we are so apt to cling to them. We fix everything ourselves, why would we want to give that to Him? We are so accustomed to just plugging ahead anyway and He asks for our burdens and we refuse to give them away. There is a song out currently by a man named Bryan Littrell (Yes, he was a member of the Backstreet Boys, and now he is Christian artist) that says simply, “I’ve been holding on, and now I’m letting go.” It is so simple, isn’t it? It is all He asks from us and we are so led to cling to it in the delusion that we can fix it ourselves, or that it really isn’t important enough to bother Him with. It is burden and it weighs us down and keeps us from the freedom to be the wives, mothers, daughters and friends that He needs us to be in this world.
Jesus reads from Isaiah in Luke 4: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me , Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed…”. He is our hope this Christmas. My Christmas wish for my girls this season is that you have a sleepless night with a chance to let it go and give it to Him. After you have gone about the business of teaching the children the meaning of Christmas, after the decorating and baking is complete, and the house is in order, I pray that you will allow Him to give you His gift of peace by letting go instead of holding on. May all of your houses be blessed this Christmas with His love.