My one December aim of “one small touch each day …” physically, has fallen flat, fallen so far short!

No tree, green-fragrant, points triangle up toward heaven before the central window.

None of the windows bear their usual candles of “welcome.”

No gifts are wrapped or sent yet.

And the half-done wreath (on whose formation I fizzled last Friday) hangs half-naked pathetic on the door.

A flu sidelined me, slowed me down, and when I speeded up too soon last week, resulting relapse sent me “back to start” — or rather, stop!

And I’m sitting here thankful for it.


Not just forcing thank-You words, but really seeing reason to be grateful.

December’s preparations used to mean such different things from now. And those past priorities, “urgent” “must-do’s,” are the ones that are not happening.

But my second December aim is happening, more than I might have imagined!

My heart is pointing heaven-upward,

my soul feeling more evergreen than ever,

my thoughts more elated, inflated with joy.

My spirit is fully swathed in the garment of praise,

and my eyes, though maybe bloodshot, are lighting welcome to the King of kings — better to God, methinks, than window candles any day.

It’s been an incredible year, an incredible week, of miracles, of answered prayer past measure. And even though in recent years we’ve pared down on the busy, I would have started adding this fluff and that non-essential and yet some other demanding trapping… which my sick-abed precluded!

So I count it blessing that in greater stillness I can see the truth: that even all that stuff I “had” to do, I don’t have to do at all! I am merely freer to focus on recent blessings, and on the One Who came and is coming again.

It is the preparation of the heart that counts.

So, thank you, Lord,

  • for flu,
  • and flu relapse,
  • that they’re early and fairly mild,
  • for quiet in the morning,
  • and thoughts uncluttered and free.

Thank you for

  • Your gift of Love that keeps on giving,
  • Your Son, and Your Holy Spirit, given so mercifully, so incredibly to me, 
  • the sure promise of Your final Advent, 
  • my beginning to “get” what’s really important preparation, and for
  • a preparation of my heart.


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24 thoughts on “Preparation? What Preparation?

  1. I love your spirit–to be thankful for the flu. I really do get that; sometimes I think if I’d catch it, I’d be more still and let more things go. Glad you are recovering though, and that you are meeting goal #2.

  2. It’s true–sometimes even getting sick is a blessing, Sylvia. I hope you’re feeling better, but this is just another great reminder of how God blesses us in the middle of our troubles. Thanks so much and a prayer’s being lifted for your health!

  3. Hi Lisa,
    Yep, that’s just what happened: it made be still and just let some things go — and it actually can help goal #2 get attended to more! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Yes, Beth, He indeed has been blessing, phenomenally! (I guess that’s a word! 😉 ) And thanks so much for prayer!

  5. Thanks for finding me at a holy experience…now I found you and I thank you for your beautiful Advent thoughts. I too have been sick and having to complete my last two weeks of school (I teach adults). But now I’m thankful for budget cuts that give me 5 weeks of vacation. The quiet and rest in the midst of holidays is glorious, despite no pay. I praise the name of Emmanuel, our God with us who is also my Provider!
    Christmas blessings to you and your family!

    1. So glad we met, Jan. I used to teach, too, but little guys. I know what you mean about the beautiful blessing of extra time of quiet and rest. May this be a very blessed Christmas season for you and yours!

  6. I’m sorry you’ve been sick, but I can see that you have been blessed by the rest. Isn’t it funny how we can do that? If it wasn’t for our move happening this week, I would probably feel the same. Then again, it is because of our move that I am settled on doing so little. Christmas will be different this year in so many ways.

  7. Yes, a move can definitely do that. But it can be a blessing to pare down for different reasons now and then.
    I am quite curious about where your move is taking you. If you are so inclined, email me and let me know where it is. I’m just wondering if you’re moving closer to me! 😉

  8. Sylvia,

    I’m really settling on that image of an “evergreen soul.” What beautiful imagery. So fragrant, like the very fragrance of Christ. Merry Christmas to you as you prepare your beautiful heart!

  9. I thought of that fragrance, too, Jennifer, when that phrase came to me. I much appreciate your kind encouragement. Thank you for it.
    Rich blessings to you!

  10. Such word pictures!
    My heart is pointing heaven-upward,
    my soul- evergreen
    my thoughts– inflated with joy.
    My spirit — the garment of praise,
    and my eyes—window candles
    blessings upon blessings as you recover, my friend

  11. Thank you, dear Laurie. (May God *sustain* these works of His on my soul!) And may you enjoy rich peace yourself amid your helpful busyness. Big blessings to you!

  12. It’s all about using our gift of free will to be free indeed. I need to adopt this perspective. Crossing things off a to do list is existing… not living. Thanks for the reminder.

  13. Thanks for writing this for me, Sylvia. It is exactly where I am, but without the flu (thankfully)! Hugs for one of the best Advents ever!

  14. And thank *you*, Floyd, for this reminder: “Crossing things off a to do list is existing… not living.” It’s a hard-learned lesson, isn’t it?

  15. Oh, my pleasure, Dawn. So nice to have your companionship in this. Yes, hugs back, for one of our best Advents ever!

  16. Sylvia…this is a precious post from one who is learning to be content in all things even the flu. It is a wonderful feeling when we finally give in to slowing down even when it forced by illness. How much more we can hear from Him when we are not busy. The Martha’s in the world, such as me need this reminded daily. Blessings my sister.

  17. Hi Betty,
    Over years, God has been teaching (slow learner) me this kind of contentment, often in fits and starts, sometimes almost against my will. I say almost because I think there’s always the necessity of us yielding our will from our end, but He does use circumstances to get it through my head how much simpler, and lovelier, it is to do that yielding. Blessings back to you, and a beautiful Christmas season!

  18. I’m sorry you’ve been under the weather, Sylvia. I’m glad you are finding blessings in the midst. Lovely thoughts here, my friend. Grateful for your example to slow and look around for all the grace in the moment.

  19. Wow! We did go through the same thing. And you are reminding me that it was a good thing for me to rest today, even when I felt that I was bailing on my friend that I do admin work for because I knew if I pushed today, I would relapse.

    Thank you for visiting my blog…and reminding me that we ALL go through those TEACHABLE moments through the yucky sickness!

    1. Looks like God’s timing, huh, Lindsey? I’m so glad we were next-door neighbors today. And glad you’re giving yourself that permission to rest! (Wish I’d held myself back last week!)

  20. Thanks, Laura,
    I think I’m finally emerging from this long tunnel. It has not been so bad in it though, because, yes, God has been teaching me more and more to take hold of “the grace in the moment.”
    Blessings to you!

  21. So wonderful to hear what He’s doing in your life and in your heart, friend! Thank you for sharing all this!

  22. Seems He’s been doing it in my husband’s life now, Mary. He’s been sick for a week now himself, and he’s not used to this! So it’s a learning experience for us both. (And it keeps things quieter. ;))

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