With December just days away, lights are hung, gifts are bought, grief is resurrected, and the list of expectations are too long. Some find themselves moody, while others are merry. But, we all have to get through the last few weeks of the year. 2023 has been good for some, terrible for others and a bit of a mixed bag for many. But, with only twenty-nine days until Christmas and thirty-five until we wave this year goodbye–a time of rewinding and reflection might be just what we need as writers and communicators.
According to the American Dictionary, a communicator conveys information or knowledge to others–a representative or witness of facts. As Christian communicators it’s important that we pay attention, looking for God in the story line–finding lessons, truth, insights and reasons to exclaim who He says He is. And though it’s important to make a practice of paying attention, we all get busy, making it easy to forget to notice God in our circumstances. Regardless of how this year went, everything we went through has shaped who we are today. Our story matters, and if we lose sight of God in the details, we will be tangled up in writing words that communicate clutter rather than life-giving hope. When writers are connected to God, people are helped, hearts lean into restoration, and hope abounds. Psalm 103 reads, ” Bless the Lord, O My Soul, and forget not his benefits…”
“Forget not” means to pay attention.
In order to create our best work, we will have to pay attention to God in our midst. Next we will have to make room to write. This means cutting out the excess noise and focusing on what really matters: the writing. We live in a world where distractions are all around us. The result is living busy, hurried and frantic lives. It’s hard to pay attention when we are too busy to focus. Without writing daily, we will drop some of the wonderful things God has shown us in the ordinary days. Writing daily doesn’t mean working on your book or professional projects–but simply writing what God is pressing into your soul and leading you in. One day at a time as we connect with God, writing out our heart-stirrings, the joy of writing will begin to grow.
Let’s challenge ourselves to pay attention and write the entire month of December. Start with a fresh journal or create a new folder on your computer. Designate time each day to write. It doesn’t have to be long, maybe it’s only 10-15 minutes, but use it as a time of paying attention to who God is and how He was with you in each part of your story. I am going to do this by pulling out a stack of old holiday pictures. As I look at one each day, I will use that as my prompt to discover where God was in that part of the story. I will pay attention to the details, sights and sounds that go beyond the printed photo. If old pictures aren’t your thing, perhaps the following will help.
Reflecting on the Year:
- What goals have been accomplished?
- What disappointments have been hard to swallow?
- What hardship created room for holy growth in you?
- What caused discouragement, and how did you deal with it?
- What triumph gave you pause at the wonder of God’s faithfulness?
- Where do you want to be this time next year?
- Do you long for more attributes of the Spirit?
- Do you hope for a signed publishing contract?
- Are you hungry for more friendship and community?
- Do you have personal goals like health or financial management?
We only get one December 2023, so while singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” don’t get so busy that you drop the merry and lose the joy. Instead, reclaim both by paying attention and savoring the beauty of what Christmas is all about. Write each day this month–be it about snowflakes, dreams, goals or family dramas–just write–reflecting, remembering, and paying attention to the God moments in each day. Before we blink it will be 2024, but for now, live the remainder of 2023 to the fullest–forget not–and write the things worth remembering.