• Jennie Denney

If I Just Look Up


As Christmas approaches, decorations are put up, presents are wrapped, and Christmas cards sent out, amidst all the hustle and bustle, it's easy to miss the beautiful things all around us.


I tend to get busy and tune out those around me. I get "tunnel vision" and the task becomes more important than those closest to me. Those I love dearly.


This season I want things to be different, but how am I to do it? How do I get out of my "tunnel vision" mentality and open my eyes to be present to those around me?


I have things to do. Presents to wrap. Papers to write. A website to keep up with. Household chores to maintain. The list goes on and on, and yet if I take a moment to breathe, look out over what is right in front of my eyes, I will be able to hear my kids laughing in the other room as they play Minecraft with their cousins. I can hear the shower going upstairs and wonder whether it's my oldest son or daughter? I can see the yellow lemons in our lemon tree out in the front yard ready to be picked. I can laugh at the cat bounding across the grass trying to catch a butterfly shadow.


If I just look up.


If these are all the things I notice and experience in the moments I choose to pay attention to, what are the things I miss when I'm completely engrossed in the task at hand?


Can I be gentle with myself this Advent season as I make more of an effort to look up from the task at hand?


Can I have grace for myself as I choose to slow down, pay more attention, and make eye contact with my family members as they enter the room I'm working in?


I know I can because if I have learned anything during this difficult season, it's that I have the power to make the choice to be fully present when I want to be.


This Advent season, I'm choosing to be more fully present to those around me and less engrossed in the task at hand. As I make the choice to look up, I'm expecting to see, hear, and experience the beautiful things I have missed before.


I may even hear God's gentle whisper, "I love you."


If I just look up.


Will you join me this season? Will you choose to look up from the task at hand and make the conscious effort to pay more attention to the sounds, smells, sights, and presence of our surroundings and basque in the beauty God desires to show us?


Lord, give remind me of your constant presence this Advent season. Help me to look up and pay attention to those around me. Help me to want to look up from the task at hand and see you working in and through the spaces around me. Although this Advent season seems darker and longer than others, I pray that the hope you bring pierce your light through the looming darkness of these times. Show me ways where I can be your light. Amen.

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