The gift of "no exceptions"

Aug 28, 2021

Advent is unlike any other time of year.

It's whimsical.

Or it's crazy busy.

We get to choose.

Don't let the world tell you the opposite: we DO get to choose how we will spend our time this Advent season. We still get the same amount--24 hours each day. No more, no less.

I love to sleep. My family makes fun of me for it. So, I've always struggled to find time in the morning to spend alone with God. I've always preferred evenings--right before I doze off. But I've always wondered if my day would be different, were I to actually manage to get up early.

For a few years, I had spurts of seasons when I would get up early. But it would never last. Last year, I started my morning habit of "no exceptions." No matter what, I set my alarm clock a whole hour earlier than I need to get ready for the day. And no matter what, seven days a week, I spend that hour in my dedicated armchair with my Bible, a pen, and some kind of study or devotional or book.

Advent has been no different. And I have loved this year's Christmas so far. I love getting up way before dawn, turning my Christmas tree lights on (just for me!) and wrapping myself up in soft blankets. I pick up my devotional and my Advent reading book, and I enjoy a moment with the Lord. I am sleepy, and I usually yawn quite a bit. By the time my household stirs, the sun is peeking on the horizon and I am filled with the intimacy of my no exceptions habit. Most mornings, I sense God meeting me there. When I don't, I know He is there too.

It's my Christmas present to myself. It's a known fact that night is darkest just before dawn. Literally and figuratively speaking, I want to be found in Christ as I go through my darkest nights. Because with Him, dawn will always come.

I try a new Advent devotional each year, so please send me your suggestions! I find myself always returning to my two favorite ones too--the dawning of indestructible joy by John Piper, and Hidden Christmas by Tim Keller.

What do YOU do to welcome Jesus into your home this Christmas?

Catch up with Stephanie's latest episodes on the Gospel Spice podcast!

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