Holiday bookshelf parable
As we were decorating for the holidays this year (after Thanksgiving was all done and we said goodbye to that holiday), We commenced in pulling out the same boxes we always pull out: a box of nativity stuff, a box of tree decorations and other stockings and decor, and our holiday book box.
I can't exactly remember what I did with last year's books on the shelf where I put out the holiday books… But I vaguely remember just adding the holiday books to all the current stuff we had in our living room. But this year that just felt cluttered. So once I got all my holiday books out of the box and it was empty… I filled it with the books from my living room that are normally on the shelf.
There were more books that I took off the shelf then there were that I pulled out of the holiday book box. So the book box was now overflowing. I took the book box down to the basement and put it back with all the books we normally keep out all year. And then I began arranging the 10 or so Christmas books for us older folk on our shelf in the living room where it's nice and peaceful. These books are for decoration, reminders to read, and serve as a good reminder to focus on the real meaning of Christmas. And there set beside these books was a nice little Jerusalem wooden nativity from my parents.
I also put up the 10 or so children's Christmas books on another shelf that was previously occupied by other things. These aren't general Christmas books… But books that are both fun and serve as reminders of the real reason of the holiday. Some other types are thrown in just for fun, but we try to limit the frivolous books.
But What was different this year was that I had to clear the clutter that we normally have during the year in order to put up these books. And I didn't just move the clutter to another place, but I packed it away and thought "we can get by a whole month without these."
And I've come to realize that my bookshelf was a parable for where my focus was… Is for Christmas. I don't want to read and have my mind cluttered by other subjects and topics. My literal surroundings became more simple and focused...and also my mind became more so.
Our surroundings and how we arrange ourselves literally can reflect where our focus is. As we simplify and clear literal clutter, we can better find peace because there is less distraction for our minds and hearts.
For December We don't do any real homeschool curriculums or typical stuff in the same manner. We leave December open with some general ideas… But we focus more on an advent of sorts, where each week we focus on a different aspect of Christ or Christmas related theme. we don't have any set assignments or outlines of what we have to do, Just fun ideas of games and songs and art type things--which begin to look more like knitting and winter type crafts or ornament making and paper snowflakes/decorating. And our stories are normally about wintertime or Christ or service.
December can be clutter free and feel more refreshing and a great time to focus on the family and doing things together with love... Not to mention Christmas carols and songs played all day every day. And this break makes the kids more excited come January to restart our homeschooling effort to once again.
Clear the clutter… Even if it's just for one month.