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Between a Rock and a Hard Place-Week 3

People with their minds set on you,
    you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
    because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
    because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. Isaiah 26:3-4 MSG

The race is coming to an end and I’m happy to report that Mary has made her way towards becoming a contender. Martha Stewart is still showing bursts with her Christmas cookies, but she’s lost most of her steam. Mrs. Claus looks content and consistent, not too much energy there, but it is Mary who looks like she’s gaining ground. Finally!

It is a week before Christmas and where do you find your players? I can honestly say that this is the first year in a long time that Mary has pulled ahead with Christmas eight days away. In the last few years, I’ve seen her in church on Sundays throughout the advent season and at the Christmas program practice, but not often during the weekdays. I wonder what has made the difference?

I’m going to give credit to a puzzle. The puzzle was given to our family in and among a box of puzzles from one of my dearest friends and last Christmas was our first year to complete it. We are not normally a puzzle activity family but this particular puzzle is very beautiful. It’s 1000 pieces revealing the nativity. It is not easy nor can it be completed in one sitting. When we started it last year, I had no idea we would be embarking on a new Hartley Christmas tradition!

Our puzzle tradition has evolved into a reminder of what we actually celebrate at Christmas. The gift God gives to us is the never-ending love of Christ. Our puzzle interactions share His love through visits with family and friends. Everyone is welcome to sit, rest and work on the puzzle! Putting together this puzzle has become a way to interact with my kids – they don’t stay long, but they help intermittently. I’ve even gone so far as to say, “no presents are opened until the puzzle is finished!” The puzzle helps my thoughts become calmer, slower and more focused. There is a tiny baby in a manger right at the center, just as Jesus should be at the center of my thoughts.

So my friends, I ask you, “What will help you bring your Mary to the front of the race?”

The path of right-living people is level.
    The Leveler evens the road for the right-living.
We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
    in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
    are all we’ll ever want. Isaiah 26:7-8 MSG

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