This week the long anticipated physical move happened as we transitioned to our new home in Sahuarita. This is one of many moves that my wife and I have made in our 32 years of being married. I think that I tend to block the moving experiences from my memory once it is over. None of them have been fun!

Part of what I knew going into this move is that we didn’t have the time or energy to pack all of the boxes ourselves. I hired the moving company to do our part of the packing (the Conference contract already covered packing the breakables). I didn’t need anyone to tell me that we have a lot of stuff. This is something that I already knew!

Everything was delivered 4 days ago, and we are still overwhelmed by boxes. They are everywhere! The movers kept coming in with more boxes. This is in addition to the 65 boxes that I moved in advance from our Alaska house! I neatly stacked all of the Alaska boxes in the garage. The movers attempted to stack the boxes in the correct room of the house, but that didn’t work out perfectly (I still can’t find the clothes from my dresser!). There were so many boxes that it was difficult to walk around the house.

When I started to settle into my home office, I found that the office was so packed with boxes that I couldn’t move anything. My first step was to take all of the boxes out of the office. Then I worked on figuring out where all of the major pieces needed to be. Now I’m bringing one box in at a time and working through it.

My strategy for the entire house is to locate where all of the big pieces that we know we want to keep will go first. Then we can start unloading the boxes with the smaller things in them. I’m fully anticipating that there is a lot that we will choose to get rid of. Once we have the house fully decorated, we can make those decisions.

I’m writing this article on the first Sunday of Advent. I’m thinking about all of the people that I have heard over the years who have told me that they don’t like the Advent/Christmas season. The main reason that I have heard is that the season is so busy that they just can’t enjoy it. My thought is that maybe we should unclutter our Advent/Christmas season. How could we do this?

I believe that it starts by identifying the big activities/events that we know that we want to keep. These are the things that we want to calendar first to make sure that we don’t have conflicts. Once these are positioned, then we can start looking at some of the smaller possibilities to see what fits. There might be some invitations or events that we need to say “no” to. This isn’t because they are bad, or that we don’t want to do them, but because our time gets so filled up that we feel overwhelmed.

The purpose of Advent/Christmas is to help enrich our lives, and to root us deeper in our Christian faith. This can happen, but probably won’t accidently happen. We have the opportunity to design our own Advent/Christmas season. Every year I hear people saying that Christ should be put back into Christmas. Each of us has the power to do this in our own lives!

Your brother on the journey, Mark

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