My husband, the pastor, has been practicing his sermon on me again. Maybe he thinks I need to hear it more than once so it really sinks in – I couldn’t say. But I’ve gotten kind of used to already knowing the punch line when it comes to church on Sunday. So a spoiler alert – if you’re going to worship at Emmanuel Lutheran in Grafton, Iowa tomorrow, read no further until you get home from church.

Actually, it’s only fair that Mark practices his sermons on me. When it comes time to edit my books, he’s my first line of defense. We start by reading the book out loud to each other. It’s amazing, the errors you hear, but don’t see. By the time I’m done writing and getting ready to send my book to my editor, he’s probably so sick of the storyline and the characters that he never wants to see or hear about them again. But being the good, loving husband he is, he is always willing to read a scene one more time just to make sure it’s the best it can be.

Tomorrow is the first day of Advent. The Scripture Mark is preaching on is Mark 13. In verse 31, Jesus says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” This verse has convicted me that I need to start putting first things first, or prioritizing.  Am I living my life for temporary, breakable things like my computer or cell phone, where I spend and waste untold hours of my expendable time?  Am I spending my leisure time playing Farmtown or Zoo World or Sorority Life, or in Christian terms, am I doing something meaningful like getting to know Jesus better? (In writing terms, am I getting my next book written or edited, am I getting down to business and doing what needs to be done, or am I frittering away my time doing something virtually worthless?) Am I obsessed with making more money or buying more land or building a bigger house to make room for the things I buy, or am I living for Jesus, spending time with the people who love me, accomplishing great and mighty things whose after-effects will last for generations, maybe even eternity?

In a few years – maybe even months or days – my electronic gadgetry will be broken, hopelessly outdated, stolen or lost. The new appliances in my house will quit working. Jesus will still be here. Nothing on this earth lasts forever – not our good health, our things we build, or the people we love. The only thing worth living for, the only one you can trust to be there FOREVER, is Jesus. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to live my life in a way that reflects the important things. It makes me want to forget Farmville and write the book of my heart. My books are my legacy. They’re my chance to say what needs to be said, to touch people’s lives, to leave something to be remembered by.  I am so blessed to even have the option of how to spend my free time – and with that, comes an overwhelming sense of responsibility that whatever time I have left here on earth should be spent doing good things – helping others,  being true to myself, using my talents, and letting my light shine brightly in the night.

Merry Christmas.

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