Monthly Archives: December 2016

A Merry Christmas

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emmanuel

Our short, cute little tree is aglow with lights and our favorite decade-old ornaments… We let the kids totally decorate it themselves.  The mismatched stockings are strung along the banister, growing fatter with Christmas letters as the day approaches.  (Two of the kids reminded me again that they still don’t have their names on their stockings. Oops.)

Our Christmasy weather has come and gone and it feels like muggy Texas spring outside as I lean over the cluttered kitchen counter, trying to decide which fudge recipe I’m going to make.

The extra greenery we collected when we picked out our tree still sits in a garbage bag in the laundry room, competing with the growing mound of dirty clothes.  I was going to use all that greenery to make a pretty wreath for the door.  Oh well.  Now the only festive thing to greet our weary mail carrier is the sun-bleached, water-logged “Happy Birthday” garland we’ve left hanging outside since Jessa’s party the first of October.

We let our Advent candles burn late the other night, so most of them are a melted mess and I forgot to buy extras… And the freezer section was out of cinnamon rolls, which is our traditional Christmas morning breakfast… so add that to the recipes I’ll contemplate before finally deciding on the canned variety.

It’s all so wonderful!

I have been so blessed to be able to (mostly) let go of the Greeting-Card image of this season and embrace life.  Our life.  The mess and full schedule and dried up tree needles on the floor (since I keep forgetting to water the tree), and the staying up late and the crazy antics of kids who’ve had too much sugar – they’re all just signs that we’re alive!

But wait, there’s more!

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1:13-14)

And you who were dead in your trespasses… God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us… cancelling the record of debt that stood against us. (Col. 2:13-14)

If you are overwhelmed (or underwhelmed) this Christmas…  If you’re tired or anxious…  If you’re burdened with a to-do list or a social calendar, or disappointed about everything this season is not – there is good news for you.  You’re alive.  And if you belong to Christ, you have an eternal hope that can be the lens through which you see all the imperfectness of this life on earth.

That is truly wonderful.

Merry Christmas, from our family to yours.

 

 

 

Get Your Hearts Ready

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“Advent is for adoring Jesus”

Joy and Peace

We have just begun Advent!!  I LOVE this time of year.  And even though I have not been able to pull myself together and get any Christmas decorations up yet, we are enjoying our nightly candle-lighting and story reading as much as the kids are!  (See this post for what we’re reading).

But Jeffrey and I are also seeking to go a little deeper in our own personal devotion time this advent season, and here is a great way to do it:

full_good-news-of-great-joyfull_the-dawning-of-indestructible-joy

Desiring God (DesiringGod.org) offers two free resources available for download – each with 25 devotional readings (for Dec 1-25). You can find out more by going here.

Jeffrey read the first devotion (from Good News of Great Joy) to us over supper tonight, and it was a great conversation starter and catalyst for priming our hearts to tune into the real focus of Christmas.

Even with all the interruptions from little talkative people, and an animated baby throwing her spoon of sweet potatoes, I was able to glean a meaningful truth from the reading.

Tonight’s takeaway for me? We need to make room in our hearts for Christ.  And in order to do that, I need to de-clutter my heart: take a real inventory of the sin and complacency I’ve let build up, and see with fresh eyes how much I desperately need Jesus. And then he read this:

“Christmas is first an indictment before it’s a delight…”

That part really struck me.  We are all familiar with the delight of Christmas – you can’t walk in any store after October and not be thrust into the full swing of the holiday cheer.  But Christmas an indictment?  Huh?

I explained the definition to the kids: an accusation.  Being accused of a crime and having to go before the judge for sentencing.

Christmas is all because a Savior was born…. why?
Because we needed one!

Christmas is first an accusation of our sin and need of a Savior… and then it is a delight!  Because we couldn’t save ourselves and Jesus came and changed the ending of our story! Christmas is all about the Gospel. The Good News of Great Joy!

When we spend Advent preparing our hearts with this kind of message, Christmas takes on a new depth.  And we experience it with more joy!

So even if we haven’t decluttered the house enough to get the Christmas decor out of the garage, we can begin to make room in our hearts.

Do yourself a favor and let the elf sit on the shelf this year.
And pull something more important into focus for the next 24 days.

It’s not too late to do this!  Trust me, we’re already 2 days behind in our reading of Bartholomew’s passage, but we’ll catch up and it will all work out by Christmas.  (By the way, if you’re interested but you haven’t ordered the book, you can get it on Kindle for $2.99 here!)

Can you tell I really love Advent? :)  Our Advent celebration has never Pinterest-perfect.  But it’s always been worth it.  Jump in with us.  Let’s get our hearts ready.