Tag Archives: Christmas

Ten Days before

Christmas!

Last year, the Lord impressed upon my heart to take each day of the 10 before Christmas and focus on a part of the Nativity story.

As I looked at the calendar this morning, I realized.

It’s ten days before Christmas.

So, beginning today, I’ll be focusing on a different part of the Nativity.

Matthew 1:23 KJV — Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew is quoting the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 7:14 NKJV — “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Truly, the prophecy is incredible, roughly 700 years before Jesus was born of a virgin.

In the book of Luke we get a close-up of what this young woman felt and experienced.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
Luke 1:26‭-‬27 NKJV

I love that it is clearly recorded the name of the angel and makes careful to note, “was sent by God”.

This was not a chance encounter, it was a special moment in history.

And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one,  the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Luke 1:28 NKJV

God was announcing the coming of the Messiah!

But when she saw him,  she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 1:29‭-‬33 NKJV

No matter how familiar this story, let’s not miss the incredible news related here.

Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” And the angel answered and said to her, “ The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Luke 1:34‭-‬37 NKJV

It’s understandable.

Mary is struggling to see how this can be when she’s unable to be a mother in her current circumstances.

(How often does God hear from us ‘But I can’t?’)

He wasn’t saying she should do something.

His message was letting her know what He was doing.

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37

Her response is wonderful.

(And should be our example.)

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
Luke 1:38 NKJV

Mary was a young Jewish woman, living in a village, in a country under the foreign rulers from Rome.

The Bible doesn’t record her education, nor her physical description, but it does show us the beauty of a life surrendered to God.

As we look at the mother of Jesus, we can praise the Lord for His grace and mercy.

He chose the humble to be the ones He worked through.

God still uses the humble.

A life surrendered to Him is truly beautiful.

Today, the 10th day before Christmas, let us hold the truth and love of Christ Jesus close to our hearts and surrender our lives before Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for working through those whose hearts are Yours. Lord, thank You for the example in this young woman who said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord!’ Jesus, please help me to be Your servant. To live for the joy of You each day. Lord, to walk in Your ways and speak Your truths. Lord Jesus, thank You for coming as a tiny babe. Thank You for walking among us, teaching us about Yourself and the Father. Lord, thank You for dieing and raising again. Thank You for eternal life. Amen.

A new old tradition

Many years ago, my husband’s brother was home on leave from the Air Force.

I remember he looked a bit nervous.

He said something about my rules on candy. (He knew I often state candy is terrible for kids’ teeth.)

Then showed me the box.

He had purchased a premade gingerbread house to put together with the kids.

Of course I said it was fine.

And the tradition began.

I’ve enjoyed watching our children put together a gingerbread house each Christmas.

As the holiday drew closer our oldest girl began discussing the tradition.

“Should we buy one, Mom?”

The pros and cons were sorted through.

I just didn’t have peace at that time to buy one.

So, the Saturday before Christmas Anne and Sis spent the day making gingerbread from scratch.

I was thrilled to babysit and to see the sisters enjoy learning something new.

When it was all finished they realized they had made four houses.

And a new tradition was born.

On Christmas Day, after gifts and the meal, we got into teams and each crafted a gingerbread house.

Jase and I were partners and I enjoyed it more than I had expected to.

I had never put together a gingerbread house before.

The girls had done a really great job and the pieces all fit together easily.

Jase and I had fun gluing candies and cookies on with frosting.

As I reflect upon our new old tradition, I am reminded of God’s Word.

Matthew 7:24 NKJV — “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:”

Our lives are like a strong, well built house when we follow Jesus with our whole heart.

The details of each, being completely under the guidance of the Lord.

And the sweetest part, is it’s a building project which lasts our entire lives.

I hope we build other gingerbread houses in the future.

If we do I plan on reading this verse first.

10 days till Christmas

“The LORD is my shepherd;” Psalm 23:1a

It was almost audible.

The Lord’s whisper to my heart this morning.

He’s been telling me that this year would be different.

Recently, He had me block out the ten days before Christmas.

I even put a note in for today: Start the 10 days before Christmas.

So, I’ve been praying.

“What exactly are we doing Lord?”

Look for Me in Psalms.

Well, okay. I put my audio Bible on Psalm 1 and started listening. I’d pause and take note of any scripture which seemed to point to Jesus.

I found some nuggets, but nothing seemed to be it.

Until Psalm 23.

My room seemed to disappear and inside my heart I was listening to Jesus.

He said,

The LORD is My shepherd,”

My mind pictured a tiny babe in a manger with on-lookers whose sheep had strangled along behind them.

With those humble shepherds gazing at our Savior, His voice reminded me again,

The LORD is My shepherd,

John 5:19 NKJV — Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.

John 5:30 NKJV — “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.

John 8:28 NKJV — Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

Jesus, our example in all things, was led by God the Father.

John 8:29 NKJV — “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

Jesus, the Savior of the World, came through the will of the Father.

In all Jesus did, He lived unto God alone.

He was the perfect lamb. (John 1:29)

To remember this beautiful truth on our first day of the 10 days till Christmas, we are each going to draw a lamb.

On the back we are writing Psalm 23:1a.

Each of us will have the opportunity to add other scripture as well.

As you can see, mine is on an index card.

Anne is using drawing paper.

It doesn’t matter how large or small.

But in these next ten days we are each going to craft our own pictures of the Nativity while we look for Jesus in Psalm 23.

We’d love to have you join us.

Please feel free to share your comments, pictures, and scriptures with us.

Christmas is about the best gift ever given.

As we find a new way to remember Him, I pray our hearts grow even more in love with Jesus,

“Behold the Lamb of God!” John 1:35b

Making room

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It hit me…as suddenly as a snowball to the head…but it was my heart which throbbed.

” Let every heart, prepare Him room…”

We were singing in church and I thought about those words.

What if every heart prepared Him room?

What if ever person who has ever heard the story of Christmas choose to believe in Jesus?

What if every heart was to give up their own ways and make a home for Jesus in their heart?

Wow.

Yet as much as I want that to be me I still find selfishness, greed, pride, and jealousy residing in my heart instead of the love, compassion, kindness, and contentment I read in the Scriptures.

However,
Christmas is the story of hope.

My greatest gift was salvation from Jesus Christ.

My greatest peace and joy comes from knowing that He isn’t finished with me, I will continue to be polish for a lifetime.

My greatest hope is for each person to hear the Good News.

So dear Reader,
May God bless you this Christmas. May you feel the peace and joy which comes from Him. And I hope you are able to prepare Him room.

Merry Christmas!

The song of Mary

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“My soul magnifies the Lord,  And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:47

I felt the same way after the birth of each of our children.

Although they were healthy and born without complications I knew it was God Who had helped me deliver each one.

Yet Mary spoke these words before she ever felt the first flutter, the first hiccup, the first twinge of pain.

She was a young woman, not yet married.

She had just been greeted by Elizabeth, who prophesies over Mary and her coming son.

I believe her song reflects her faith in the Lord, despite her circumstances.

What an amazing example Mary is.

To sing instead of complaining or worrying.

To trust without knowing how it would all turn out.

To be able to walk into motherhood as no other woman has ever done or will ever do, because Mary’s son was Jesus, Savior of the World.

As I bake cookies and arrange our schedules and wrap gifts I want to remain humble and thankful.

To look to God and thank Him for every blessing.

To trust Him for the future.

To sing His praises and look to His salvation!

Thank You, Lord for Christmas and the gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

Keeping it fresh

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Children are part of my everyday.

And they are so important to me.

At school,
At church,
At home,
I want to teach, train , and encourage these children.

As we prepare for the Christmas program I am yet again struck by the one thing the director said:

“I want to keep it simple, but I mostly want it to be a chance for the children to take the story,  the whole story of Jesus, home with them in their hearts.”

My mind immediately asks: “How do we keep the story fresh?  How do we help them see past the baby in the manger to the man on the cross? ”

Of course God already had given the answer to our director.

This year our retelling of this wonderfully amazing story will be told with silhouette paintings.

Each part will be narrated. And the end will be a chance to see the birth and the death and the resurrection all at once, giving the children a picture of the entire story to hold in their hearts.

I am excited to see the reactions of the children and I’m praying for them to completely grasp the point and importance.

So as I pray for a fresh and deeper understanding of this message to touch the children,

I am also praying that I will be able to do the same.

As an adult it can seem that I know the story to its deepest level, but every year I learn something new. Every year I am touched by another facet. Every year I find, if I’m willing,  a refreshing of my soul as I think about the greatest birthday ever.

Christmas

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The miracle.
The joy.
The blessing
of Christmas can too often be lost…

Among
the busy.
The shopping.
The pain of loss.

Yet as we face this holiday where we look for something more permanent than tomorrow and we harken to the beauty of celebration,

Let’s focus on what Christmas is about.
The story has been told so often, yet it is the reason our society changes for a few weeks in December.

God saw the beloved people He created.
They were troubled and hurting. They suffered from abuse, starvation, and death. They were living away from Him and unable to find comfort for their souls.

All because of sin.

God had given them the promise: one day a Messiah would come.
But they did not understand who He would be or what He would do.
So on the appointed day God sent His messenger to proclaim to a young woman His purpose for her.

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great,  and will be called the son of the  highest;  and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever,  and of his Kingdom there will be no end. ”

But the birth of this baby is only half the story.

Jesus.

A man whom the world has never forgotten.

Because he died on a cross.

Yet he had done nothing but teach,  heal, and minister to thousands of people.

He did not stay dead.

He had come as a baby to die on a cross and rise again to life because He was paying for our sin.

He was teaching us how to live.

He was giving us hope of something more.

Jesus came as a baby to rid the world of the ugly, brutal, pain sin has stained it with.

Yet because God made man able to choose we still see the affects of sin each day.

As you celebrate the Christmas season please remember who Jesus is and why He came.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved,”
John 3:17

Christmas Eve

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“For unto us…”

The day Jesus Christ was born,
salvation for all of humanity,
came into view.

The world has never been the same place.

Praise God!

Jesus came humbly,
with the enormous duty to pay once for all sins,
yet everything about Him,
including His birth,
teaches about the character of God.

The lives touched by God during this Earth changing event,
are examples of the goodness of the Lord.

Even today there’s people who don’t know,
don’t fully grasp the meaning of this,
yet the example is in Scripture.

They were busy.

Their lives were wrapped up in the long list of tasks.

The things required to be completed to continue their livelihood was the only focus.

But…

“lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for,  behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you;  Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,  lying in a manager. ‘ ” Lk 2:9-12

God stepped into the sheperds’ lives and the Bible records they didn’t shrug it off. They searched until they had found Jesus for themselves and then they shared the good news with many others. Lk. 2:17

The birth of Christ wasn’t something that these men had been watching for.

It wasn’t part of their focus.

But it affected them deeply.

However Jesus being born was not a surprise.

God had announced the occasion hundreds of years before.

His prophets had given words of what He would be and why He was coming.

And there were those who had paid close attention.

There were people looking, searching,  watching for the event.

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down,  and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures,  they presented unto him gifts; gold,  and frankincense,  and myrrh.” Mt. 2:10-11

These men had been focused.

They understood the enormous promise of the birth of Christ.

They had gone to great lengths to reach Him.

It had cost them but it was worth it.

They had found Jesus.

Which are you?

Are you searching,  seeking, looking for Jesus this Christmas?

Or is He really not your focus?

Both groups were never the same after a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
And that is my prayer for you this Christmas.

No matter what gifts you receive or don’t this Christmas, I pray you are changed by a personal experience with Jesus,  the baby who became a man, the man who is God and paid for all sin, the God who is in heaven preparing a place for those who will accept the gift of Salvation.

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                   MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Christmas snow

Christmas #1There is something so meaningful in the first snow which blankets the bleak bringing shimmering pure white to everything.

Each time we experience the first snow of the year I praise the Lord.

It reminds me that He has washed my sins white as the snow. Psalm 51:7

A muddy lot can suddenly become a wonder of glittering whiteness just as bitterness can be washed away to reveal love and tenderness.

The sharp points of the pine tree can be soften with a blanket of snow just like the verbal barbs can be muffled in the realization that the speaker is someone Jesus died for.

It is true that snow does bring the unpleasant.

Freezing temperatures can bring busted water pipes, dangerous roads, broken trees branches,…

Being a Christ follower can include the unpleasant.

Loss of relationships with those who miss the person you were before you meet Jesus.

Ridiculed because “you follow some guy that lived and died two thousand years ago”…

In some places it can mean imprisonment, starvation, death.

However the rewards of eternal life in heaven and strength for each breath taken here on Earth far surpass any of the unpleasant.

So as you gaze at the Christmas snow, whether in your own yard or on a Christmas greeting let it lead you to reflect.

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;”

What better gift can we ever receive?