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Tag Archives: Christmas

“It Doesn’t Feel like Christmas”

This Christmas I was not able to be with my hubby. It’s the first Christmas without him since we have been married. He had to be gone with work. I am with the family that God has given me through our marriage and I feel truly blessed for it. The kids and I are surrounded by their love. Christmas morning is only a few hours away, and I am trying not to think about it- how hubby isn’t here… Because it causes an ache in my heart. In fact, days leading up to our trip here I found myself saddened and thinking, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas.”

And I guess this is why I am sharing this, because I have a feeling I am not alone. If you are struggling with missing a loved one this Christmas, perhaps consider this:

When your heart aches for the presence of a loved one… That feels like Christmas. That is why God came in the flesh, because he knew his people longed for his presence, and incredibly he longed for our eternal presence as well. That ache. That void. That feeling like something is missing. That feels like Christmas… That feels like the very heartbeat of our Savior.

He knew we would be missing. He felt the void and he stepped into it, with tiny feet that would grow to be nailed to a cross. All for you. All for me. All for us. That is the message of Christmas.

For those who have never asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior, I pray you would do that today.

For those who did at some point in your life, but have turned away, I pray you would consider turning your heart back. His heart aches for you.

For those who are missing loved ones today, I pray your heart be overwhelmed by the depth of God’s love for you. When your heart aches for that missing person may you feel the ache that God felt when he considered an eternity without you.

May your sorrow not steal the joy of Christmas, but only cause you to fall more in love with Christ as you dwell on his love and the sorrow he endured for you.

Merry Christmas friends.

Be glad.

God came to be with us.

And he still is.

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Have You Made Room for Jesus?

No ones truly knows the thoughts or what became of the inn keeper who turned Mary and Joseph and Jesus away. All we really know is that an inn keeper told Mary and Joseph that he did not have room to let them in.

As I consider that inn keeper I cannot help but consider how God places people and opportunities in our path. God places himself in our path. We have the choice to make room or not.

Tonight, in the aftermath of a day filled with accommodations, gifts, joy, family, friends, cooking, cleaning, and borderline exhaustion, if you haven’t already… I pray you join me in making some room for Jesus. Let us open our hearts to Him, thank him for the fullness of today and ask him to open our eyes to where we need to make the room for Him to be clearly seen.

 

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I just wanted to remind you…

The toys will break.

The clothes will fade and become worn.

The food will get eaten.

The family and friends will return home.

The decorations will come down once again.

And when they do, I am praying for each and everyone of you, that you remember:

These were all just gifts from the Giver.

Yes, they come and they go, but the greatest gift is that the Giver himself came to be with us.

Jesus was born in a stable and placed in a cow’s feed box.

He came and from the get-go, he resided in the mess. From the get-go, God the Father made it clear that this Jesus, this tiny devine baby, was sent and placed here in this world as food for our hungry souls.

He would grow up to heal and perform miracles, to be beaten and crucified for our sins, and then incredibly, he would overcome death and the grave so that we too, through faith, would be able to overcome, both in life and death.

He came to be with us and he himself said he is always with us. He is the greatest gift I know- and each of you friends- are his precious gifts.

You are all so precious to him. You are why he came. You are what he desired. You are his gifts and I thank God for each of you.

If any of you are hurting I pray you feel his comfort. I pray he flood and fill those empty places. I pray you be overwhelmed by the sense of his presence because he is with you.

And if there is any of you who do not believe- my prayer for you is simple- I pray that should a time ever come when you have no where else to turn and you know you need something that this world simply cannot offer- I pray that in that moment you would call on Jesus to step in and flood you with his love.

He can heal the hurt. He can fill the holes. He can bring the joy. In him is forgiveness. In him is strength. In him is new life. In him is food for the soul.

So this Christmas season I just wanted to remind each and everyone of you that God loves you. His love for you will never fail, never leave, never get worn. His love is food for the soul.

 

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Beautiful Light, Shine

Driving home last night from my mom’s with our kids, I noticed one single star shining brightly in the middle of the huge dark sky. I took many turns but that light stayed in its place, appearing to guide us home.

Later in the wee hours of the morning I was up caring for our baby. I accidentally left a light on the living room. Closed our bedroom door, turned the lights off, but there, in the midst of the dark again, light pierced through the cracks around our bedroom door. Light illuminated the door frame. There, in the dark, yet another reminder that the smallest amount of light will overtake the darkness, lead us to doors that can be opened, and though small, that light has the power to keep our sleepy hearts awake.

Light in the dark… That is what Christmas is about. Jesus bringing hope… One small babe… One small light… With the power to overcome the dark and keep our sleepy hearts awake.

May a light shine in our hearts and wake us up once again to the beauty of Christmas. Because a light came, and lit up the darkness. He guides us home, and is always with us. He gives perfect gifts of peace and joy, salvation and unending love.

Beautiful light, shine bright and let us light up the darkness as his light shines in our hearts.

 

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The Gift of Presence

Driving in the car yesterday I found myself frustrated and saddened as I considered Christmas. I have given money into every red bucket near a ringing bell- in an effort to help others acquire the items they need or desire. I have heard over and over again from my children (and others around me) their own lists of desires. I have even been walked to the aisles where they are found. I have been asked how many more days until Christmas is, countless times over- in anxious anticipation of the day when the gifts will arrive. And in all of it I cannot help but feel like this is not what Christmas is all about.

Christmas is about Jesus- The Creator of mankind becoming a man so that He could be with us. That is what Jesus wanted for Christmas- simply to be with us. But what do we want?

I have a friend who recently lost her father. I know if I were to ask her what she would want more than anything else for Christmas this year she would say simply to be with her father.

“Simply to be with…” What I wouldn’t give for that to be the beginning of my children’s Christmas list. And I can imagine for many who are less fortunate, though a hot meal, clothing, and toys are greatly appreciated, they will never compare to having someone who truly cares with them.This Christmas, don’t get so wrapped up in the gifts and wish lists that you forget the greatest present- the gift of presence. The gift that is already here.

Matthew 1:23
“And he will be called Immanuel (meaning God is with us).”

 

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Two Kind Gestures: Lessons from A Christmas Story

It’s Christmas time. Extended families are gathering together, sharing meals, presents, bathrooms and bedrooms. It is a joyous time but it can also be a stressful time. There are two small gestures that we can extend to make Christmas and the holidays more merry. To illustrate these gestures I would like to reminisce on two great scenes from the classic Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story.”

Gesture #1: Keep your tongue in your mouth.


In “A Christmas Story,” young Ralphie’s friends Flick and Schwartz have a dispute over whether a person’s tongue will stick to a frozen flagpole. Schwartz ultimately issues Flick a “triple dog dare” and Flick’s tongue does indeed get stuck to the pole.

It is clearly foolish to stick out your tongue to test whether it will or will not get stuck on a frozen flagpole. It is equally as foolish to join in Christmas disputes with family by sticking out your tongue when you should not. Foolish words spoken to family members on Christmas, or any other day, can lead to families being stuck in disputes for years. So, keep your tongue in your mouth, even when others words around you are a “triple dog dare” to stick your tongue out.

Gesture #2: Be thankful for whatever you get.

In my favorite scene of the movie, on Christmas morning, Ralphie’s Aunt Clara gives him a pair of bunny pajamas that Ralphie’s dad describes as looking like “a deranged Easter Bunny.” Ralphie’s mother disagrees and makes Ralphie try them on as a kind gesture to Aunt Clara. Ralphie does, much to his annoyance and discomfort. He looks absolutely ridiculous. His mom decides to keep the pajamas and only have Ralphie wear them when Aunt Clara visits (another kind gesture).

More than likely, you will get presents that you do not like. Some may be down right ridiculous. Be thankful for whatever you get, and be especially thankful for a good laugh. Save that awful present. Bring it out every year. Enjoy that gift of laughter for years to come. It is a gift from God and so is your family. Practice these two kind gestures this Christmas as you celebrate what matters most.

 

Ephesians 5:4
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

 

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Welcome Christmas

Our children and I went out to our town parade at the beginning of the month. We enjoyed listening to a beautiful Hand Bell performance and playing in a “snow” of froth bubbles. At the sound of police sirens approaching children ran to get a closer look of what was to come. Our kids were so excited to receive high-fives from the kind police officers as they road by on their motorcycles and thrilled to receive high-fives from the fireman that drove by next.

Our children danced with the marching bands, stomping to the beat of the drums. They exchanged smiles and warm greetings with the many adults and children that went by. They enjoyed the creatively decorated floats. Their faces beamed with joy as they galloped with the horses following Santa.

One float, however, apparently troubled our eight-year-old son. On our way he said to me, “I did not like that one with the ugly green Santa in the chimney. Why did they make him look like that?” I laughed as I realized that he did not recognize the Grinch from Dr. Suess’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” on The Home Depot’s float. I tried to explain the story and later in the week watched the movie with our kids.

The Grinch takes everything from the families in Who-ville, even the food in the refrigerator, believing that he could stop Christmas from coming. What he finds out is that he could not. On Christmas morning though each Who awoke to a great loss, they still spent Christmas morning singing praises and welcoming Christmas Day. As the Grinch says, “How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages boxes, or bags!” Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

What a great example the Whos in Who-ville set for children and adults alike. Christmas is not about the ribbons, packages, boxes and bags. It is about a greater gift that was given to the world, the gift of God’s love and His salvation through Jesus Christ. No person can steal this gift from you. If the only thing you woke up to on Christmas morning was God’s love would you still be able to welcome Christmas? That is what matters most.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


 

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