Wednesday, December 28, 2011


We have friends visiting from Colorado this weekend.  We have been so excited to see them....just can't wait...and TODAY is the day!  The timing is perfect for me, it has given me something to look forward to so that the post Christmas blues don't hit too hard.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to prepare for their arrival-thanks to a wonderful friend playing with my girls so I could shop and clean!!!  I was thinking about preparation and anticipation...and realized that we all have something to prepare for and anticipate-an event that can give our hearts hope and great joy!

Our last advent verse...
During the season of advent we (not so) patiently counted down the days until Christmas by reading a verse each day. We anticipated all that Christams would hold-the celebration of Jesus' birthday is so much fun! Jesus' coming as an infant was prophesied long before He came and yet most of the people of His time didn't know He was born. The scriptures also tell us that He will come back.  In Matthew 24 Jesus tells us much about this (read it if you haven't :). 

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.  1 Thessaloninas 4:16-18

HE came at Christmas and HE is coming back!!! Are we preparing for HIS return in the same fashion that we prepared for Christmas, or with the same enthusiasm that we have when friends visit?
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Revelation 19:7

We are His bride....Let's be ready! I have to be honest and say that I'm not sure what all that means for my life yet...I guess the preparation is probably diffeernt for each person.  When we fully trust in Jesus and have saving faith by His grace, He will lead us individually in the preparation process.  We abide in Him, He directs our paths to 'work out our salvation...(not in our strength) for it is God Who is all the while working in us (energizing and creating the power and desire) to will and work for His good pleasure and satisfation and delight.' (See Philippians 2:12-13 in NIV and AMP)

Unlike Advent when we count down to Christmas, we don't know exactly when He will return. But we do have some signs to watch for and some encouragement to be ready:

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Matthew 24:42,44

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Matthew 24:32-33

So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. Mark 13:23
If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. Mark 13:36 (This has me thinking of You Gotta Get Up)

He tells us so much in His word-such great and precious promises.  Here is one to think about throughout this day as we anticiapte His return:

They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Isaiah 35:10b

WOOHOO!! How can we not look forward to that?  Everlasting joy? Yes, please!!! Come, Lord Jesus!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Letdown?

It started even before Christmas the end of each celebration...when we had to say goodbye.  Her sweet question, "momma, when is Christmas over?"

At first I didn't understand her five year old thinking...but then it made sense.  To her Christmas was a time to be with family and friends and celebrate....much celebration-school parties, Awana parties and lots of family and friends.  She knows why we celebrate...and loves all of it!

He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.   Song of Songs 2:4

When we read the Christmas story Christmas Eve night she asked again-Is Christmas over after tomorrow?

I woke up Christmas morning not feeling well.  Our whole family has had a cold for what seems like the past month (we ARE getting better, thank you Jesus!).  Despite the lack of sleep from our traditional late night wrapping, I woke up and thought 'this is going to be a good day!!!' I felt joyful all day...even when things didn't go my way...even when I had an overstimulated 2 year old!

When a frustration would arise that might normally steal my joy...I just thought about what the day meant-why we were celebrating.  We were blessed to host 4 different celebrations in our home over the last week...that meant 4 times cleaning and cooking.  I did it all with joy (unlike some days when it seems like that's all I do...over and over).  Why the joy?  Because my focus was on what we were celebrating. 

So if I choose to celebrate the Hope of Christmas...each day can be Christmas!  When I choose to look to Him and live like it's Christmas morning, it is!  His gifts never end!  His mercies are new each morning!  I can wake up expecting something good to happen to me each day! 

So, friend, Is Christmas over?

The answer my sweet Z needed to hear is the same for us...NO!! Christmas doesn't ever have to be over!  In celebrating Christmas we are celebrating Emmanuel, God with us.  And now that He has defeated the enemy and sits at the right hand of God and has sent His Holy Spirit to live in us...He is always with every day can be Christmas!!!

Even though we will soon be packing away the decorations and storing them for next season-the celebration never needs to end.  We can stay in awe of the nativity-of Christ humbly coming to us. As I did last year, I will be leaving one nativity scene remind me that each day I can have the joy of Christmas because Christ came!

Many times I have had a "Christmas Letdown"...when all that has been anticipated is over.  Gifts are all opened, carols all sung, family all back home, decorations put away, and life returns to "normal".  This year I will let God use a 5 year old's sweet question to remind me that His gift of Christmas is for each day. 

Although we won't have wrapped gifts under the tree to anticipate, we will still have the gift of His presence because of the tree and we can seek Him in anticipation each day!!!

Let's celebrate Christmas today with this precious hymn as a reminder to us and a praise to God!

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is They faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulneses
Lord unto me!!!!

Gifts Worth Receiving

I wonder if any of you stood in long lines today to return or exchange a gift? Maybe it was a thoughtful gift, but just the wrong size....or maybe it was not even thoughtful and something you would never use?

Did anyone have the misfortune of hearing a child complain about a gift just given (hopefully an adult wouldn't say it out loud) ?  Or a child asking if there were more gifts, as if all they just opened weren't enough? 

Thankfully this year, none of the above fits me...but it has before, and very well may again:)

I was thinking...are we like this with the gifts God gives?  Trying to exchange it to "make it fit" or complaining that it's not what so and so has? 

Ouch, I know....

Hopefully instead of ungrateful kids, you got to see some joy and delight! My girls showed plenty of that this year even though we attempted to scale back on gift giving.  
She was sure excited about the book:)
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11 see also Luke 11:13

I find myself still wanting more of God... more of His gifts, His grace, His love and His Holy Spirit. I guess that's not a bad thing- to long for more of Him...but I need to be satisfied with where I am today as I trust Him to mature me and give me His gifts in His timing...

You might have heard Joyce say "I'm not where I need to be, but thank God, I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay and I'm on my way!" I will fix my eyes on Him and trust His promises to perfect my faith-Hebrews 12:2 And I will remember that His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3

I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge— 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.  1 Corinthians 1:4-9

Doesn't that say that as we wait on Jesus to be revealed that we don't lack any spiritual gifts??  Wow!!! He gives each of His children gifts as He sees fit...we need to trust the Giver!    We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. Romans 12:6a

Like our children (who may always ask for more), we need to check our motives...When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3

Like the prayer we prayed last time in Ephesians...I know this is a prayer that God will answer:
 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.  Philippians 1:9-11

So there you go...maybe it is okay to ask for MORE of the gifts He so generously bestows on us...

Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  John 16:24

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”  Matthew 21:22

I hope today you are able to enjoy the gifts that He has given the Giver...humbly accept what He generously gives!!
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