Tag Archives: Christmas

Will You Meet Me in the Stable?

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Can you imagine for just one moment what it would have been like to gaze into the eyes of Jesus as a newborn infant?  What would it have felt like to hold him?  What if you were the one who could soothe is crying for just a moment?  Suppose you had traveled days to be in his very presence?  What would be your anticipation level as you ponder the thoughts of holding the New Born King in your arms?

When Jesus was born all heaven and earth rejoiced at the birth.  Many came from miles and miles away just to get one peek at this wonder.  Can you imagine if you were in that stable gazing upon the infant child who was going to save the world and Mary picked you out of the crowd and asked you to hold him?  The sheer excitement of the moment…

UNTIL THIS HAPPENS:

What if I accidentally drop him?

What if he screams the moment I take him?

Am I even worthy of this?

Am I good enough to hold this precious child?

Suddenly like a flood you are filled with a bazillion insecurities and instead of responding to Mary with great joy and excitement you wonder why she even picked you to hold him in the first place.  Because of the circumstances of your life you feel so inadequate in the moment.  So defeated by your own malicious thoughts that you begin to believe that the King of the world would want nothing to do with you.

So many of us have this defeated mentality when it comes to Jesus.  We often shy away from opportunities of intimacy with God because we feel unworthy, unloved, unwanted, undesired and unable to connect.  God created us for worship.  He created us for an intimate relationship.  What happened?  Where is the disconnect?  The very being who will accept us for who were are is the very one we run from because of our insecurities and wounds.

Well friends, Jesus came to take all of that away.  He came to wipe every tear.  He arrived in a quiet intimate setting as an invitation to those who felt unworthy.  His very presence in that lowly stable invited even the humblest person to seek Him.  He was not born in a palace where rules and regulations would have kept many from even seeing Him.  No, He was born in a place where there was an open invitation from the heavens.

Will you meet me in the stable this year?  Will you come witness the most intimate birth in the history of the world?  Will you allow yourself to feel worthy, loved, accepted and wanted just long enough for the Newborn King to smile at you and let you feel safe?

Dear Lord,  Will You help each of us to visualize ourselves at the foot of the manger.  Help us to see the love and acceptance in that tiny humble stable setting.  We thank you for loving us all right where we are with no reservations.  We invite you into our insecurities and wounds so we may have a true intimate relationship with You.  In Jesus Name we pray.  Amen

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What? No Lasagna or Spaghetti????

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
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It’s that time a year again when everyone is running around last minute trying to find the perfect gift for everyone they know.  Some are spending money they really don’t have to spend and others are wondering where they will even get the money in the first place.  Others are finding themselves in depressions because they don’t have anyone to even spend Christmas with.  How did this holiday season get so out of hand?  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the colors and lights.  I love the decorated trees and the presents under them.  But in reality is it just a cover up?
This may be a little raw for some to read and it may seem kinda on the sad side of things, but this is a blog about my real life, so here it goes.  For the several years in my first marriage we just scraped by ALOT.  Our children did not always have the newest of things or the latest contraption but I can assure you, Christmas was their time of year.  Feeling guilty for all of the things we could not get during the year, we over did it on Christmas.  We would spend our whole pay check plus any bonuses on Christmas..not leaving any finances for bills.
Did the kids have a great Christmas?  Sure did.  Did all of those “things” really mean anything in the the long run?  What my family needed was a year full of love not a one day show.  I look back at my dysfunctional past and I just want to scream!  I feel like we robbed our children of a true representation of a family.  I sometimes wish I could go back and change things and then I realize it all happened and nothing can change the past, we can only move forward.
So now, we don’t make a huge effort on Christmas to get gifts.  We have a set amount to spend and that’s it.  But one thing we do have still is each other.  We have good memories and bad and that holds us together.  It really caught me off guard this year when I forgot a very important tradition.  I called my daughter and suggested that we do Chinese for dinner this year and I heard her disappointment when she simply said, “What? No lasagna and spaghetti this year?”  How could I have completely forgotten a 19 year tradition?  I still remember when Alex (my son) was four years old and I had made lasagna and garlic bread for Christmas Eve with a beautiful candle lit dinner.  We were about half way done with dinner and he piped up and said, “Mom, can we do this every year?”
So every year since we have had lasagna and spaghetti ( the spaghetti started when Alex was about 12 and suddenly didn’t like lasagna) and I can’t believe I almost forgot this year.  But what does this say?  It says it really wasn’t about the overload of presents all along, it was about being with family and enjoying the little things which didn’t cost much.  It was about feeling loved, accepted and valued.
I pray each of you had a wonderful Christmas no matter how you celebrated.  I pray that all have seen Jesus this year in some way shape or form.  I pray 2015 will be a year of many blessings and grace!  

Crooked Trees and Frosted Cookies

Mark 4:21-22

 Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.
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We sing the carols. We see the family.  We buy the gifts.  We send the cards. We say Happy Holidays to everyone we meet.  We make special dinners.  We decorate the tree.  We string popcorn.  We light the candle wrap the presents.  We frost dozens of cookies.  We stock the stockings.  We tell the stories.  We attend church. Does this make it really Christmas or does it just appear to be?
We argue about what to buy.  We complain about the tree size. We get mad at the cat. We often go broke.  We ignore other financial obligations.  We are tired.  We are weary.  We go above our normal routine just to get the perfect gift.  We eat too many cookies.  We dread seeing family.  We hate cranberry sauce.  We’d rather eat the popcorn.  We go to church because grandma said so.  We dread pretending to be happy.  We are disappointed with our gifts.  We never seem to get what we really wanted.
Do we really even get what Christmas is?  What does it really mean to you?  Christmas is a holiday to most of us that really can either stretch or stress us.  So many people out there are just trying to get by, that when Christmas comes they lose all hope in God at all.  I know families out there who will not have much of a Christmas but I believe God will show up.  I believe we have a loving God who will take care of us according to His will if we are willing to seek Him.
Jesus came to save this world from sin.  Sin causes pain.  If He came to save us from sin then He also came to save us from pain.  For so many the holidays are just filled with pain, not joy.  The NIV version of the Bible mentions joy 244 times.  To me that means it’s pretty important to God that we find joy.  This year for me even though I am happy in life, Christmas just does not have the same meaning as it used to.  It seems to have lost its joy.  We have not even put up a tree yet and usually that goes up the minute Thanksgiving is over with.  Not sure what is going on in my heart with this but I am seeking God for answers.
This Christmas I urge us all to really look at that day and explain to ourselves why we celebrate? What we celebrate? How we celebrate? Who are we celebrating?  If Jesus is not the answer then we have an appearance of Christmas.  We need to begin to seek the face of God and ask Him to show us Christmas so that we can start to tell others what it really means.

Reindeer in Distress!

Romans 12:6-8

If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don’t take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy; if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate; if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.
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I got home late last night and I happened to glance up and see this funny scene…it looked as if reindeer antlers were stuck in the icicles on our house.  Of course it is just a tree branch but it sure struck me as funny and then I began to think upon this silly situation.  What if Santa had to perform his duties on Christmas night with just 7 reindeer?  Would it change the story?  Would they have to rewrite the song and if so, which reindeer would they leave out?  On further thinking, I wondered why we have such a focus on Santa and his reindeer anyways with it being Jesus’ birthday and all.  Which, caused be to think about a message I heard once about Jesus being born in September…..hmmmmmm… things that make me go and ponder!
When I sat myself down and thought about all of these things today I began to think to myself, ” Do we really need Christmas?”.  My answer?  Of course we do! Whether we believe in the birth of a savior or the bringing of joy by a jolly old elf, it still causes families to connect and cheer to be spread.  I know some push the envelope and make Christmas a much bigger deal than need be, however, at the end of it all, joy was shared right?  Okay maybe not with every situation but overall there is a pause in life for just a few moments to share gifts with friends and family.
I also meditated about those who have no one this holiday.  The forgot ones who life has just pushed aside for whatever reasons.  They are the ones who need a Christmas hope more than anyone else and if that hope comes from someone giving them a gift from Santa then at least love was shared and what is love? God.  Perhaps if there was a better balance between Jesus and Santa I could feel more at ease with Santa.  I remember when my kids were young, I hated Santa.  I could not get over the fact that he was getting all the credit for what we as parents worked hard to get.  I was just ever so happy for Christmas to be done.
I challenge each of us this year to step away from Christmas and reevaluate our perspective of it.  Are we in it for the gifts or the love?  Do we have a desire to bless others or do we just want to get something good?  I am not sure where I lost my love for Christmas, but I know I need to get a new look at it in my heart.  I want to bring joy and hope.  I just want people to see Jesus in Christmas again.

Shed Some Light

Isaiah 58:10

Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
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Alright, Christmas is over and we celebrated the birth of Jesus.  Now Easter has come and gone….now what?  Do we just pine away at life until Christmas rolls around again so that we can start all over?  It seems as if perhaps we just set our Christian lifestyle aside for a little while when there is no “religious holidays” to contend with.  We just live our daily lives and pay no attention that we should be celebrating the life and death of Jesus every morning when we awaken from our slumber.
Whether it is the season to be giving or the one of reverence for what God allowed to happen to His son so that we may have eternal life, we should be shedding some light on what it’s really like to be a Christian.  We should be living daily as an example of what God really did for us by giving us His Only Son.  We should be kind and loving, giving and grateful, but most of all we should be sharing the Good News no matter where we go…..EVERYWHERE.
Now I am not talking about becoming Bible Thumpers…..I just mean being who we were meant to be in Christ.  Doesn’t this mean preaching every place you enter?  Do you mean I have to quote Bible verse after Bible verse AFTER Bible verse all the time?  Does it mean you won’t ever sin again?  Nope, it just means you have to share the Good News of Jesus with those you come in contact with.  Sometimes this just means praying for a certain person who does not know the love of God and is closed off to it.
Being a Christian does not mean you have to to walk up to each person you meet and ask them if they know Jesus or tell them that they are going to hell if they don’t believe.  Many of the conversations I have had about Jesus have come about because I started  a simple, normal conversation with someone.  We talk about one thing which leads to another and pretty soon I can’t help share something about what Jesus has done in my life.  It really is a simple thing to do.
I encourage each of us to press into God and allow Him to use us in tremendous and creative ways to spread His Gospel story to those who have yet to hear it.  If we just share our testimonies with those we encounter, God will take care of the rest.  We have two commands from Jesus in this current hour, love one another and spread the Good News to everyone.  Let’s go be fishers of men and shed some of His Light so that all might be saved.

It’s Not About A Baby

“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”” Luke 2:11-14 NLT

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When are we going to realize that this life we live is not up to us?  When will we begin to understand our lives are not our own that our very steps are ordered by God Himself? If God knew us before we were even formed, then He knows the plans He has for each step of our journey, if only we would wake at dawn with outstretched hands toward heaven in complete surrender, then just maybe we could move so freely in Him it would blow our  minds.  Yes, our King of Kings was born in a stable.  Yes He was wrapped in cloth and laid to sleep in a manager.  Yes it was cold.  Yes it was humble.  Yes it seemed all so unworthy for the Savior of the world.  But He came to save.

Let us take a step back and realize it is not about the baby and His meek birth, it is about God coming to this earth.  A God who loves us unconditionally EVERYDAY and no matter what mischief we have gotten ourselves into.  He waits each day at the setting of the sun with arms open wide to hold us close.  He watches as we look past at times what He has done.  He longs for us to seek Him daily, to be sought out in the middle of our busy lives.  He waits, patiently.  Why can’t we see that He will not leave us in our mess?  Why do we fail to notice that He picks us up and dusts us off every time we fall?  His love knows no end.

We will forever visit that manger.  We will be humbled by its power.  However, we need to see past it and into what this birth really was.  It was proclaimed years before it happened. God knew us, therefore, He knew we would need a Savior.  He KNEW we would need to be loved.  He KNEW we needed to be rescued from this tormented world.  He knew. He knew. He knew.  I want to get this so ingrained in my spirit that I cannot hear anything else.  I want others to know this same truth.  He came as an infant but He was always God.

God came to save the world.  He came to show us the ultimate gift, the gift of salvation.  The gift which only needs to be given once.  The grace gift of salvation is sufficient to cover a multitude of sins.  Why can we not see God in that manger instead of a child shivering in the cold?  We seem to put so much emphasis on giving material things during this holiday season.  Spending money we don’t have.  Giving gifts until it hurts.  Buying things we know are not really of value.  Why not just give Jesus?  The ultimate gift of grace and salvation, the only gift that truly keeps giving and it fits everyone’s needs.  The gift of God Himself to a broken world.

I pray this Christmas season that I can stop seeing the baby in the manger and just see God.  I want to just be myself this Christmas and being all about Jesus is just that.  I am nothing without Him.  If He had not come, I would have no reason to exist for I would just be this bitter, hopeless person, unable to give light to anyone.  I long for the day when this world finally gets just who Jesus is.  I await the moment when all earth bows for they have come to see God in His fullness.  Just like Martin Luther King, I have a dream……

Peace be with all of you during this Christmas season.  After all of the hustle and bustle I want us all to just rest.  Yes, sit and rest.  Close our eyes and see God.  To quiet our souls and breathe.  To manage to get our flesh to settle down and see what God has done for us through the birth of Jesus.  My dream of unity would be so simple if we could all see that God is love and love is all we need.  We were commanded by Jesus to love. It is so simple.  Love was born in that manger some 2,000 years ago, not just a baby.  Salvation was born to an unsuspecting couple, ordinary people, therefore it is also for those who seem unimportant.  Let me assure you, you are important and you matter to God.  Because He loves you, He sent Jesus.

This world is nothing without God.  This world cannot offer peace or joy. It cannot offer salvation or hope.  Only God can save us.  Only God can give us the peace we need daily, so my dream is simple:  Choose to Love.  Choose to love your neighbor.  Choose to love yourself.  Choose to love the life you have been given and be content in what God has given to you.  For it will be through love that others will see the Light, the Light they should see when they gaze upon the manger.

Day 25: The REAL Meaning of Christmas

Matthew 12:21
And his name will be the hope of all the world.”

John 1:14
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Here we are!  It is Christmas and I will now share what I believe to be the real meaning of Christmas.  Now I assure you this is my own opinion and after having traveled the road to the manger with me, I hope you will come to your own conclusion of what the real meaning of Christmas is in your lives.  I feel on this day, Hope was born.  Now we have discovered that our Father has not given us any specific date for celebration and this brings me to a place where I have decided this truth for my current journey of faith:  The birth of the Jesus is a cause for celebration but then also of equal importance is His death.  Since a date for neither is provided, should we not celebrate DAILY the manger and the cross? The birth and the death?

Every day we should wake up and thank God for Jesus and this means the birth and the death for without either, we would be in quite a predicament.  If we were to celebrate each day this awesome Gift, it would be open to all religions and there would not be a need for all the disagreements of how it should be celebrated.  If we took the time to celebrate every day, gift giving or giving of ourselves would be a daily occurrence.  We could surprise someone with a love gift and not have to say, “tis the season”, it would just be the right moment.  Can you imagine for a moment what it would be like to have “Christmas” or “Easter” every day?  It would remove the stress and the planning and make the moment of giving so much more rewarding because the gift would be spontaneous and not planned out.

If we spent more time just sharing love instead of planning for these holidays, we could reach so many more hearts.  For some, these holidays are the ONLY time they spend with Jesus.  For others, it is the ONLY time spent with certain family members and sometimes that is only because it is “required” because of the “Holidays”.  I mean no offense by this blog, I am simply showing a side that even I have not really seen before now.  I think sometimes our focus is so far off base we cannot see the real meaning of the birth or the death.  Everyday is a gift from God, why should we not be of the same attitude towards others?  I love the idea of the holidays, do not get me wrong but at the heart of today, there was love.  I spent time with family and enjoyed just being with them.  I gave gifts to my children and I did this out of love, not obligation.  I feel as though I would like to spend more of these days together.

Jesus was born to give us Hope and if we are following in faith, the love God intended can emerge into this fallen world but it will be difficult if we continue to focus on these things only twice a year.  Jesus needs to be an everyday of presenting ourselves to be used by God so that the Gift of His son will have relevance in the lives of those who do not yet know Him as their savior.  As we followed the star and listened to the shepherds, saw the wise men in search of a King, our faith was ignited that hope was laying in a manger.  We finally had a moment to hold onto, a place in time where life could begin to make sense.  This birth of Hope is eternal and so is the death.

I pray all will find peace on earth as they seek Jesus first in their lives.  I Hope your Merry Christmas will be bright as you follow the star in faith.  May your Season Greetings become , “How can I help you today?”.  Perhaps your Happy Holidays will turn into days of celebration.  Hopefully Tis the Season will fashion itself into days of thanksgiving and a willingness to give to others.  Let’s make Christmas and Easter a part of everyday for as a very wise teacher taught me once upon a time, it is always today.  Today is the day Jesus is born.  Today is the day Jesus died. Today is the day when all things are possible.  Why not make today count so God may be glorified, today.

So as I conclude this 25 day blog on the REAL meaning of Christmas, I hope I have inspired some changes in the perspective of why we celebrate the way we do.  Maybe this is a moment in time where we can all just take a few moments and reflect upon what it all means in our lives.  Being a believer in Jesus means we are here to deliver hope to the hopeless and love to the lost.  We are to be about the Fathers’ business everyday of our lives.  Surely Santa was a grand idea, but a fairy tale for sure.  Some say Jesus is a fairy tale too, but I beg to differ.  The Happy Ending I am seeking is in heaven, a place of peace and tranquility, the purpose of my journey as a Christian, a daughter of the King.  May your heart be touched forever by the hope found in the manger, because when all that has been prophesied is said and done, will we be in our mansions in heaven or left behind?  The choice is up to each of us.  Who will receive your utmost attention?  Jesus or worldly traditions?  Use your faith to choose.  Be Blessed!