postheadericon Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 9

"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph,
and the baby, who was lying in the manger."
- Luke 2:16

My friend had a baby girl yesterday. Her exact words to me today were, "She's the best Christmas present!" How very true that is.

I love babies at this time of year. They're the perfect reminder of the first Christmas present we were ever given. He was a baby, too. And just as my friend is absolutely glowing and filled with immeasurable joy over the birth of her precious baby girl, Mary and Joseph were beaming with love for their bundle of joy. The amazing thing is that they shared their little miracle with the whole world, for all time.

My mom showed me a video tonight about Advent. It made me think of my friend, and my other friends who are still anxiously awaiting the arrival of their baby boy. Think about all of the preparations people make for a baby. The shopping, getting the nursery ready, taking birthing and/or parenting classes, the showers, and maybe even quilting, knitting, or crocheting something for the new life about to come. As parents prepare for a new baby, so should we prepare for Christmas. That's what Advent is all about.

I really loved the video and I do encourage you to check it out:

At this point, Advent is coming to a close. Christmas is less than a week away. But we still have time to prepare for the baby who is coming.

postheadericon Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 8

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened,
which the Lord has told us about.'"
- Luke 2:15

I often wonder what I would have done in this situation...

Would I have, like the shepherds, just hauled out and headed to Bethlehem to see the baby and spread the good news? Or would I have blown it off; stayed right where I was? Would I have gone to open this inconceivable gift from God? Or would I have been too wrapped up in my own junk?

My worry is that I would have let the stress of what I needed to get done, my tendency to put so much pressure on myself to do way too many things, and my uncanny ability to take on too much stop me from sitting at the manger. From making the trip to see the Christ-child. From kneeling at the feet of Jesus.

What about you? Maybe not 2,000 years ago, but what about today? Are you remembering to rest in that straw, at the feet of baby Jesus? Or are you marking a million and one things off your to-do list?

It is so easy at this time of year to get busy buying and wrapping presents, get caught up with things at work we need to get done so we can get wherever it is we're going, get bogged down with lists upon lists upon lists. But it is okay to stop. It is okay to say enough. It is okay to say no. It is even okay to take time off from work and really be present with your family and friends. That by itself is a great gift. That is one way to spend some time in that stable, sitting by that manger, in awe of the baby.

You have a choice to make. We are exactly one week away from Christmas Eve. Please take some time to kneel by that manger. Be filled with wonder and joy and awe and love and peace and gratitude. Say thank you. Be present.


postheadericon Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 7

"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,
'Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
- Luke 2:13-14

We had our Christmas program at church this morning. I'm not going to lie; the angels are always my favorite. They are often our littlest cherubs and my goodness, they are so dang cute! How adorable to see these tiny little ones enacting this great sight.

Glory to God in the highest!

At the end of the program this morning, which was called "Simply Christmas," I was in tears. This is the purest form of God's love. Kids love without agenda and without condition. Listening to a little one tell me she loved me, watching another young one wave at me from up front, and having another little girl run up to me and give me the biggest hug ever were some of the most awesome reminders of whose I am today.

I am so thankful for God's love through children.

And I am so blessed by hearing the Christmas story as told by these precious little ones year after year. What an incredible gift they are!

At the end of the program, a little angel told the congregation that their wish for us is to:

Have the wonder of Mary.
The obedience of Joseph.
The joy of the angels.

I think I got that right, or at least close. Think about that. Wonder, obedience, and joy. All great treasures for us this Christmas season.

Go outside and wonder at the season. Look at the stars and wonder at God's creativity and greatness. Wonder at the snow (if you have any!), wonder at the sunshine, wonder at the foot of the manger.

Listen to God's voice in your life and be obedient. Let Him direct your steps this Christmas to bless those around you. A woman from much church just handed me a gas gift card this morning during worship. What a blessing that is! Be kind to others. Share God's love. Without agenda and without condition.

And have joy. Find joy. It's all around you. The root of joy is gratitude. Remember to be grateful for all you have been given. When you learn to do that, even the bad days are easier. God has given so much, and that is more than enough reason to be filled with the joy that the angels were filled with on that marvelous night.

Glory to God in the highest!
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