It’s Begining to Look A Lot Like Christmas

It is a delight to share our Christmas photos with our friends. I hope you enjoy our simple pictures and that they bring a smile to your face this Christmas season.

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Featuring: Fluffy on the left. She has been with us now for about four years. She showed up one day and worked her way into our hearts. This year in addition to playing with Christmas ornaments, she is enjoying undecorating my little artificial tree.

Gracey in the middle. She has been my princess for five years now. The others look up to her and know she’s in charge. She adores all things Christmas and is known to have a fit at the end of the season.

On the right: Sadie Rose my curled ear cat. She is the most loyal cat who comes on command and checks on me frequently when I don’t feel well. She enjoys playing with everything Chrismas. Additionally, she loves laying under the tree.

 

 

Abby is my puppy also, as many of you know, my service dog in training. She enjoyed “helping” decorate the Christmas tree. Moreover, she is fitting in well with her love for Christmas.

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The stockings of my fur-babies who have passed. It is vital to keep them a part of Christmas for me because each one loved the season so much
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Joy of the Lord

“To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God!
    And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!” Luke 2:14

Jesus talks about live abundantly for the believer. However, this does not mean life will be without trials it is the contrary. This promise does not mean that the believer lives in a bubble of good things, worldly wealth, things always go smoothly, or laughter. Countless trails challenge the believer, at times these trails plague the believer with no break.

The joy of the Lord is the anchor of the believer’s soul. It is intertwined with thanksgiving, hope, and peace. This joy more than an emotion and it is unwavering. Though the work of the Holy Spirit and a willing heart on our part we are able to have a perspective from Christ that allows us to rejoice in His name no matter what. We are able to be confident that everything will bring glory to His mighty name. Pausing throughout the day to praise His name and to give Him thanks enables us to live out the joy of the Lord. Living out the joy of the Lord in the midst of tragedy takes courage and it must be intentional.

How can you live out the joy of the Lord this Christmas season?

Lord Jesus,

You are awe-inspiring. Words cannot accurately describe Your infinite beauty. The earth is filled with Your glory and righteousness. One day everyone and everything will bow at the sound of Your great name.

Almighty.. My intercessor. You poured out forgiveness despite my unworthiness. Daily, You extend mercy and grace. I can never thank You enough for the gifts You have freely given me. I worship You with all I am. Lifting Your name on high.

I love to learn more about You each day. As I understand You more I grow closer to You and my love for You increases. Fan the flame of my desire for You so that it would increase. As I come to know You more enable me to teach others about Your character. Allow Your kingdom to grow. I desire to serve You, Master.

Allow me to live out the joy that You have given me. Let me experience abundant life even when I am in the midst of trials. Cultivate a heart of thanksgiving in me. Bless me with a perspective that comes from You. Let me remain anchored in You hope and daily experience Your peace.

Amen

 

 

Hope

The pain intensifies as the minute’s drag by. There is an indescribable ache and stabbing pain nearly with each breath.  A sickening feeling overwhelms my body along with waves of nausea from the pain. As quick as possible I unsteadily get up as the urgency increases to get to the bathroom and on my way, I partly dislocate a knee.  Weakness consumes my body from lack of nutrition and hydration. Anxiety plagues the mind as I come up with theories of what is occurring.

Moments like these it is impossible to read or to focus for more than five seconds to pray. Moments like these are when I need hope instinctively. “Lament is a cry of belief in a good God, a God who has His ear to our hearts, a God who transfigures the ugly into beauty.” He promises no matter how dark, painful, and hopeless things feel that joy comes in the morning.

There are times when all looks hopeless to others that Christ fills me with His hope beyond explanation. On the contrary, I am sad to admit, there are too many times that my heart aches with sorrow and hopeless tears spill out.

There have been times friends feel so hopeless they have walked out of my life never to return. Countless times, doctors tell me things are hopeless that they are stumped. Thankfully, my Savior has never felt that my health is hopeless.

What are the things which leave you feeling hopeless?

Look! The days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days, when the time is right, I will cause a righteous Branch to sprout from the old stump of David’s linea.png

 

Hopelessness seems to fill this fallen world. Maintaining the hope that Christ calls us to have can seem like an impossible task. Hope is not a feeling. It is so much more to the believer. It is an anchor to our soul that connects us to Christ.

Advent is a time to rekindle our hope. The story of the birth of Jesus bursts with hope.  Jesus is the source of hope and furthermore our ultimate example of remaining hopeful.  The Lord is renewing our hope today through the first Sunday of Advent.

 

Look! The days are coming when I will fulfill the promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. In those days, when the time is right, I will cause a righteous Branch to sprout from the old stump of David’s linea (1).png

Lord,

I am amazed at the way the whole Bible is connected to the birth of Jesus. I am amazed at the way that you are always at work mighty ways. Thank you for providing hope when all seems lost. Thank You for the joy You provide. Thank You for who You are. Thank You for the grace You provide.

I praise You for the hope found in Your Son, Jesus, Christ. Thank you for the renewed hope of Advent. Allow me to read the Advent story with an open heart and new eyes. I surrender this Christmas season to You knowing that You will do a new awe-inspiring work in me. Fill me up with You, Lord Jesus. Allow me to be a blessing to others.

Amen

Welcome December

I adore the Christmas season, it is absolutely magical. Beauty overflows all around from stunning lights to warm smiles to traditions and so much more. Christmas carols sweetly fill the air. The Christmas season brings joy as it reassures us gently that things will be okay. It helps us connect with our inner child reminding us of the wonderful Christmas memories. At the same time, it encourages us to move forward filling us with a hope like no other. It unites us with those we hold dear in our hearts. I cherish every aspect of Christmas.

Unfortunately chronic illness and the stressful demands that go with it does not take a holiday. The doctors appointments, treatment, and testing still must be done. Chronic illness tends to complicate things and get in the way of our joy during this season. It is easy to lose focus of the beauty in this season when we are consumed with emotion and pain. When the world seems to be caving in on us and everything seems to be falling apart. Chronic illness isolates us. We feel the effects more so this time of year. Finding a balance between doing things and resting becomes more difficult. For some, this season is depressing, reminding them of all they cannot do.

I hope you are able to take the time to rest and reflect this holiday season. Take to reflect about all the ways you have grown as an individual, all you have accomplished, all the blessings in your life, and everything you have overcome the past few months. You, my friend, have come so far. I am proud of you. You deserve to take time for yourself this busy season. You are an inspiration. Your story is breathtaking and laced with beauty along with encouragement it will change lives. I pray your strength is renewed. The Lord will bless you greatly this season, be open to all he has to offer for you.

I pray you would have a flare free Christmas season. I hope that despite your pain you are able to enjoy this season of blessing. Cherish every moment with those you hold dear to your heart. Hold onto the Christmas spirit. I pray that this season would bless you with little to no pain, plenty of spoons, memories, joy, and love. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”

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My Advent Reading Plan

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I have shared many times that I tend to read a few books at a time, furthermore, it seems to an outsider that I over complicate my time with God. I enjoy hearing what others are reading for advent so I thought it would be fun to share what I am reading.

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas

Hundreds of thousands of readers have already fallen in love with Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and this Christmas, Ann invites readers into the rich and meaningful celebration of Christmas we all long for — a celebration of the complete love story that’s been coming for you since the very beginning.

In what is certain to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus — the greatest gift.

Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for.

Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, The Greatest Gift, a New York Times bestseller, is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless invitation into the richness of the true meaning of Christmas.

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna By Liz Curtis Higgs

Meet the women who played pivotal roles in Christ’s birth! Elizabeth is barren, yet trusts God’s promise. Mary is a virgin but says yes when God asks her to bear his Son. And prophetess Anna proclaims the Messiah’s arrival. Unpacking each verse from the Gospel of Luke, Higgs illuminates their love, faithfulness, and obedience to God.
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YouVersion App Devotionals:
From Darkness To Light, From Sorrow To Hope: Lessons from Jeremiah and Lamentations for Advent
Expectation. Longing. Yearning. These emotions fill our hearts during the season of Advent. Drawn from the Latin word adventures, which means “coming,” Advent is a time of anticipation for the celebration of Christ’s Nativity. It is also a period of preparation for our Lord’s Second Coming. Paradoxically, this holy season focuses our attention on the historical fact of Christ’s birth as well as on the promise of his anticipated return.
Waiting Here for You, An Advent Journey of Hope 
Advent is simply a season of expectant waiting and preparation. Join pastor and author Louie Giglio on an Advent journey to discover that waiting is not wasting when you’re waiting on the Lord. Take hold of the chance to uncover the vast hope offered through the journey of Advent. In the next seven days you’ll find peace and encouragement for your soul as anticipation leads toward celebration!
The Gospel of Luke.
Have you considered what you are reading for advent? Do you do anything else special during advent?

Advent & The Belt of Truth

The belt of truth relates to advent. Jesus, the truth put on flesh and joined the world as a delicate baby. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world” John 1:9 NIV. Through Jesus, God reveals to us His truth. In addition, His word exposes it. His truth enables us to discern right from wrong as well as almost right from right. Truth is essential to our spiritual well-being.

By putting on the belt of truth we are a reflection of Jesus. Take time from the businesses of the season to go deeper with the one who is the reason for it all. Meditate on God’s truth. Consider how God might burden your heart to be a vessel for His truth to the world. Furthermore, you sweet friend are a light to this world.

Like the belt holds together the armor, God holds together our world. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17.

God’s truth sets us free which provides peace that surpasses all understanding.  Despite, not so silent nights Christ’s peace continues to rule our hearts. This peace is not affected by the events or chaos in life. The second week of advent we reflect on the peace candle. We are reminded to slow down. To breath. Basking in His presence. Surrendering all to Him.

As you strap on the belt of truth this advent season and ponder these things in your heart rejoice in the goodness of God.  Praise Him for who He is. Rejoicing in the fact that He sent His only son.“Heavenly Choir: To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!” Luke 2:14 The Voice

My prayer for you this advent is that you would develop a more intimate relationship with Christ. That He would use the Christmas story to move your heart in a new and beautiful way. That there are many moments are consumed with deep joy and laughter. The Lord would use you as a vessel of truth to others.

Lord,

We rejoice in this stunning Christmas season. Our hearts sing praises for the precious and priceless gift of Your son. Enable us to put on Your belt of truth daily. Give us discernment. Help us to remain focused on Your truth. Thank you for holding together the universe and our individual world. For all the blessings You have graciously given us. Use us to bring honor and glory to Your name. Allow us to be a vessel in the work You are doing in others lives. Use us to bring others closer to You. Fill our hearts with your peace, love, and joy. Allow us to grow closer to you daily. Deeply bless this Christmas season in a new way. Provide all we need.

Amen

Merry Christmas

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After all the hustle and bustle, stress and joy Christmas day finally arrived. It is bittersweet, knowing this beautiful season is coming to an end. Christmas is a beautiful and magical time of year. The meaning is much deeper than gifts under a tree. In the chaos, it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning. Jesus is the reason for the season. Our beloved Christmas symbols are a reminder of this. Christmas lights remind us to be the light of Christ to the world. Elegant wreaths are a symbol of the crown of thorns put on Jesus before he was crucified and a reminder of God’s unending love- His Agape for his people. The beloved Santa Clause reminds us to freely give to those around us.

Christmas is a time to reconnect with God and those we love. To pause and spend time deepening these relationships; cherishing the blessings we have been given.

It is quite odd having no snow for Christmas.

I pray that today is filled with joy and laughter. That you are able to cherish this precious Chrismas day. I hope that despite the pain, you find reasons to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I hope you are surround by those you hold dear to your heart. Wishing you a beautiful, blessed, and very Merry Christmas. Sending Christmas Spoons, Prayers, and Hugs. ❤

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