He’s Here…

We had a Birthday Party for Jesus last night at church. We played a version of the game musical chairs with the children, using a wrapped present. The children passed the present around their circle while the music played; then, when the music stopped whoever was holding the present unwrapped a layer of paper. The person to unwrap the last layer of paper got to keep the gift. This game is so much fun to watch! Each time the music stopped, all of the kids squealed with delight. One little girl in particular caught my attention last night.

She was absolutely “all in” when it came to this game. She squealed along with everyone else and while another child was unwrapping the present she whispered, “please let there by another layer, please, please”, eyes full of delight, she was so stinking cute!

It occurred to me that I want to approach these next four days leading up to Christmas much the same. I want to squeal with delight at the lights, trees, cookies, carols and gifts that surround me. I want to gaze at Jesus in the manger, eyes full of delight and remember that Jesus is born. He’s here for me. I want to whisper to that baby, “please let there be another layer of your love, your hope and your joy in my heart. Please, please.”

I don’t know where this Christmas finds you. Maybe you are dealing with a broken heart, illness, separation from loved ones, depression, anxiety or other disappointments. I encourage you to take time to gaze at that precious baby boy in the manger and find comfort, joy and peace. He dwelt among us. He could have left us on our own. But, He did not. There is nothing that Jesus did not endure after He arrived lowly in that manger and He went on to save each one of us. You are not alone this Christmas, this year or the next. He is here!

Francesca Battistelli reminds us of the beauty of Jesus with her song, You’re Here. I pray these words wash over you and give you Christmas hope!

Hold on now, I gotta take a deep breath; I don’t know what to say when I look in your eyes.
You made the world before I was born; here I am holding you in my arms tonight.
Noel, noel, Jesus our Emmanuel.
You’re here, I’m holding you so near.
I’m staring into the face of my saviour, king and creator.
You could’ve left us on our own, but you’re here.
Don’t know how long I’m gonna have you for; but I’ll be watching when you change the world.
I look at your hand, they’re still so small; someday you’re going to stretch them out and save us all.
Noel, noel, God with us Emmanuel.
Someday I’m gonna look back on this; the night that God became a baby boy.
Someday you’re gonna go home again; but you leave your spirit and flood the world with joy.
Hallelujah! You’re here! Hallelujah! You’re here!

Be joyful! Jesus is here!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NIV

The Big Red Bow…

I’ve mentioned that my daughter is 16 years old. Her 16th birthday was just a couple of weeks ago and my husband and I surprised her on the morning of her birthday with a car. It was one of those rare “movie” moments. She walked out to find a cute, Volkswagen beetle parked in our driveway with a big red bow on top. Her exact words to me were, “are you kidding me”, as the reality of what she was seeing in front of her began to sink in. My husband showed her all the features of her new “ride” and we told her that if she passed her driving test that afternoon that she could drive her car to softball practice. She replied, wide-eyed, “BY MYSELF?” Oh, my husband and I just died laughing. What a great morning! What a great memory! I told my daughter to hold onto this fun memory and lock it in her heart. Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life.

It made me ponder my own big red bow moments. I am enormously lucky to have a mom who provided many of these moments, especially during my childhood. My man has locked a few big red bow moments into my heart as well. But, the sweetest big red bow moments have come from my Father in heaven. The best and most important one being the gift of His Son, my Savior, who sacrificed His life to redeem mine. In fact, when you really think about it, big red bow moments in life are a result of Jesus Christ. His goodness. His love. His grace. His moments to give to you.

Yes, it is important to stop and take notice when the big red bow appears in life. These moments are just around the corner, when you least expect them and often appear when you need them most. They can leave you stunned with joy. They can bring you to your knees in thanksgiving. And they can revive you on a dark day by just conjuring the memory back up. You see, that is just how our God works. He is Hope.

I encourage you to enter into each day looking for the big red bow.  I am convinced that He has one to offer, big or small, when we walk with Him and let Him guide our steps.

By the way, my daughter did drive, “all by herself”, later that day. Actually, she wasn’t all by herself. (None of us ever are.) Her heavenly Father was watching, grinning and enjoying that first ride with her!

“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Romans 8:31-32 NLT

Be joyful!

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And So It Begins….

“You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right—you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road he set. You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel. I thank you for speaking straight from your heart; I learn the pattern of your righteous ways. I’m going to do what you tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.” Psalm 119:2 (The Message)

Greetings!

I can just see my sixteen year old daughter rolling her eyes at this start. You see, she already told me that she thinks it is ridiculous when I begin a text with “greetings”. For that matter, she can’t believe that I insist on texting in complete sentences. If God has blessed you with a teenager, you know that opinions are shared, even if they are difficult to hear. Laughs are shared too, often at this dear old mom’s expense. And joy, well it comes too, when you learn to not take yourself too seriously and just enjoy the ride.

So, yes, greetings is what I have to offer as I begin this exciting new journey! I have been thinking a lot about transitions lately, because it seems that I am in the midst of a few right now: menopause, a brand new teenage driver, caring for aging family members, and the realization that my rear end seems to be growing at an exponentially alarming rate, just to name a few!

I broke down yesterday and purchased a pair of “cheaters”. I have actually needed these glasses for 8 years now. But I have simply refused to give into this part of the aging process. Giving in can be such a difficult process. Along with “giving in” to my new cheaters, came following a steady nudge from God to begin a blog. You see, I have felt this nudge for about the same time that I needed these glasses.

But, in this new year, God has been adjusting my sight. He has been closing doors and providing insights. He has been trimming away insecurities and breathing life into areas that I thought I had hidden from Him. He has been calling me to be bolder, more patient, extend more grace, practice forgiveness and not take myself too seriously.

So, I invite you to take this journey with me. I plan to share some of the things He is teaching me using this blog. The blog title provides my framework. I will talk about love. I will talk about faith. And I will definitely talk a lot about a very special angel dog that God placed in my life “for such a time as this”.

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