Browsing Tag

Christmas

This Christmas

 

May we be a kind person who makes a difference.

May we be patient with those in the hard times.

May we be quiet and thankful for all that we have.

May we be compelled to boundless gratitude.

May we be aware that God’s promise of strength has no expiration date.

May we comprehend that God extends grace greater than our hardships.

May we create space for acceptance, growth, and grace.

May the blessings we receive today be the blessings we need the most.

May our actions be of the love and acceptance we claim to stand for.

May we make every effort to do what leads to peace and encouragement.

May we let joy become a filter by which we view life.

May we choose to see the happy stuff.

May the key ingredient of our life be faith.

May we always always always speak our love.

My Christmas Story

For with God nothing shall be impossible.*

My house is quiet today. Quieter than I’d like. Quieter than I’d hoped for.

But that’s my Christmas story this year. An echo of my Advent story for the past few years.

But just as the angel of the Lord told Mary, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” so I have held onto this as a promise for me.

What was impossible, now is possible.

And sometimes I just have to wait. And let there be quiet.

Because that’s what the Advent season is, that time of expectant waiting, that preparing for the celebration of Jesus, that word which means “coming.”

Advent is a pause … a holy waiting … for what is coming. It’s also a time of great expectancy, filled with incredible hope. And in the quiet, the stillness, I see Him coming – just like He promised.

So in these winter days, these Advent days that are short and dark and darker….

That for me are also quiet, quieter.

The impossible is possible. Jesus comes. Love is born.

What was dark, now is Light.

What was quiet, now is a chorus, Hosanna on High.

I can’t escape the fact that I’m going to have times of unexpected unwanted quiet, even as I’m ready to celebrate the birth of my Lord. It’s too quiet!

But I remember those words: with God nothing shall be impossible.

It’s been said – in movies, in commercials, on cards – that Christmas is the best time of year to be united. That Christmas is about family, the gathering of loved ones. But what if that doesn’t happen?

What if things in life have gone more sideways from anything I could have imagined?

What if those I want to be in my house aren’t there; what if those I want to come, don’t enter?

What if there is too much quiet?

Here’s my plan.

I’m staying open to Advent, to the anticipation, to the belief that what is impossible will be possible, that what is quiet will be filled, that what is broken will be repaired, and that what is lost can always be found.

God fulfilled so many promises when Jesus came as a baby in Bethlehem. I’m daring to hope and trust that He will fulfill His promises to me as well.

No matter who visits my house, there will always be Jesus.

There is more room for Jesus than anything, anyone.

Perhaps I’m exactly where I need to be, even in the quiet, to experience the miracle of Advent after all.

And to always know that with God nothing is impossible.

As I enter this last day of Advent, may my heart be focused on the real story, the only story that really matters.  May His Light brighten my darkness, may the angels singing shatter my quiet, like it did on that first Christmas, so that I can see my place in this season.

And I have incredible hope. Because nothing is more powerful than God’s love.

*Luke 1:37

So Much Waiting

Christmas #41So much waiting. So much about Christmas, and about life, is waiting.

Many of us wait for Christmas all year. With expectancy. With hope.

But many of us also wait for Christmas to be over.

When the year has been full of hard places and the heart has been shredded like tissue, there is waiting. For brightness. For healing. For forgiveness. For love.

I have to say that so much of my life has been waiting.

And now as I wait some more, I reflect on how much of life everyone spends doing exactly that — waiting. Waiting for all kinds of things, from the commonplace to the glorious. We wait in traffic, we wait in grocery lines, we wait for coffee to brew, we wait for the doctor to call, we wait for paychecks, we wait for storms to pass, we wait for a baby to be born or an elderly, ailing loved one to die. We wait. We live in the middle of all kinds of waiting — small kinds of waiting and terribly large long ones.

We’ve all battled the seasons of waiting.

And the waiting can be tedious.

Waiting can hurt. It can be confusing.

When we’re waiting for communication, a positive word, a good diagnosis, an end to battles, a love that understands… waiting can feel empty and desperately lonely.

We think waiting can be a waste of time. We want to be doing.

For most of us, in our fast-pace, want-it-now, get-it-now world, we don’t like waiting.

And yet, in the moments when we get so exhausted and desperate in the waiting, God is right there to help us.

God wants us to benefit from our times of waiting with more desirable responses. Instead of becoming impatient, nervous, frustrated, or miserable, we can choose a better focus in our waiting:

With patience.

With quietness.

With trust.

With expectation.

With courage.

With hope.

In so many difficult seasons of waiting, I have learned this truth: God isn’t after my happiness but my highest good.

And waiting is part of that process.

So I keep leaning unto His understanding and not mine, to be stronger than I thought during this more and more waiting.

And for you, too, wherever this holy season finds you, even if you are in a season of waiting, I’m thinking of you. May you also be strong. May you have a sense of wonder, a heart of courage, and an abundance of grace to give and receive.

May you understand that Love came wrapped in swaddling clothes. That Hope came nestled in a manger.

May we all be victorious in our waiting.

FROM Jama

photo by:

Happy Day Moment Echoes: 12.13

Appropriately, the most common word in my Happy Day Moment Facebook Page posts for December is GRACE.

And, it appears “grace” was on the hearts of many following my page as these posts were viewed the most:

  • Keep extending grace and forgiveness to others. Sometimes things aren’t as they seem.

  • It does come down to grace and God’s love. We can choose to pour grace all over. All over people. All over every situation.

  • Recognizing our need for grace enlarges our capacity to give it.

  • Have patience, show grace, and do not judge others for their glaring flaws and weaknesses.

I needed grace for this Christmas more than any gift that could be wrapped in paper and tied with a bow. The month for me was beautiful and holy and hard and lonely.

But it was His grace that touched my heart day by day as I kept the birth of Jesus as the reason for the season.  I wasn’t touched by what I received or didn’t receive; not by who I saw or didn’t see, not by lights or decorations or ornaments or food. No, this was the holiday for His grace. Always His grace that touched me.

Acceptance. And grace.

Grace that a newborn child came.

Where was your Christmas this year? Where is your heart this Christmas? Were you hurting, alone, grieving?

Know this… there is grace. He is grace.

And these are the other Happy Day Moment Echoes for December 2013;

If you’re gentle and honest with those you love, you can work through any trial together, with love and compassion.

Don’t let disappointments and difficult times fragment your joy. Look ahead, not back.

The right perspective will keep me going or cripple my progress.

Make a decision to live in your vision, not in your circumstances.

We are all under the canopy of God’s love.

Stay focused on the right things and just do the best you can.

Give freely the gifts of love and compassion. Don’t be concerned with what you’ll receive in return, just give.

May God’s love find you today, and may you share it with someone through some large or small act of kindness.

A thankful spirit can bring healing and turn all that it touches into happiness.

Let your love be directional: up to God, out to others, in to self.

Life is too short for hauling around weighty bags.

Catalog the kindnesses of each day. Look at what you have. You have much to be grateful for.

Remember, when some things are really really hard to live through, God is near to the brokenhearted.

The mystery is that our small offerings of gratitude will soften our hearts and change our perspectives in ways that can’t happen with closed hands.

The most powerful way to foster happiness is by helping others. Especially during the stressful holidays.

Assembly instructions for a good life. Step one: Love God. Step two: Love others.

Cultivate kindness and give others grace.

 

photo by: caryatidxx

In the City of David

In the City of David

A canopy of shimmers
(with one King strong)
Globed that night
When the angel spoke tidings
And the song of the flute
Came to the field,
When the knighthood of heaven
Praised with the Godsong of wonder
For the ushered child
Of the manger,
The Christ Child,
Whose man hand would thrust
The heart of humanity
Against the Source of love,
Whose death would fuse
The gap of sin,
Whose resurrection would shake
The world with victory.
 
— Jama Kehoe Bigger