This Christmas has been a special one in our family. Our traditions have been celebrated as well as bringing some new traditions in that I know will continue in the years to come. This year our focus has been on Jesus in a way that hasn't been there in previous years. I'm not sure if it's because the children are older now and they have deeper level of understanding, or if it's the fact that we have really been intentional and purposeful on celebrating our Lord and Savior. Whatever it is, I am thankful.
This Christmas I have learned what really matters. What matters is that I am surrounded by a loving family. A family where grace and love live and where we are each accepted for who we are.
I continue to learn that God has a plan and purpose for not only me personally but our family. We are doing a lot of praying and seeking Him these days. I trust, believe and know deep within that He will make His will known.
It's all so simple and really there is so much that is going on my head right now that I don't even feel like I am even touching the surface with the my thoughts as I sit and type these words. With the coming of Christmas and the end of the year, it also seems to be a time of reflection for me. Looking back and seeing what God has done and yet looking forward to the days to come knowing that He knows exactly what is ahead and has since the beginning of time. This past year has definitely been marked with huge opportunities for my faith to be stretched, hearing Him say to me, "Do you really trust me?", loving discipline, learning how to be quiet and still, and a deep desire to know God and love Him more with each day that He gives me.
So, as I look forward to this upcoming year, I am excited and anxiously awaiting all of what He has in store. I think the biggest lesson I've learned this last year is that the unexpected and unplanned always happens. Obviously it's taken me quite some time to learn this simple fact of life. The planner, organizer, and sometimes too rigid and inflexible character qualities have often gotten the best of me. Once again, God has been ever so patient, loving, and full of more grace than I really can comprehend. He simply doesn't give up on me. He knows and believes in who I can become through Him. I am growing in my trust with Him on that as well as learning to be spontaneous and flexible. This has allowed me to really enjoy the everyday moments instead of being so focused on the details. Who God is never changes and that truth has been instilled in me deeper than ever before. I have clung to His promises even when I was going through times of feeling like He was so distant and over and over again He showed up and proved His faithfulness and love to me.
Worshipping and celebrating the Savior's birth shouldn't come to an end once December 25th comes and goes. I want all of my days to be ones that are bowing before Him, acknowledging Him as Lord of my life, surrendering to His ways, and loving Him and pursuing Him whatever the cost. Just to know and love Jesus with every ounce of my being. And when the days of discouragement and uncertainity come, I want to choose what I know to be true and Who I know to be true.
So, to all my friends, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you too, will be drawn to Jesus and that you will allow Him to make Himself known to you in the deepest places of your heart.
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
I've been asked to share the remaining activities that were inside our advent box for this year so here you go...
~ Make a gingerbread house
~ We talked about ways that our family could be the hands and feet of Jesus.
~ The children went Christmas shopping for one another.
~ We visited www.samaritanspurse.org and the children each choose a gift to give a child in need.
~ God has given each of us the free gift of salvation. We have done nothing to earn it, He has given it simply because He loves us. Each of you have found $10 inside the door today. With it, you now have the opportunity to bless someone else. Share God's love!
~ We spent time praying for people who were coming to our Christmas events at our church.
~ Put on your jammies, grab a blanket to stay warm and cozy because we are going for a ride to look at Christmas lights. Don't forget your mug of hot cocoa!
~ Jesus came to this earth as a tiny baby to save us from all our sins. He also came so that we would have a place to spend eternity... heaven. Write a letter to God thanking Him for all that He has done for you and what you are looking forward to in Heaven.
~ Think of a family that we can serve either with our time, offering encouragement, making a meal, or any other way of serving them.
~ And then a few more surprises that I can't share yet!