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Simply Christmas

My community had been shut down for days.  Freezing rain, sleet, and then eight inches of snow layered one on top of the other had resulted in school closings, events cancelled, and a forced time out for most of us. Many were on social media bemoaning missed events and complaining about impassable roads, and there was a virtual epidemic of cabin fever. But as for me, I secretly (err…not so secretly now) enjoyed every minute.  There’s a direct correlation between a full calendar and a lack of peace.  Don’t get me wrong – I love all the activities and hustles …

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Anticipating Joy

“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2: 9-10   The Magi were undeterred by King Herod. Their single-minded focus was on the star. They were determined and devoted in their resolve to follow. For me, the Old Testament equivalent that comes to mind is the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that guided the Israelites on their journey …

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A Thrill of Hope

Doesn’t that phrase just sustain you even now as you are reading it. A thrill of hope. The heart-racing, butterfly producing, anticipation of something exciting, something of incredible and possibly life changing impact. A thrill. This Christmas song is one of my favorites. I think of it at least once each day of December as I do my best to keep my focus on the point of Christmas. I love Christmas, so. much. My heart for Christmas is the reason I volunteered to man the blog this month. I have loved reading the words of each MJOF ministry team member …

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The Coming Messiah

    Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus the promised Messiah.  We often get so busy “doing” Christmas that we forget its real purpose and the very reason for the season.  It is not about Christmas trees or buying presents or receiving them.  For Christians, Christmas should be focused on the birth of Jesus.  It should be a joyful expression of what we believe. So what is it that we believe?  Do Christians think more about the commercial aspects of the Christmas season or do we know what, why and in whom we belief?  We don’t really …

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Just As He Promised

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1: 38 (ESV) This verse is Mary’s amazing response to what God has called her to do, carry and give birth to Jesus; however, it isn’t the first time in Scripture the Lord advises someone about the promise of an impending pregnancy. My first thoughts go to Sarah, Abraham’s wife.  Oh how she longed for years and years to bear a child and it never happened, and then it was too late.  In Genesis 18: 12, we see Sarah’s response …

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I Am the Lord’s Servant

“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered.” Luke 1: 38a Oh Mary…the chosen one.  Her story is remarkable and one I’m fascinated with this Christmas season.  I can’t quit thinking of Luke 1: 38, her response to Gabriel, the angel who informed her that she would carry Jesus, the One and Only.  It’s a response of faith, loyalty, humility and obedience.  Wow.   I’ve put myself in her shoes and wondered what my own reaction would have been. I’ve read that Mary, engaged to Joseph, was possibly around the age of 13 or 14 when she gave birth to Jesus (in that culture, after the …

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Have We Stopped Searching?

I love Christmas, but not all things Christmas. Now before you go thinking I’m going to talk about materialism and busyness and Santa, I’m probably going to throw you for a loop when I tell you I don’t particularly enjoy Christmas lessons, devotionals, or sermons. I can’t determine if it’s an inward groan or a silent yawn, but it’s almost a reflex every year. My problem is that having spent over 30 Christmases in church, I guess I’ve just grown calloused to a point. Until a few years ago. I was reading in Matthew 2 as part of an online …

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Worn Out Getting Ready for the Day? Rest in Him!

Wow, just a few more days till Christmas!  If you’re like me, there are still quite a few things to do to get ready for the day.  I keep thinking I need to add an arrangement to a table, an ornament to the tree, a package underneath or another string of lights outside.  Most of us, if truth be told, have lots more Christmas ideas than days left to accomplish them!  I find that right about now, I begin to lose ground between my ideas and plans and daylight hours. I also find that I am getting tired.  It’s a …

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Let All the Boxes Be Emptied!

I got a text from our oldest daughter last night. She had three more boxes of Christmas decorations to put out around her house. She said “if it doesn’t get put out tonight, it’s not getting put out at all”. It was her way of saying she was done. It always seems to take longer and longer to get everything out and set up. She also laughed that she was getting forgetful because she had found several things that she had not remembered having. I can relate. I open up the Christmas storage boxes and am so excited when I …

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Decorate Your Heart With God’s Light

Inside my house are the warm colors of Christmas. I love reds and golds and shiny lights. I enjoy the many angels I’ve collected along the way as well as the nativity scenes both large and small. I like the Scripture verses framed and carved into wood. We also have a wall of crosses that stay there all year long and in the middle of that wall is our family name, surrounded by the crosses. I would say our house is warm and cozy inside. Outside though it’s dark and gloomy and drippy. It’s not that welcoming. The outdoor Christmas …

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Don’t Let Christmas Become a Cartoon

  We watched an old Christmas cartoon with our grandkids the other night. It was a classic with Mickey, Pluto and the two chipmunks. The chipmunks were wreaking havoc with the Christmas tree and Pluto was doing his best to guard it. In the end Pluto was frustrated and just went after those two little trouble makers and the tree was completely wrecked! And Pluto was blamed for it all. Somebody wants to wreak havoc on your Christmas. There are situations going on that you feel you have no control over. Trouble is brewing and you’re trying to decide if …

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Don’t You Just Love Your Gift?

We hosted the Christmas party for a local motorcycle ministry one year. As part of the festivities everyone brought gifts to exchange. We played “dirty santa”. As each person opened a gift the next gift recipient could either pick a new gift or steal one from someone who’d already opened it. It got pretty funny as there was a lot of gift wrangling going on! The night ended with lots of laughter and fellowship. Everyone went away a winner, but not everyone kept their own gift. It was light-hearted fun though as no one got upset when their gift was stolen. …