Purposeful Faith

Category - Christmas

Dwelling on the Heart of Christmas

Heart of Christmas

Christmas is freedom…

Christmas is all about a God who sees need – and approaches it.

A God who sees us as we are. Who sees us in slumped state. Who sees our tears. Who sees our pains. Who sees our agony. Who sees our missteps.  He sees our trials, troubles and temperaments. He sees our incapability to save our own selves.
Christmas is all about breakthrough.

Christmas is about a God who would go to any lengths for us.

It is about the God of all power, becoming a man of all power. He breaks the force field of our world to break the fortress of sin – around us – that keeps us from him.

Christmas is about humility.

It is about a God who is God. A God who is the great I AM. But, it is also about a God who says I AM great enough to humble myself. I AM willing to do whatever it takes to lead you to my heart. I AM with you.

Christmas is about promises.

It is about a baby who grows up to be a boy and then a man, who unveils the heart of God, who saves. He heals. He helps. He prays. He leads. He fulfills dreams. He sends us into love that casts out fear. He will not stop being faithful to us.

Christmas is about no fear.
It means that the promise born in a stable is a promise that is stable. It means that when Jesus was broken, so was condemnation. It means that when you think you can’t, the power of Jesus…yes, it can. It means that it doesn’t matter so much how you feel, but simply that Christ is faithful.

It means that you are free in Jesus and alive to the Holy Spirit. This is what Christmas is about. It means that what purpose and power  -God has sown in you, is released by him who set you free. It means go! It means get out! It means let loosed and lost in Christ Jesus for 2017!

Greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world. For even though the one in the world tries to tell you Jesus is long gone and Christmas is just another holiday, the life of Jesus is just what is needed for victorious living.

I know I don’t always live this way – victoriously. But, I am fighting to. This is why I wrote Fear Fighting. I wrote it as a prayer, as a dream and as a discovery. I wrote it to see if Jesus Christ could pull me close and teach me new courage. Guess what? He did. So powerfully, he did.

I’d love for you to join the Fear Fight with me. It will bless you beyond compare. Buy it for a small group (10+ books) and I’ll even join your group Facebook page to encourage, teach or to just bless you.

Order Fear Fighting today!

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More Reading:
Do you Need a New Perspective?

Actually Keep your New Year Resolutions

Living From A New Identity

 

How You Can Easily Miss Christmas

Parked in my car, I stared at my neighbor’s perfectly ornamented outdoor tree. I’d missed it; I missed the moment. It was there for the taking, but I drove right past it. I couldn’t see past my path – to God’s path.

Reflecting on the morning, I considered how it went. My son called out, “Mom…our neighbor liked it. She…” I screamed from the other side of the car, “Buckle up, we’ve got to get  to school, son.” At the sound of his click, I was off…

And, like I said, I missed it. The moment. He wanted to celebrate my sweet neighbor’s tree. But, the fact is, in my haste, I didn’t even notice the tree. I hurried past the display of reds and greens, of joy and peace, of excitement. But, most of all, I rushed past the little wind-chimes my son had made her a few months before.

She could have removed them off her grand display. But, she didn’t.

He wanted to let me know that she cared enough to keep them there. He wanted me to know that he was worthy to be part of her Christmas. He wanted to let me know that his heart to love and to show kindness was being celebrated where Jesus is. He was a special part of her Christmas; he loved and felt love.

He wanted to show me the meaning of Christmas.

But, I rushed on.

I saw destination and nailed it, with precision.
I saw my time sans kids, and grabbed it with strength.
I buckled up, grabbed my sunglasses, and peeled out of that driveway like a mother descending on a 3-hour vacation.

I wish I would have stopped. I am sure my son wishes I stopped too.

How often does God wish we stop?

That we stop to see His ornaments of goodness and kindness? That we stop to soak in His still small voice? That we stop to receive His oh-so-gentle prompting to call a neighbor in need, to hug a child or to observe a tree that points to the tree that made up the cross?

But, upwards and onwards we go! We make money. We get coffee. We buy presents. We speed through that yellow light. We answer that cell phone call. All the while, we miss God.

If we want to be led by the Spirit, we have to make room for Spirit. If we are so filled with the angst of progress, we will miss Him in the process.

This has happened to me. My heart is aching, because I’ve left no room. I’ve only left room to keep my heart in comfortable control. Yet, if God decides I should be 5-minutes late to something – can’t I sacrifice? Jesus gave far more than 5 minutes, he gave up his very body; He let it break and tear for me.

There is no shame. There is no condemnation, today, friends. Not for you or for me. There is just a ticket, extended to us, that invites us to go somewhere new. Every time, no matter what kind of pain in the side it feels like, it drives us to the point of joy and to the horizon of new peace.

God’s tickets to slow down and see Him always bring you to the peace that – is Him.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Ps. 16:11

Prayer:

Please God, don’t let me brush past your workings anymore. Please God, stop me in my tracks. Awaken my heart to what you are doing in the moment. Give me eyes to see brilliance and the brilliance within others as I welcome them into my heart in a present moment. Help me rest, with you. Help me go, with you. Help me be, with you. Amen

Order my book, Fear Fighting Today!

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

More Reading:
1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle

The Silent Faith-Killer (You Likely Allow)

When You Let God Down

Failproof your Resolutions

resolutions

With Christmas down, this is the time of year we move our hearts away from awe and wonder and drive them straight into strategy and planning.

I have got to lose 10 pounds.
I am going to “kill it” at work.
No more coffee.
I will set up that savings plan starting this year.
I will be a more loving mom.
I will start eating more healthy.
I will find a new job.
I will get that graduate degree.
​I will make more friends.

We become resolute to be resolute.
We plan to make a plan.
We drive into drive.
We see our win.
We know our strategy.
We. Will. Make. It. Happen.
Nothing. Will. Stop. Us.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”  Ps. 127:1

Is the Lord building your house or are you?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Prov. 16:9

I can’t help but think, this is where the resolution buzzkill sinks in. Even though we game planned, strategized and attacked our resolution, the small whisper still emerges, “Is this your solution or mine? Is this your will or mine? Am I going with you or are you going out there alone?”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7

God whispers, “Are you asking me or are you deciding yourself?”

With God, we endure.
With God, we press on.
With God, we find strength.
With God, he renews hope.
With God, we find fresh encouragement.
With God, we get a helping hand.
With God, he speaks truth and humility.
With God, he refocuses us in love.
With God, he redirects our paths, as he holds our hand, so that we don’t end up falling over the cliff of failure. Instead, he grabs us and leads us where he wants us to go – and we feel okay with it. It make sense, for he is the leader. It makes sense, because sometimes he is more concerned with our spiritual than our physical.

Are your plans to go – with God – or are they with an insatiable drive to succeed, win and to thrive?

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Prov. 16:3

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7 Verses for Relational Encouragement

Relational Encouragement

Christmas is here, but so is family tensions.
Christmas is here, but so are dysfunctional relationships.
Christmas is here, but so are old habits.
Christmas is here, but gone are people we love.
Christmas is here, but baggage of old still exists.
Christmas is here, but fears surface.

God says, “I see all that, and I can handle all that.”

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

What looks unscalable, God boosts you over.

What seems unbearable, God brings you through unbelievably.

What can’t be managed, God says let down your guard and I will guard you.

Will you throw your cares upon God’s shoulders? He is the only one that can hold the weight of them without breaking his back.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

sustain
transitive verb sus·tain \sə-ˈstān\

  • : to hold up the weight of (something)

As you cast it over, God gets under its crushing weight (just like he did at the cross).

The weight is no longer on you, so when you walk, talk, eat or digest other’s insults, you don’t fall. You are preserved, whole and entire.

Press in and God will press his being through you.

Cast your cares and he will care for you.

Be strong and trust – God is about ready to rescue you!

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10 Ways to Shine Christ On Christmas

Shine Christ on Christmas

Christmas.
People are laughing and hugging as they reunite.
Talking about the year past.
Unwrapping their anticipated gifts.
Listening to a story repeated for the one-millionth time.
Eating dried out turkey.
Drinking egg nog or sparkling apple cider.
Singing it’s a Holly Jolly Christmas…
while, inside, feeling anything but jolly.

Sure, they may be singing “Joy to the World,” but their true emotions are joyless.
They may give you the highlight reel of the year past, but they leave out the drama.
They may be busy with buying, cooking and wrapping, while having a world of marriage, finances or health crashing down.
They may be proclaiming “Happy Holidays,” only to be deeply grieving those they love.

“The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.” Mt. 1:23

God with us in the thick of pain.
God with us in the thin of finances.
God with us when we feel happy – or sad.
God with us despite how much others are.

Will our hurting family members get a chance to know “God with us”?  How he draws near to the down, dejected and devastated?

Or will they believe that facades of merry and bright are the only outfits allowed?

For others to know “God with us,” they have to see “God in us.”  

They have to see how “God in us” has worked life – through us.

This means taking a risk. It means we have to move our usual conversations past ugly Christmas sweater styles, present ratings and the words “Pass the gravy.”

Are you willing to step outside of comfortable to bow down, worship and treasure the small baby – in both word and in action – this Christmas?

Will you make known the cries that moved from a manger to a cross to change everything? 

On coming to the house, they (the 3 wise men) saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.  Mt. 2:11

Lighting up Christmas, is not about lighting up a tree. It is about lighting up our loved ones with the treasure we have in Jesus Christ. It is about lighting what truly matters.

I (Jesus) in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Jo. 17:23

When we light Jesus, we light love. What shines is the one thing that matters most, the one thing that people need and the one thing ready to light the world.

So how do we shine Christ on Christmas?

1.  We make his purpose higher than our cause of opening gifts.
2. We are more concerned with sharing Jesus than sharing mashed potatoes.
3. We go to vulnerable places, so hurt ones know it is okay to go there too.
4. We seek to touch a person’s real need, not just their need to be entertained.
5. We seek the quiet of the Lord, so that we can enter into the mayhem of family – with peace.
6. We sit and listen, verses boast, toast and gloat over things in our own lives.
7. We look to serve and honor others above ourself.
8. We pray to discern who the Lord might direct us to.
9. We discuss the Christmas story.
10. We speak about the Savior who saves.

BONUS: We take a risk, even when the risk makes us think others won’t like us.

And those around us will get a chance to know the God who goes with us – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6).

Shine Christ on Christmas

And, the small beginnings of Jesus’ new beginnings will shine. They will shine all-consuming love that touches our houses and hearts with true and long-lasting “merry and bright”.

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Why It’s Okay to Be Struggling

God is with you in your messy state by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

My friend walked through the grocery store with her eyes down and shoulders slumped. She was having a hard day and it showed.

A woman from church saw her and asked, in a seemingly patronizing way, “Are you struggling?”

My friend felt like the woman’s question, laced with pity, was suggesting that it was not Christlike to be struggling.

Listen, we all have hard days and hard seasons.

It would be a lie to answer with an, “I’m fine” during those times.

But sometimes we mask our pain because we fear:

1. The other person won’t care.
2. They won’t know what to do with our hurt.
3. They don’t seem like a safe place to share.
4. We don’t want to burden them or overshadow their happiness.

But life is plain hard sometimes and we need one another to stand up when the waves of circumstance threaten to capsize us.

Just the other day several friends and I were swapping some good news. One of our friends bravely admitted that she was struggling with bouts of sickness with her kids, but she didn’t want to rain on everyone’s parade. She definitely shared in our happiness yet, instead of saying, “I’m fine too”, she was honest with how she felt.

I was grateful for her authenticity, it actually strengthened our friendship—knowing that she wouldn’t lie or put up a front that everything was okay when it wasn’t.

Just because you are struggling to find joy does not make you a weak Christian.

Look at all the biblical greats who struggled with various things like unbelief, temptation, jealousy, fear, anger, etc.

Sure, Christ wants us to have victory and count it all joy, (see James 1:2-4) but that doesn’t mean we have to put on a Pollyanna plastic smile and pretend that everything is okay, when it’s not.

The holiday season can fill us with moments of wonder and worship yet also remind us of loss and pain.

It’s as if our senses are more acutely aware of both our blessings and brokenness this time of year.

Think of the conflicting emotions felt during that first Christmas season long ago.

I am sure that Mary experienced the loss of her reputation when the naysayers discovered that she was pregnant. Then, months later—great with child—she rode on a donkey, not in comfort but on a bumpy journey away from home.

Yet, in her struggle with pain, she was carrying the Good News, the long awaited One, who would bring lasting hope to a hurting world.

Even in the dark there is light. There is hope in the struggle, but that doesn’t minimize our pain.

I doubt that God shouted to his bond-servant, “C’mon Mary, suck it up sister. You’re swollen with the Savior yet there’s no time to complain about your pain.”

God was with her as she labored and He loved her no less in her messy state.

The Good News should cause us to rise up and celebrate but that does not mean we have to be super-human or deceitful and pretend that nothing discourages us.

The super-human Savior, both God and man, came to us in our struggling state and loved us so much that He took on more pain that we will ever experience.

Whether you are struggling or soaring this season, know that you have an empathetic Emmanuel who is with you and for you.

He doesn’t scold you in the shopping aisle, He nods with understanding as you unwrap your feelings and let Him in—even to those untidy corners of your heart.

Thank You Jesus that You love us so well. Even when we are falling apart You hold us together with Your strong arm. You are the Hope of the Ages. Help us to rest in Your embrace and to live bravely, whether we are happy or sad. Thank You that You are patient with us—not condescending. Oh how we need you, this day and for all time. Lift up our heads and may we magnify You—the One laid in manger, killed on cross and resurrected in victory. You are the best gift of all. Amen.

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Katie M. Reid Headshot by Adopting Natinos

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.

Surviving Holiday Drama

Holiday Drama

We are all gathered around the table. I can’t keep my eyes off the pumpkin pie, the mashed potatoes, and the creamed corn. I want to devour it all. My mouth is watering.

But, as I smile, as I look, as I sit, deafening sounds quickly pull me out of my delightful daydream, and throw me back into reality. A storm is brewing. Someone is annoyed – again. Agitated -yet again. Frustrated – just like last year.

Who knows what irritated them! It could be one of many things – drinks weren’t served fast enough, a rude piercing reply was launched or a digging question was fired over the table. The “why” is not of as much concern as “how” this sinks my holiday south.

Joy stolen.
Agitation mounting.
Disappointment abounding.

Why can’t we give thanks in peace?

Why can’t we all get along?

Why does it feel that we have to endure holiday rather than enjoy it?

This is should be a time of thankfulness – of gladness – not a time of madness.

Thanksgiving and Christmas are days we expect to be perfect gems of sparkle, joy and peace. Somehow, we think, because we control the preparations, the decorations and conversations, everyone should meet our expectations. But, when they don’t, we tend to get bloated with disappointment.

Yet, God calls us to enjoy this day, rather than endure it. He calls us to leave perfect in the kitchen to embrace imperfect at the table, so we don’t end up hiding in the bathroom with tears.

5 Tips to Survive Holiday Chaos:

1. Seek to embrace verses erase the person in need.

Jesus ran to the people in need. His heart was inclined to those in pain. He didn’t demand, but gave his best.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Sit under the shade of the cross. Then you will find compassion for the meaningless jabs, frustrating arguments and aggravating words. Heck, you might even see you are just as sinful as they.

2. Be truly thankful – for both the yummy and the yucky of life.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Phil. 4:12)

True thankfulness takes abundance and scarcity, trials and triumphs, jerks and joy – and gives thanks no matter. Why? Because all are from the Lord. All have a purpose. All are meant to refine.

3. A storm may brew, but without a doubt, God will bring you through.

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Is. 41:13)

It’s ok to feel weak, but unnecessary to feel ruined because God stands ready to help. Call out to God. He waits to run to your rescue.

4. Know you stand secure, no matter what others do.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers. neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro. 8:38-39).

People can do what they are going to do. But, none of this impacts our standing with Christ. We are in Him. We are secure. We are loved. We are a new creation. If we stand in Christ, we can’t stand outside of him.

5. Find a heart of thanks for the burnt food.

True gratefulness is not just being thankful for all the delicious pickings, but also for the burnt food. If we have food – or family to complain about – we are already blessed. We are blessed with the perfect, but also with the imperfect. Why? Because through the imperfect, we see our need for a Savior. Through our failings, our trials and our frustrations, we find hope in One who is greater than these things.

God makes imperfect burnt food taste delicious when we see it for what it is – an undeserved gift.

That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:10)

Bonus Tip (consider it your second helping): Realize it is impossible to control others.

We can’t control things. We can only control ourself. And, no one can take our spirit of thanks away, without us allowing them to do it. No one can steal our heart – unless we allow them to.

When we stop looking for everyone to be perfect, we can start enjoying them for who they truly are.

When our standards aren’t higher than the twinkle-lighted roof, we can see people’s hearts, history and pains.

And, we sometimes, can even empathize and minister to them.

So, this holiday season, let’s celebrate and see all that we have – burnt food and pickings. People will always disappoint – and we will disappoint people. No one is perfect – except One. But, the ultimate truth is that God’s grace never ends. It nourishes us when the spread leaves us hungry for more love.

Let’s lay this truth on the table so we can pass, dish and eat up all the goodness of grace – in our own hearts and towards the hearts of others.

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Immanuel “God is with us”

Post by Christy Mobley

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, God with us.” Matthew 1:23

It was the week before Christmas and I was feeling the stress, instead of Christmas, I felt more like Chris-mess.

Yes, I was knee-deep in wrapping paper strewn clear across the floor, with boxes and ribbons and bows and more.

It looked like the world’s kind of Christmas to me and less like the one I thought Christmas should be.

You might say I was bah-hum-bug at this time of year, all I really wanted was to feel God was near…

It was early Saturday morning and I was already stressed. It didn’t help that I neglected my time alone with God. Somehow on this day, my to-do-list which was already a mile long, got a VIP slot on  my morning schedule. I had people to shop for, a party to plan, and for sanity’s sake, I needed to clean up the ginormous mess on the floor where I had been wrapping gifts the night before.  And, I knew if I got organized I might even find those pesky scissors I was sure were hiding somewhere beneath that pile of gift wrap and tangled ribbon!

The whistle on my phone, alerting me to a text, momentarily distracted me from the tasks at hand.

The text was from a new friend. I say new, because Sheri had started visiting  our life group at church a few months ago. As a group we had been praying for her mother who had been in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments. Other than church, we didn’t communicate.

But recently that all changed. She started sending  me texts to keep me up-to-date on her mom’s progress, and in the back and forth we forged a friendship.

On this particular morning she texted me to let me know her mom had taken a turn for the worse. I had never felt prompted to visit Sheri before,  but when I read the text that Saturday, I heard God whisper into my heart, “Go. Go be with her now”.

Though, I instinctively knew this whisper was from God, I have to admit I texted Sheri back, asking which hospital her mom was in, half hoping it would be on the other side of the universe so I’d have an excuse to get back to my mile long to-do-list which didn’t include a hospital visit.

However, as God would have it, Sheri was close by. Little did I know, God would have my new friend change my Christmas from stressed to a Christmas blessed.

I rallied my husband and off we went.  We arrived at the hospital room just as another couple were leaving. I was relieved to see Sheri was not alone. We visited for a while, and before we left, David and I prayed for her and her sweet mama. Sheri seemed at peace, and I was glad I had put my to-do-list aside for a while.

Later that afternoon, I heard from Sheri again, this time her text gave me goose bumps.

It read:

“Thank you for coming to the hospital….cool story. Early in the morning, about 1:30, the nurse tried to reposition my mom.  It was heartbreaking to see her in so much pain.  I left and went to the hospital chapel to pray.

I got on my knees and prayed for my mom, and I prayed for God to please not leave me alone. I feared the dark abyss I fell into after my divorce.  I slept for about two hours from 2:00-4:00 and was awakened by an audible voice saying, ‘I am here’.

I looked around, but no one was there. I wasn’t dreaming, I knew what I heard.

About 7:00 a.m. a friend responded to a Facebook post and asked if she could come to the hospital. Then one of my old neighbors came by, then you and David. Later, my friend Harrison from NY called, and then Diane.

My heart was full. It was God, He heard my prayer and didn’t leave me to be alone.

God was near. God was here.

For the 400 years prior to the birth of Christ, God was silent. His people didn’t hear from Him. They felt alone.  Galatians 4:4 says, ” … when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son…”  and Matthew 2:3 says that his son “….will be called Immanuel, God with us.”  God sent His son, at just the right time, to be with us so that we would never have to be alone again.

God heard Sheri and was there for her.

He heard my longing and was there for me.

In allowing me to take part in this Saturday morning miracle, He brought the real reason back into this Christmas season and changed my Christmas mess to a  Christmas blessed.

At just the right time He blessed us with the gift of His presence.

Immanuel, God is with us.

Christmas is not about tinsel and bows, it’s about God sending Jesus to earth’s humble abode.

He came so we’d never again be alone. He came so we could one day call  heaven our home.

 Merry Christmas friends!

Purposeful Faith Contributor

Christy is a wife, mother, writer, mentor, and Life Purpose Coach. She is passionate about encouraging women to move forward, and press on through their struggles, seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road. If you would like to connect with Christy you can find her at www.christymobley.com

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Exalt Christ Amidst Christmas Busy

Use Christmas Busyness to Exalt Christ

Note: Bloggers – today is Part I of the Cheerleading Link up (We tweet encouragement using #RaRaLinkup).  Tomorrow is the actual linkup day.

Christmas is that time of year when I mark off the calendar as “busy”.  It’s that time of year where I continuously pull out my checkbook to “gift” and to “card”.  Christmas is that time of year, where parties can just leave me tired. Where people can leave me drained. Where giving can feel not so gracious.

Why?  Because I feel worn.  I feel tired.  It’s year-end and I have given and given and given myself.

It sometimes gets me feeling guilty too – like I am missing the point.  And, it makes me wonder – where’s Jesus amidst Christmas busy?  Where’s Jesus in this hustle and bustle?  Does he look down on this kind of behavior?

See the True Gift

Yet, while pondering these questions, the Lord placed the most wonderful gift in my lap – a gift of truth. And, as I held this adorned box, staring at it’s meaning, I started to understand the beauty of Christmas busy. It’s not all about the wrapping paper, about the bows, about the act of wrapping, but it is about the heart – a receptive heart.

And, as I open God’s gift to me. The heart of the matter comes to light; I see the love of Christ. Authentic. Deep. Heartfelt love.

I admire the gift of Jesus – a gift I am called to share with others.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

I realize, if I can’t find joy in the gift giving, I have entirely missed the gift-giver and the heart of the gift.

Because we have joy when our joy is derived from Christ.  Suddenly, through the amazing gift of Christ, all we can do is give, sacrifice and love. Suddenly, all the Christmas busy isn’t seen as acts of drudgery, but as acts of service, of adoration, of worship.

What True Giving Is

Christ endlessly gave – not out of obligation, but out of love.  There is no greater gift than to give.  We are blessed when we give. We find meaning to life when we give from a cheerful heart.

Let’s let our busyness come from pure motivations not busy obligation.  Because in many ways, busyness is the essence of Christmas. Busyness that relies on Christ. Busyness that feels overwhelmed but trusts God. Busyness that is fueled by the Spirit. Busyness that shines Christ. Busyness that extends grace. This is where the joy of Christmas is found.

Just as Christ served, preached and loved endlessly, we can give, host, serve and love endlessly too – through his power and strength at work within us.

Helpless we come in this world, and through the amazing gift of Christ – he helps us.  He empowers us, he equips us and he calls us to his work.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– (Eph. 2:8)

Truly, the greatest gift we ever received is the one that lies in a humble manger. The one who calls us to purify our hearts. The one who can never stop handing out grace. The one who reached others tirelessly with truth.

Behold Christ

Behold the gift of Christ, his grace and his enduring love. Let go of striving and grab hold of the ultimate gift – who lays in a manger in a town called Bethlehem.

He lays ready to be embraced and adored.

In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby who was never afraid to sacrifice.
In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby who extends grace beyond compare.
In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby whose power is perfected in weakness.

In that little town of Bethlehem, lays the heart of Christmas giving.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

As believers, we have a perfect gift.  This perfect gift frees us through the covering of grace. And, through this gift, we can joyfully give it all and exalt Christ.

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Christmas Traditions that Focus on Christ

Christmas Traditions that Focus on Christ
Honestly, I haven’t been one for too much Christmas tradition. It’s not that I don’t care about Christmas, because clearly it is one of the most important holidays, but I tend to get super busy at this time.  

It can be hard to add one more thing to do, when I can hardly keep up with what I already have to do. Do you get me?
 
I am so busy being busy that I can’t slow down to make things matter for my family.

So, when I was so thoughtfully invited by Jodie to participate in this series, I said yes, but thought, “Oh boy, what do I do?”
 
Sometimes, the Lord drops things on our lap, to make us realize that we can’t get up unless we address the issue.  I think this is exactly what he did here.

 

…Keep reading about my Christmas traditions that focus on Christ (and see some pics) at Faithfully-Following

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