Saturday, December 24, 2011

Remembering Christmas and All the Traditions

As I sit here drinking my coffee and enjoying some cookies that my parents and in-laws made us (yes, we're spoiled), I had to stop and think of all the Christmas traditions we've done over the years. That's when I decided to whip out the computer and start typing.

This Christmas has been rather confusing for me and Ash. Last year was our first Christmas together so of course I had to make sure we did every typical holiday tradition to make it memorable :). And previous years I was with my parents celebrating so it was always me and my brother's responsibility so spread the Christmas cheer in our family and set up the decorations, which was fun. We would always have a fit if the parents wanted to put up the artificial tree by saying it made Christmas fake. In which then we would trudge through snow to pick out the perfect "Griswald" family Christmas tree (hehe). But this year is different.

We've been focusing alot of the traditions of the church with our Antioch group and perhaps still having that mindset it is making Christmas difficult for us. Going from being the cheerful, always have to keep to tradition person, its quite a 180 change. There were three reasons we didnt get a tree this year, 1) We didn't have the room, 2) It was alot of time and effort (we're not lazy, just tired :P), 3) For some reason I forgot the reason for why we "need" a tree. That's what started the confusion. Now don't get me wrong, I'm still very cheerful and positive :) I don't refer to myself as a Scrooge....yet.

It's funny sometimes listening to customers conversations at the mall. I'll hear a nice positive message from them one second, then the next thing they are complaining about Christmas. After reading so many posts on Facebook about remembering the "reason for the season" I cant help but think, what is the reason? To spend a whole week at the mall spending your paychecks before you even get them? Spending hours in a day decorating the house? Idoling a Christmas tree and comparing whose is better? Dressing up as Santa to please the kiddos? Unending gifts? Complaining about your family gatherings? Admiring the baby Jesus who apparently never grew up and died on a cross? It's confusing. This is not a tradition I want to keep nor pass down through my family.

Thinking about these things has discouraged me but also encouraged me. Where is my focus? There's alot of things I could say I want but nothing I need. (I did ask for a couples wants and didnt neglect our family presents ;-) I would have felt bad since it's expected). But what does presents have to do with Christmas after all? Who started this tradition? This year I'm spending Christmas with close family remembering that God has had a plan since before creation and remembering how He loves us :)

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I Need You

If you have been keeping up with my posts then you already know of the rut that me and my husband are in. Well one night after the work day was done and we both sat down on the couch, Ash showed me this song he heard on Pandora while he was working. I fell in love. This song hit so hard.

I'm in an emotional struggle. I've never been one to open up or express myself. Ask my husband, he practically has to pry it out of me. Perhaps that is why I am opening up on here. Its easier just writing than expressing in person.

Lately my heart has been burdened. There is so much going on in this world. It is so easy to become overwhelmed. So easy to make "ME" the focus, so easy to lose track of time, so easy to exhaust yourself, so easy to forget what is important. I want so much. Not in possessions, but spiritually. I want to help everyone. I want do everything. I want to grow. I want less of me. I want the time to do all things. This is how I exhaust myself. When I become exhausted its like I am surrounded in chaos. When I feel like I am surrounded it is easy to lose sight of God.

When Ash shared this song, I knew it was a God thing. It was exactly what I needed to hear. So please listen...  (Not to mention it is also one of my favorite Christian artists).

Times by Tenth Avenue North

I love this....

 I hear you say "my love is over,
Its underneath, its inside, its in between

The times you doubt me, when you can't feel
The times that you've questioned 'is this for real?'
The times you've broken, the times that you mend
The times you hate me and the times that you bend

Well my love is over, its underneath
its inside, its in between,

These times you're healing and when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you've fallen from grace
The times you're hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and attempted to steal

In times of confusion and chaos and pain
I'm there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame
I'm there through your heartache
I'm there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone

I don't care where you've fallen, where you have been
I'll never forsake you, my love never ends,
It never ends

Like I said... it hit hard. It was like God's way of reminding me, "keep your eyes on Me, and through Me you can do all things".

I know I need you. I need to love you. I love to see you, but it's been so long. I long to feel you, I feel this need for you. And I need to hear you, is that so wrong?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Baby Shower 2

It has taken me this long but finally they are here.... Pictures from Marcy's second baby shower with us :) We had a nice Saturday afternoon shower at the church with some family and church friends. It was a fun day! Here are some photos to enjoy :)

PS. most of them came straight from the camera unedited :P

This is my favorite picture :) (haha)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

12 Reasons for Christmas

Pastor John:
  1. “For this I was born and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
  2. “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8; cf. Hebrews 2:14–15).
  3. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
  4. “The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).
  5. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
  6. “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5).
  7. “For God so loved the world that whoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16).
  8. “God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9).
  9. “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
  10. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against . . . that the thoughts of many may be revealed” (Luke 2:34ff).
  11. “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18).
  12. “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarches, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” (Romans 15:7–8; cf. John 12:27ff).
Adapted from the article, "12 Reasons for Christmas" (1991).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Awesomeness of Paul

 22 “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."
Acts 20:22-24
 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”
 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”
Acts 21:10-14

This is among the passages we read in our youth small group tonight. It gave me goosebumps reading this. Paul being in a strong relationship with God, that he was so compelled by the Holy Spirit to do the Lord's will even to the point of death. His only goal was to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus had given him. Which was? Testifying the good news of God's grace!

I love reading Acts, I love Paul's letters, I love the example he leaves for us. We've been studying this in our Antioch class and it has revealed so much to me! The way the Holy Spirit uses him to advance the gospel and the confidence he has in the Lord says so much. Compare him to the Saul he was to the transformation after being saved....completely different! It is amazing what God can do.

Now dont get me wrong, Paul isnt God, he's just a man (not to sound like I'm worshiping him). What struck me into blogging about this, is that we talked about this in our youth small group tonight and I always find encouragement in hearing their words, witnessing the Holy Spirit work in their lives. I know the struggles they face in their daily lives, as teenagers and as followers of Christ but they understood this passage and saw the boldness of Paul and immediately applied it to their lives. I can see they are striving for God and to reach out to others. As Christians, we're given the command to go into all the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of Lord. We're supposed to be sharing the good news to everyone! Whatever hardships may come, (which we know they will), we should have Paul's attitude..."to live is Christ, and to die is gain" as long as I am able to finish the race and complete the task the Lord has given me.

This is my prayer.. that we can have the confidence in God and be moved by the Holy Spirit in such a way that others will see God through us. That we can share the good news to everyone. That we can strengthen and encourage eachother along in God's will. That we can be the church...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...