Second Sunday of Advent 2016 <3

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I hear the songs written so many years ago…

centuries some of them…

one tells of…

how the bells tolled on Christmas Day declaring peace on earth…

but there was no peace…

about how hate was strong and mocked the song.

And how they then rang louder with the promises…

echoing ancient words penned on scrolls…

words God breathed into the authors to write the assurance…

the reassurance needed then and now.

He is not dead…

He does not sleep….

He will come some day to make all things right…

and that He only tarries now because of mercy.

Does He see?

Oh yes.

He sees.

And yet…

with great restraint He holds back judgment…

waiting…

watching…

wooing…

until all have had the chance to come into the fold <3

So we…

who love Him…

wait…

and watch…

and pray.

Longing for the Day of His appearing…

and yet…

sharing His heart of mercy <3

Participating in His sorrow for the lost.

Rejoicing in the joy of His salvation.

Singing with the multitudes…

Holy Holy Holy is the Lamb

Who takes away the sin of the world

Worthy is the Lamb of God

Praise Him

<3

Anybody notice?

Happy Saturday to you <3

If you studied the pictures on yesterday’s post, you may have noticed something a little different about the three characters of the Nativity.

So as explanation, I am reposting from last January about it.

Blessings on you all today.

Wherever you are … whatever you have to do…may our hearts be tuned to worship the Lamb <3

Reposted from January 27, 2016    

When a Picture is Worth a Few Thousand Words <3

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I got a good start on taking down Christmas trim and getting it back in boxes yesterday.

Right about now, half of you are like nodding your head and the other half are gasping like…she still has her Christmas stuff out????

Am I right?

And those of you who put yours away several weeks ago would hyperventilate if you saw my method.

I have been moving things a few at a time to various collection spots and yesterday made several dozen trips carrying the last of it to the basement.

It was piled all over the floor and ping pong table.

Then I pulled out all the green tubs and started finding where stuff should go.

Yes.

I can overcomplicate the simplest of tasks.

It’s a sickness.

Or a gift…not sure…

Anyway….

I have three separate boxes that hold the various cast members of a folk art nativity.

One for the wise men, one for the shepherd/animals and one for the holy family.

I boxed up Joseph, Mary and Jesus first and then went to search for the contents of the shepherd set.

That’s when I find baby Jesus all snuggled under His colorful quilt in the manger.

Wait a minute…who did I put in with his mom and dad???

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Let’s just say…progress was delayed on the packing away as I knelt on the floor of the basement amidst all that was Christmas 2015 and had a little worship service….

He IS the Lamb of God …. after all…

the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God…

who takes away the sins of the world…

Praise Him!

It’s beginning to look a lot like anything but Christmas around here

While others are humming Christmas tunes and decorating their homes….

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I am sorting through what appears to be every single school paper from every single year for every single child in our family and humming the line from Michael W. Smith’s song Friends…

the line about packing up the dreams we planted…in the fertile soil of  youth.

That part.

Because after twenty years almost to the day, we will be carting all of our stuff

plus the accumulated treasures gained from that fertile soil

plus assorted inherited  heirlooms of extended family

plus a ridiculous number of books because apparently one of us has a problem….

and we will be moving it to a new house that better suits who we are today.

Two days before Christmas.

One day before Christmas Eve.

Yeah.

I know.

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The whole process has been working fairly quickly and well for us.

Which is extremely helpful because with the move and our grief over dad and just all the other parts of life in 2016 gleaned from one disturbing or sad report after another… I run the gamut of emotions on a cycle that is somewhat like a ceiling fan.

On high speed.

So when I said in earlier posts that I am taking a different approach to Advent this year, I truly meant it.

Without all the extras of preparing our home and food and hoping to have some people over for different holiday events,  I find my heart truly stripped down to the bare bones of what Christmas is to me.

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It is interesting how much the preparations have consumed my time in the past. I can see that now that I am not doing them.

Part of me misses them terribly and part of me feels lightened immensely.

I love all the lovely parts of the season, don’t get me wrong, but to be side-lined this year from participating in the rush of it all is giving me a different perspective.

And ….

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I look forward to meeting you here each day.

I will be respectful of your time…you have a lot do and so do I.

Including decorating this little fellow…

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because even when you are moving…you still have to have a tree.

The countdown from past years have been daily…we shall see if that happens this year.

I may be popping by over the weekend or I may see you Monday….until then…be blessed…be refreshed in the Word…be assured that you are thought about and prayed for and loved    <3

 

 

 

On closed doors and such <3

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It is difficult to believe a week ago was Thanksgiving and that Christmas is just a short time away.

Maybe it’s just me…but I doubt it =0)

On Thanksgiving Eve Russ and I, along with Rachel, were glued to our phones as we monitored John’s progress across the USA.

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PC/John Reimer

Rachel was on the docket to pick him up at 11 pm at the airport near their home and everything was on schedule until his flight out of Austin got delayed.

For exactly the amount of time he had for the layover in Chicago.

On the night before Thanksgiving.

We knew from the updates that his plane would be landing at the exact time his connecting flight would be taking off.

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PC/John Reimer

If you have traveled recently you know that even if the flight attendant asks people to stay seated to allow for those with tight connections to exit…yeah…that’s not going to happen.

He texted when he landed for gate info and we scrambled to get it to him, urging him to check the board when he deplaned in case of a gate change.

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PC/John Reimer

Oh….and we prayed.

Or I should say we continued to pray. Because we had been praying the whole trip.

There were some little boys who had gone to sleep in great anticipation that Uncle John would be at their breakfast table the next morning.

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PC/Rachel Maxwell

We may have held our breath while we prayed because it came out as a gasp at 10:08 when we all got the text…that he had barely made it…he was on the flight…well past their scheduled departure time.

Apparently…

PC/John Reimer
PC/John Reimer

they opened the door for him.

Opened the door of a closed plane, that was chock full of travelers…who had boarded and were ready to go for a long time while a young man sprinted close to a mile through an airport.

And when we got the picture of him and his sister at 11:08 PM…

Russ whispered…

God opens doors.

PC/Rachel Maxwell
PC/Rachel Maxwell

Hallelujah

He surely does.

He opens doors.

Beautiful, impossibly closed doors.

All the time.

Yes, it is true….

sometimes, He shuts doors, and when He does…

the Word tells us that no one can open them again.

But thanks be to God…

When He opens a door for one of His children…

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no one…

no ONE…

NO ONE…

can shut it <3

Believe it my friend.

This Christmas season I will be exploring Advent in a different way.

I invite you to join me for the journey starting tomorrow.

God bless each one of you as we celebrate the God who opens impossible doors.

You are precious to Him <3

Don’t you wish….

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Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Holy Spirit indicator light available?

In the midst of the holidays it would be especially helpful.

Because in all of the celebrating and traditions and family fun…

woven with memories of Christmas past that may make Christmas present bittersweet,

As we attempt to squeeze in all the good things we want to do…

and should do…

and the concerts and gatherings and giftings and cooking and decorating…

while we keep saying how important it is to keep the true meaning of Christmas in top priority…

we can get a little lost.

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All the traditions that fill our hearts are wonderful…

but let us not neglect fueling our spirits by taking time to be in His Word.

To sit quietly in His Presence and to continue to sing His praises <3

God bless each one of you as you go about the preparations for what this season looks like for you.

As we fill our homes and calendars with the beauty of this Christmas season, I pray we will be filled with a deeper hunger to know the One whose birth we celebrate <3