Category Archives: Christmas Countdown 2020

Christmas Countdown 2020 Day 22

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Oh my goodness…I just realized I entitle yesterday’s post Day 20…and it was Day 21…good grief. I am thankful for the editing capacity of this website…sorry if I confused you <3

Now for today:

Today we are moving into the second letter Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica as we are just a mere three days away from ending our countdown. I don’t mean to alarm you, but yes…in three days it will be Christmas Day. 

Excuse me for a moment while I breathe into a paper bag. 

I jest. 

I am fine. Sort of. 

Today’s passage is one I that I can apply to a busy few days like what lies ahead for me, but I know Paul had so much more in mind as he encouraged the believers about the day of Christ’s return. It will be a day of final judgment and will not go well for those who refused the gift of redemption offered by our Lord, but for those who did receive His salvation:

And all the people who have believed will be amazed at Jesus. You will be in that group, because you believed what we told you. That is why we always pray for you, asking our God to help you live the kind of life he called you to live. We pray that with His power God will help you do the good things you want and perform the works that come from your faith. We pray all this so that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ will have glory in  you, and you will have glory in Him. That glory comes form the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ

2 Thessalonians 1: 10b-12

I see that in this prayer, Paul is showing us that God has given us the power to do the good works of sharing our faith with others. We have the ability, in Him and with Him and through Him, to be able to follow after the teachings of Jesus Christ and represent Him well to others. 

The faith that I have in me is to be lived out actively and God will enable me to do that. 

And we should be praying this for each other. The things I accomplish for His Kingdom are to be done in such a way that He is glorified. It should be Christ in me that draws the attention of others. 

So for today, just go back over that passage and pray that for your fellow believers. Pray it for you friends, family and church. And share it with someone and ask them to pray it for you <3 

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Christmas Countdown 2020 Day 21

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I was chatting with a friend this morning and we commented that we have a zillion things we need to do between now and Christmas Day that probably no one in our circle would notice if we missed doing them. 

Can you relate? 

The details of how meals, gifts and a clean house will come about are something at least my friend and I have taken upon ourselves for so many years, we just assume they have to be done.

And honestly, we wouldn’t do it any other way. Whether anyone notices or not, this is how we do Christmas and it is a precious tradition to a mom’s heart. The Christmas Eve and Christmas morning routine that got established over here in our house matters to the fabric of my soul and it is my gift of love to our family.

So I have a short list and a long list and a plan in place. Most of the groceries are gathered, I need to peruse the stockings to make sure no one got shorted and make this place welcoming to the one lone bird who will return for overnighting with us for the holidays and the six who will join us for Christmas Eve chaos. 

So since we are all in crunch mode, I am thankful that Paul grows succinct in the closing words of his letter to the Thessalonians. 

He reminds me of a mom standing at the door as her child leaves for college.

Short thoughts are blurted out with a desperate prayer that they will be taken to heart and heeded. We touched on a few yesterday so will start with those:

  • Live in peace with each other.
  • Encourage the people who are afraid.
  • Help those who are weak.
  • Be patient with everyone. 
  • Always be joyful. 
  • Pray continually. 
  • Give thanks whatever happens. 
  • Do not hold back the work of the Holy Spirit. 
  • Do not treat prophecy as if it doesn’t matter. 
  • Test everything. 
  • Keep what is good. 
  • Stay away for everything that is evil. 
  • Pray for us. 

For Paul who was the master of run-on sentences (and I might add…I rather like that about him), these quick offerings of how to live are so easy to understand and yet so hard to apply at times. 

Perhaps you could jot down one or two that are speaking directly to you and carry them at the top of your To Do list today. 

As you finish the details of preparing your hearts and homes for Christmas or just do your job at your desk…meditate on the ones you selected and ask God to teach you how to apply that to your life. 

In the meantime, I have miles to go … literally…so I will see you back here tomorrow <3 

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Christmas Countdown 2020 Day 20

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We have reached our twentieth day in the Countdown and the fourth Sunday of Advent. 

Our focus verses today give us instruction on how to treat others in the faith.

We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who do not work. Encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.

1 Thessalonians 5: 14

It is my understanding that some in the Church at Thessalonica were assuming Christ would return any minute and therefore there was no need to be employed. They would just bide their time living off of the efforts of others because in a day or two, what would it matter? 

Paul is clearly instructing them and us that while we do not know the exact hour of His return, our work here on this piece of real estate is important and ordained by God. The efforts of our labor have a meaning and purpose and are part of our obedience to Him. 

I am also struck by the exhortation to encourage those who are afraid.

During this pandemic, many of my friends have commented about the fear we see in the eyes of so many people. Masks covering much of the face don’t help, but often when you look into the eyes of others you see raw panic. 

I hear it in comments made and I believe it has been fueled by media for purposes beyond my understanding. Fear has often been used as the motivator for following procedures that are good and some of us have wrongly proclaimed that we will not abide with fear so have refused wisdom. I think Paul would scold us for that.

Others are afraid of what this pandemic will mean to a business they rely on for income for the family. The future is daunting if restrictions continue. There are those who relied on an income that is now considered “non-essential” and yet the paying of rent or mortgage, utilities and food is extremely essential to their loved ones. Their fears are founded, but we know that we do not live in fear.

Moms and dads are wondering how their single adult children are faring as they are isolated in work-from-home settings. A newly pregnant woman wonders how she can carry her baby safely while she makes visits to the doctor and lives life feeling exposed for two. People are afraid their elderly family will not make it and the last hug they gave them was back in March. 

Listen to Paul’s urging. Don’t mock or defy or chastise those who are afraid, but encourage them. The whole tone of Paul’s letter has been one of considerate love. He likened our care for one another as that of a nursing mother. The tenderness and gentility of the love we should have for one another couldn’t be more kind than a mother holding her infant close to her to provide both love and nourishment. 

Some of us are feeling strong and faith-filled during this. We have found the isolation an opportunity to grow closer to God. This is wonderful, but use that to tenderly reach out to those who have found their comfort in food, old habits, shopping, entertainment…whatever they have reached out for that will never bring them the peace that you have found in knowing Christ more. Share that. 

Share the love and hope you have in knowing Him. Pray for opportunities to lift someone up. Ask God to give you names of people who need a call, card or text that reminds them they are loved dearly. 

And be patient. Long-suffering. Willing to go the extra mile for one another. We are all in different places of processing what this year has been. Let’s extend grace upon grace as we have received grace and mercy from the Father. 

Blessings on you this Fourth Sunday of Advent. 

You are dearly loved.

So let us love one another

<3

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