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Posts tagged advent
Can You Feel It?

Can you feel it? You know…that feeling when you were six years old and it’s Christmas Eve? The evening is turning to night, and as darkness falls you know the time is drawing near – the excitement palpable, chest thumping in anticipation, and maybe a few noticeable butterflies. And why so excited on Christmas Eve when we were six? Because of the impending visit from the jolly old elf and his team of reindeer! Willing yourself to sleep, in spite of the anticipation on the cusp of something great! Your wildest dreams come true…your heart’s desire will soon be delivered to your very house! Red Rider BB gun anyone?

In this last week of Advent, I believe that’s exactly how God intended for us to feel…on the edge of receiving the greatest, most wonderful of all gifts. It had been foretold: “Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign. The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14 CEB). I have to imagine the Israelites experienced some of this Christmas magic too, as they waited and anticipated God’s fulfillment of prophecy. “The Lord says, ‘Shout and rejoice, O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you.” (Zechariah 2:10-11 NLT). Surely they sensed the answer to their longing drawing near. And if they didn’t sense it, they did wait in hope for it. Come thou long-expected Jesus…and in these waning days of Advent we know He is on His way!

In the hustle of last minute preparations, I encourage you to see this season through the eyes of 6-year-old you…wide, expectant, wonder-filled, awe-struck, hopeful. Here’s to breathless anticipation! Here’s to receiving the very best gift EVER! When 84-year-old Anna met that baby Jesus just a short time after He was born, she had that 6-year-old Christmas Eve feeling, prophesying and praising. “…Anna came in and praised God [at the Temple]. She spoke about the child Jesus to everyone who hoped for Jerusalem to be set free” (Luke 2:38 CEVD).

He is coming. He is coming for you and me! He’s almost here and He outshines the star over Bethlehem that night so long ago. He outshines that #1 thing on your list to Santa when you were six…THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL TIME is almost here, and He’s ready to greet you with tidings of great joy! Open arms, open heart where your name is lovingly etched for all time. Peace and Joy be yours this Christmas and always, friends. You are dearly loved.

Jessica

What Is Silent Peace?

Merry Christmas friends! You know one of the things I love about this season is sharing it with y’all. Seeing your faces light up in anticipation about what’s to come reminds me of how others waited expectantly for hundreds of years for Jesus to arrive. I imagine no one expected Him to arrive the way He did. I mean, God could have chosen a billion ways to drop Jesus, our Savior, into the world. He chose a baby.

Do you remember when your children or siblings were just born, a tiny bundle of sweet love? That baby, while wonderful and loved and sweet and smelling good, still brought a bit of chaos to your house, right? That baby didn’t sit quietly through every meal or sleep through the night and you probably had to be home for early bedtimes and you did more laundry than ever before in your life. Chances are you had moments where you wanted to hide in your room to find some peace.

And there lies the difference between our children and Christ coming as a baby. Jesus came as peace, He’s actually known as the Prince of Peace. In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, we are given a glimpse of what’s to come:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)

Now, this verse comes hundreds of years before Jesus is even born!!! That’s a lot of waiting for peace! Can you imagine what it must have been like to be present for the greatest PRESENT of the world?

What are some things we have to wait for these days?

Our next birthday Summer vacation Cookies to finish baking and cooling. Christmas day to open presents

How many of you are hoping for a white Christmas? Waking up to loads of snow on the ground just waiting for you to jump in and play? I’ve only experienced a white Christmas a few times in my life. But I do love a good snow day. Even better than a snow day is a snow night! I remember as a child falling asleep after watching the news saying to expect snow overnight, it was always so hard to fall asleep, wanting to wake up and play in the snow. Two years ago I tucked my boys into bed with anticipation of them waking up to a snow day. Instead of my trying to fall asleep, I grabbed some hot chocolate and made my way to the back porch. From there I sat, bundled up, watching the snow fall. There were no sounds, it was as if the snow pushed the mute button on the world. No birds were chirping, squirrels weren’t chasing, even the creek was silent. There was peace and quiet like I had never experienced. I didn’t want to move or do anything to disturb that feeling. I wanted to capture it to hold onto when my world doesn’t seem at peace.

Y’all, the good news if I don’t have to capture that moment because when Jesus was born, He delivered that peace. All we have to do is ask Him to pour His peace out on us. It never hurts to seek peace, or moments of quiet, but know that HIS PERFECT PEACE was delivered in a manger for you and for me.

Shea

The Shared Promise

Anticipated Glory ~ One of the very first memories of my childhood was on a cold, snowing Christmas Eve in Montana. I remember Christmas Eve as a moment of “anticipation.” With over a foot of snow accumulating, it would be one of the longest nights in preparation for Santa. What if I fall asleep before I could hear him on the rooftop? What if Santa and his reindeer could not descend in the depths of the snow drifts? After my preparation to make the “nice list,” it brought me hope. I was so eager to hear any sound of a jingle in the sky, in open plains or even take a peak of reindeer lights in the distance. The hope grew with each passing moment until he finally made his magical landfall. As promised, Santa made his stop, I just didn’t see him.

Fast forward to today, I wait in anticipation for the beautiful season of Christmas and what it brings to our lives. It is no longer just about jingles, gifts, or a sneak peak of Santa’s sleigh, but the anticipated and spiritual preparation for the coming of our Lord. Today, I witness those bright lights in the darkness and hear “Silent Night, Holy Night.” The child born of God entered this world as an overcomer. He looked vulnerable as any other infant, yet He could not be defeated, distracted or diverted from His mission. With our faith and hope, we know Jesus is with us, we just can’t see Him.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Gift of Hope ~ The world lacks hope. We have received new birth into a living hope that’s real every day. It’s living because Jesus is alive and offers to transform our hearts, minds, and actions daily. As we understand God’s forgiveness, we start forgiving others. As the reality of Christ’s sacrifice penetrates our hearts, we lay down our selfish desires. We begin to serve our families, our neighbors, and even strangers on the street. Although mundane, painful, and stressful events threaten to diminish our hope, Jesus renews our hope whenever we seek Him.

Christ is the gift of Restoration ~ Jesus was born to restore our relationship with the Father. He is everything we have learned from Him… hope, love, joy, and peace. The Wreath of Advent represents an aspect of the spiritual preparation for the coming of Jesus. God weaves the promise and appearance of a Savior. Hope for the future, that we will be redeemed. Hope for the present, that we are not alone, but are loved and have purpose. Hope even over the past, that our failures are not greater than God’s power to transform.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

People need to know that Jesus came to bring hope, that He is our hope, and that our hope is alive. When we as believers speak of hope, we don’t mean a desire that may or may not be fulfilled. No, our hope is certain. Our hope for forgiveness, for reconciliation with God and eternal life, rests on the finished work of Jesus.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Paul describes Jesus Christ as “our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1) and “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). Jesus not only came to bring hope. He is our hope. We have hope because Jesus forgave us. Knowing Jesus brings contentment regardless of material possessions and joy despite difficult circumstances. Nothing can destroy this hope because it’s stored in heaven where no earthly power can touch it.

Is the hope of Jesus real and alive in you?

Merry Christmas,

Lynne Parr