• Advent,  Inspired,  unexpected blessings

    Let’s Celebrate like it’s the First Christmas

    We are experiencing grief and lament in this season because we are going without many of our regular traditions. I am continually reminded that Christmas 2020 is probably much closer than we realize, to the first Christmas when Jesus was born. Did you participate in a nationwide census? Look to Mary and Joseph: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. Luke 2:1-3 NIV Did God call you to try something new? Adapt to your surroundings? Learn flexibility and…

  • Advent,  blog update,  Faith & Life,  unexpected blessings

    What if Jesus was born in 2020?

    Many of us are ready to put this year in our rearview mirror and look forward to 2021. Yet, each of us could also name so many blessings that God has provided. If we look at the whole, it’s an overwhelming mess, but let’s look at it through the lens of our Savior, Jesus. What was it like the year Jesus was born? Was the year as hard as what we have all experienced in 2020? I venture to say it certainly had its challenges. King Herod was ruling in Jerusalem. Herod and his family were domineering despite being practitioners of the Jewish faith. And when Jesus was born, the…

  • Advent,  Faith & Life,  Holy Land,  One Word,  unexpected blessings

    2020 Reflection: Savor

    The season of Advent seem like the perfect time to reflect on this past year and begin to look ahead. Here’s the post I first wrote about how I chose this word and the Scriptural connection. It started rather silly with a gift we purchased for ourselves at Christmas time last year. After we were married, Jack and I decided we would not give gifts to one another for the holidays, but that travel or an experience would be our way to make memories. An unexpected financial donation came to us and we decided to purchase a fancy coffee machine! Each morning that I’ve gotten to use it, I’ve SAVORED…

  • Advent

    “Come & behold Him…”

    In the middle of November, our Sunday school curriculum focused on Jesus’ journey to the cross, death and resurrection. While this is typically the focus around Easter time, it is also the crux of our Christian faith, so I love that we were studying and highlighting this portion of Scripture together. I used a technique called “Lectio Divina” to read a section of Scripture with students. They closed their eyes as a passage was read once, and then the 2nd time they followed along and circled words and phrases that caught their attention. We took turns writing those words/phrases on the board and had a discussion about what we saw.…

  • Advent

    Songs of Christmas: Unto Us

    I discovered this song on Spotify and enjoyed listening to it this season: I’ve added Bible verses that I connect with these lyrics below: The world was covered by the night longing for the light lost in sin and shame “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.” – John 1:4-5 When God from heavens throne on high heard our desperate cry and sent his Son to save “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through…

  • Advent

    Songs of Christmas: Go Tell it on the Mountain

    The shepherds were ordinary people, just like us. In fact, they were working the night shift, like so many workers in various industries every night. For many, the work doesn’t stop because the sun has gone down. The extraordinary came upon the ordinary on routine night. The job they had was 24 hours a day: similar to that of a parent, who cares for their children. Go Tell it on the Mountain While shepherds kept their watching Over silent flocks by night, Behold throughout the heavens, There shone a holy light: Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere; Go, Tell It On The Mountain That Jesus Christ…

  • Advent

    Songs of Christmas: Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

    This song has been on my heart these last few weeks. No commentary is really needed. Just listen to and meditate on the words as we wait.   Come, Thou long expected Jesus Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart. Joy to those who long to see thee Day-spring from on high appear Come thou promised Rod of Jesse Of Thy birth we long to hear O’er the hills the angels singing News glad tidings of…

  • Advent

    Songs of Christmas: Joy to the World

    Our world is in need of some joy right about now. While I had not been avoiding the dire situation in Aleppo, I hadn’t read much until I came across this letter, written by Ann Voskamp. The pictures are difficult to take in. The real time tweets from Bana are unimaginable, and yet they are coming across our screens, into our hearts and minds, bringing us closer to what’s happening. How do we find joy, knowing these horrifying bombings are happening in another corner of the world? How do we find joy when their are Dakota pipeline protesters being hosed down with water cannons and fines are being implemented for…

  • Advent

    Songs of Christmas

    They are songs and hymns we have heard dozens of times each Christmas, adding up to hundreds and thousands of times we’ve heard them whether we are celebrating our 12th or 60th season. Yet, dependent upon the year we’ve had or the type of season it is, sometimes the words of these songs are heard differently. I took a break from my blog in November, but as we have begun the season of Advent, I will reflect on some of my favorite Christmas songs and how the words resonate with me this year.    

  • Advent

    A New Year begins with Advent: Love

    I learned something new as I put together this post. I was trying to think of a Christmas song that highlighted the act of love which God gave us through His son. Every religious Christmas song shares that in one form or another, but The title, “Love Came Down at Christmas” came to my mind and I discovered it was a poem before it was a song: “Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine, Love was born at Christmas, Star and Angels gave the sign. Worship we the Godhead, Love Incarnate, Love Divine, Worship we our Jesus, But wherewith for sacred sign? Love shall be our token,…