Tag Archive | christmas

He is our Hope!

Every year around this time the Lord gives me a word to focus on. A word to take into the New Year. This year it was very obvious that the word is HOPE. I know you need this word too. 2020 has been a year of great losses We have been surrounded by a deep sorrow that surrounds us as we get up, during our days and at night. The world turned upside down in March, and shows no sign of returning to what it was before the pandemic.

What is going to happen next year in 2021? No one knows. One thing we do know is that our hope cannot be in the new year. At the end of December, even before Christmas we start focusing on next year and of course that temptation is even greater when everyone wants this year to end. It will. The day that it ends is December 31st.. that also happens to be my birthday. Every year as the year ends.. my personal year ends. How much do I want to believe things will be better next year? How much do I wish this new year would be easier than 2020 when we had a worldwide pandemic, and I lost my sweet husband to dementia?

That’s right I want to dream of better days.. that somehow the pain will lessen and I will find a new purpose in life. Nothing wrong with that, except it is not the answer. The answer is to be found in this season we are celebrating right now. God came into the world when it needed Him the most and brought us hope. It is a hope that we have right now . Jesus is our hope and He is with us in this mess and in whatever new challenges we will face next year. As we approach Christmas it is an opportunity to remember what He has done for us, and to be thankful that we are not alone in a broken world. We have His promises that lift us above our circumstances and we have the hope of eternity with Him.. where there will be no more tears or sorrow.

We have so much to celebrate as we think about Him and how He has saved us and will always take care of us and provide everything we need as we trust Him. So.. in the sorrow, I am going to rejoice in His goodness. i am going to look ahead.. not with faith in 2021, but with faith in our GREAT GOD.

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

O Holy Night

“Fall on your knees, oh, hear the angel voices
O night divine, the night when Christ was born
O night divine, o night, o night divine”

Christmas morning is just around the corner. This season of advent is coming to an end and we will once again pick up the pieces and venture into the end of 2015 and the beginning of a new year. Before we do that let’s take the time to remember. Remembering is such an important aspect of our lives with the Lord.

Tonight we are remembering that God interrupted history to become “ one of us.” He came at the perfect time and did the perfect thing for us. He sent his son to become our much needed savior and He broke the chains that held us captive. This is a good time to remember what Jesus said when He was teaching in the temple. The NLT says it this way in Luke 4:18

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”

Jesus quoted from Isaiah 61. He told his listeners that He came to fulfill the promises that God set in motion for His people. Their Messiah appeared and they were able to hear His voice and touch Him. They saw the miracles and watched as He began to prove to them that the long awaited moment was upon them. If only we could step back in time and see that baby born, if only we could watch Him grow up and begin to appear in the temple, on the hillsides, in the boat, and at the shore. If only we were there at that moment to truly embrace the fulfillment of God’s promises to His people.

We can’t go back except in our imagination, but we can embrace this very moment in time tonight. We are on the eve of this holy night when all things were changed forever. Jesus entered the world as a helpless baby and became the man who interrupted history to give us everything. For just a few moments, let that sink in. He came to set you free, to restore your sight, and to heal your broken heart. Each day we have the opportunity to remember His goodness and to come closer to the heart of God. He is our redeemer and He brings us peace and rest, as we trust Him.

“O Holy Night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Thank you Lord for all that you have done for us, for creating us and loving us. Let this evening be the beginning of a new season. The beginning of a time in our lives when we embrace life with you in a deeper way. Draw us close to your heart and help us to stay on the path with you, trusting you with everything.


Prepare Ye the Way

His Kingdom Come website is currently running a series of advent devotionals. They are posting a new one each day until Christmas. This is the one that I wrote for today.. enjoy.

As we enter the season of advent, we can begin to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Christmas season. Of course, in our materialistic culture it is always a great challenge to keep our focus as we resist the temptation to run around madly after the “ things of this world.” We have a choice and this is the right time to decide how we are going to spend this precious time.

As those who follow the Lord, this can be a very rich opportunity.. a time to prepare ourselves for a greater experience of His presence as we begin to focus on the Son of God in a more intentional way. Christmas is a consumer holiday, yet reminders of the Lord shine through into our lives if we are attentive. There are sights, sounds, and smells that may trigger memories from the past. For some of us this is a difficult time. We may be grieving as we remember those who are no longer with us. We need to stop and let the tears flow. It is important that we experience fully whatever emotions come to the surface allowing God to comfort us and fill us with hope for the future.

As I was preparing to write this devotional, the Lord gave me an acronym for this season. He often does this when I want to focus on something important. I love this method for remembering significant words and thoughts.


We are entering into a short season of anticipation. Looking forward to the new things that God is going to do in His time. We have the opportunity to search our own hearts and to examine our desires. It is a time to look deeply at our values, to set new priorities bringing our desires into line with His and preparing ourselves for the coming year. I love having this emphasis throughout advent and into the end of the year. If you keep a journal this is a perfect time to look through it and remember what has happened over the past year. Reflection and remembering are two important keys to keep in mind as we journey through this season.

All of these ideas are really stepping-stones to the ultimate goal of experiencing a deeper relationship with the Lord. We have an opportunity to examine our lives and to look ahead with joy, expecting Him to meet us in new and surprising ways. Even as I am writing this devotional I am filled with wonder that God allows us to draw near to Him. He sought us out and drew us in and now we have the privilege of seeking Him and pleasing Him. What an amazing truth that is!

My prayer for you during advent is that you come to your table on Christmas with a heart that is overflowing with gratefulness. If we use our time wisely over the next few weeks we will find ourselves filled with joy and peace on that day.

“Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the LORD! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)




As the advent season unfolds..we are waiting…anticipating…. trusting and remembering. There are a number of things in my life that are very unsettled and I can’t do much about any of them. I have to wait and pray and keep asking for more faith.

The other morning I was listen to my favorite Christmas hymn ” Come o Come Emmanuel ” and looking out the window at the beauty of our area. Suddenly I felt like I was transported back to that time when the Jews were awaiting their Messiah. I felt a sense of joy and anticipation..something special was in the air and I could hardly wait to see what would happen next.

If only I had been alive back in that day.. to have walked on the earth when Jesus came. Imagine seeing Him and hearing Him. Maybe it was my Jewish genes acting up.. I felt such a longing to be near Him.

The moment passed and we went to church..there it was.. that song again.

“O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.”

So here we are 2000 years later..singing and waiting..longing for more of Him.


Just a few days left..

Christmas and New Years are just around the corner. This is a very action packed time of year for many people..I can only imagine how full the malls are this weekend and how many of us will be out in force to catch the after Christmas sales. Then New Years eve and New Years day and finally 2013. I can hardly believe it. A brand new year already?

For some reason I am always surprised to see the present year ending.. didn’t it just start? Wasn’t it just January 2012 a few minutes ago? It must be my age..or the busyness of our culture. We are all moving so fast..trying to accomplish so much..making sure that we don’t miss anything.

I don’t want to miss today.. I want to live fully in this present day..today Saturday December 22, 2012. This day will never come again..it is a gift and I want to savor.. to make it last..enjoy it..appreciate it.. Thank God for it. Life is a gift and we become more aware of this when tragedy strikes. Last week lives of children were taken, and because of that horrendous act.. we were all reminded that life is fragile and fleeting.

As we celebrate the life of Jesus and His entrance into the world, let’s celebrate by cherishing our lives..living fully and being willing to grieve the loss of the innocent. God is with us in this time and He holds in His arms those precious children that He created. He is the redeemer and He came to make all things right. We are safe in Him

“Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'”


The 4th week..

We are almost finished with the waiting…wouldn’t that be wonderful? But I was only referring to Christmas. This is the 4th week of advent and Christmas will be here in less than a week and then suddenly it will be over.

Many of us will continue to wait for all kinds of things that are yet to happen. We may be waiting for blessings that God has for us.. we may be waiting for things that are very difficult. We wait for gifts and we wait for losses..both are from the hand of God. As you anticipate this Christmas day approaching..wait in faith..trust Him.

He is preparing you right now for everything you will be facing on that day and every day that follows. He knows each step, every challenge, He has provides a way through the wilderness and protection during the storms. His heart is for you and He is with you.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.. He gives and takes away..Blessed be His name!

The Day After

Christmas is over. Isn’t it strange the way we prepare and prepare..sometimes months in advance and suddenly it is all over. The meal is eaten..the presents are unwrapped..the gatherings are over. We enter into the very short week that proceeds the end of the year.

A rich season for me personally. A time to listen intently for the voice of God. He wants to speak..to tell us things we need to hear before the year ends and we begin a new season. I heard Him say some surprising things to me today. He had my attention..I am tired..worn out..feeling old and longing for the comfort that He brings when I need it.

His word to me was one that I have heard before..but somehow I forget it. A word that encourages me and seems to bring me back to where I should be. I am going to share it with you because I suspect you need to hear it too. Maybe He will speak to you through this blog today.

God is saying ” I am pleased with you. You are fine just the way you are. You don’t need to do another thing..I love you for who you are..not what you do. Relax and rest and let me restore you. I am with you and I long to bring you into a new season in my time. Don’t rush..don’t push yourself..don’t measure my love by your performance. Let me fill you to overflowing so you have more to give to those around you. Trust me. My plan for your life is unfolding perfectly.”

Isn’t that comforting? We are beautiful in His sight..the apple of His eye. Our desire to please Him is something He treasures and understands. His grace is being poured out to heal us, renew us, restore us, teach us, prepare us, and  encourage us. He is with us and will never leave us.

” From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another!”


Some of us are experiencing this right now. It is always on the rise during the holiday season. At the very time of the year when we are expected to be enjoying ourselves..there is a flip side. Our struggles have not ceased..our pain is not eliminated by the holiday lights. We cannot escape our lives by overspending or overeating. We are human and our lives are not perfect..relationships are still challenging in December..there is death, loss, and illness in December. Life is life.

We are drawn into the Christmas drama this month..remembering the birth of Jesus. The nativity scene is portrayed in churches around the world. Is our view of it accurate? Not really. Mary and Joseph had nowhere to turn..she was a teenage girl pregnant under suspicious circumstances. They were not surrounded by friends and supportive family members. The baby was born in a stable..not a glamorous birthplace. There is no record of the birth. Was it long and drawn out? Did Joseph wonder if Mary was going to die.. would the baby be healthy? It is safe to assume they endured hours of uncertainty and pain. Did they wonder.. “Is God with us?”

They were people like we are and I am sure they did not go through this time perfectly. Their hearts were heavy..they grappled with fear and anxiety. Just like us they questioned Him and prayed for a safe and easy delivery. The event that we celebrate was a real time in the lives of real people. The birth of Jesus was surrounded by uncertainty and insecurity that required this famous couple to trust in their God.

Are you struggling with fear and uncertainty right now? Depression? Anxiety? You are not alone. We are all facing it in one way or another. Let’s remember how things turned out in that manger. God was with them as He is with us today. That amazing moment in history changed the world and our lives. He will meet you and take your hand and hold you as you trust Him. He is our God and He is faithful.

Remember Mary’s song

” Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For He took notice of His lowly servant girl. and from now on all generations will call me blessed!”


The Holiday Season

It is here. We just celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas is around the corner. This time of year can be very challenging. Families that may not communicate well during the year come together to share meals and activities. The financial pressures that we face daily increase as the media speaks to us in a loud voice ..spend..spend.. spend.

The focus on shopping grows more intense each year. I enjoy Thanksgiving partly because there are no gifts involved..a simple tradition..a meal shared with loved ones. But this year I noticed that people were being pressured to leave their homes on Thanksgiving day and start their black Friday shopping on Thursday. What? First we lose the true meaning of Christmas and now we are losing Thanksgiving. For what? To spend money. To consume. To accumulate material things.  The culture and the kingdom of God once again clash at a critical point.

This is our season to rejoice in the goodness of God. This is our time to praise Him and remember His goodness. We can turn on the radio and hear voices singing about our God. Let’s savour this time. We are called to be in the world, but not part of it. What a great time to practice that. We have the opportunity to focus on God’s great gift to us in Jesus. He is for us and with us “Immanuel.” Remember that He is the center..none of us would have anything if it were not for His amazing grace to us!

My heart rejoices in the Lord! …No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one beside you; There is no Rock like our God.”