It’s over! Christmas really is over.

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Yes, it’s true!  Many of you have probably already realized that:)  but I have felt that my Christmas season has zoomed by so today, I thought “Wow it really is over.  Where did it go?”

I taught through December 23rd.  I had a sinus infection since Thanksgiving so I was ready to sit on the couch and do nothing for the first few days of break.  But of course, that doesn’t happen when you “have to” do all those great things to get ready for the holiday.

You know, you need to wrap the presents.  Oh wait, you need to buy or make them first!  You need to make sure you remember all the people on your list and then also remember those people who might give you a gift.  You know how important it is to have those extra gifts ready.  You have to bake the cookies and prepare the food for the big day.  You have to go look at lights and model trains.  You have to go to church.  You have to lead the pageant or sing in the choir.  You have to make sure you have the right dress for the Christmas party.  You have to rush from party to party.  Oh no, did you make the cookies for the third cookie exchange?  You have to host the family.  You have to watch the Hallmark movies and stay up late enjoying the lights on the tree.  You have to decorate the house.  Wow, no wonder that season flies by!

This year, though, my Christmas season flew by for other reasons.  That sinus infection that I got the week of Thanksgiving didn’t go away until last Wednesday so by the time Christmas came around, I was exhausted.  I would get home from work and have NO energy to do anything except finish the 7 IEPs that were due, try to plan for the next day, shove some dinner down my throat and then climb into bed.

I did manage to wrap a few presents on Christmas Eve but most of those other things on that list just didn’t happen.  All of a sudden there were 3 days left of break, and I began to get a little sad that I hadn’t checked all of those things off my list. I felt like I missed out on Christmas.

Then on the 2nd day before the break ended, I came down with the flu.  Hmmmm  not exactly part of  that crazy Christmas plan.  I ended up on the couch for  4 days.  It made me stop!  It also made me start to think.

I do take a lot of joy from doing most of those things on that list above.  When I couldn’t do all of those things, I began to think about where my joy comes from. Does it come from happy feelings about what is going on around me or does it come from who Jesus is and what He’s done for us?

I’m thankful for God meeting me where I am.  I’m thankful that I had to slow down this Christmas and not do all those time consuming things on my list.  I’m thankful that God reminded me that He is my all in all…that I can’t make my own joy or happiness.  It comes from Him.

Christmas Week: Monday Moment of Joy or Disappointment

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This is the week for joy-right??? It’s the week we get to spend time with family and see people we haven’t seen in forever.

It’s the week we get to eat good food and open presents.

It’s the week we look forward to because those gifts we’ve spent so much time on will finally be opened. We picture the joy on those family member’s faces as they open that much anticipated gift.

We look forward to some slower down time as many of us have off work. We may even have time to pop popcorn and watch those Christmas movies-you know those movies that are SO predictable? Yep-they’re predictable, but that’s why I love them! I know what’s going to happen-unlike real life where I’m never sure what the next act is going to bring.

It’s the week we anticipate to be full of delight and joy….how’s that going for you today??? Is it all that you anticipated?? or is it full of disappointments?

Today, my moment of joy, came in spending time with a friend. We both had SOOO many things to do today, but we both decided that we needed to take a little bit of time away from all that craziness. So we drove around and got coffee and chatted while her kids slept in the back seat. As we talked, we listed many things that we looked forward to this week but also many things that had not gone the way we planned (and it’s only Monday!)

Maybe you are like us and your Christmas week doesn’t look perfect. Maybe it looks more like this….
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full of messines or muddy relationships or disappointments.

When I got home, I began to think about all those things on my to do list and very quickly became overwhelmed.
Then I was reminded that, yes, this is a week full of anticipation-a week that we look forward to joy. But…..that joy needs to come from remembering why Christ came.

What if our work schedules don’t work out and we don’t get to see all those family members/friends that we wanted to see? What if our family member doesn’t get all excited about that present that we spent so much time on?

What if our “downtime” is spent fixing the plumbing or caring for sick kids or working out health insurance for next year? What if the food doesn’t turn out the way we expect it to? What if our plan doesn’t work?

What if our family time gets “ruined” by a fight or an accident? What if we’re grieving over the loss of a family member or good friend?

How do we find joy in all those disappointments? How will we respond when things don’t go the way we think they should?

Taking some time tonight to find a holy night/a silent night and to bask in God’s love for me. He loves me so much that He would send His only Son into a world full of sin and messiness in order to save me. Wow!!

Hoping you can find some time to slow down this week and reflect on what He’s done for us. Praying for you that you’d find peace in this season-not because everything is calm and has gone the way you want it to, but because God is good and has come to meet us in this mess.

How are you looking for peace during this week?

Joy to the World

What a wonderful season Christmas is!  I love all the lights and the trees and the music, but most of all I love the time we have to stop and think about our Savior.  I love the hymn “Joy to the World.”

As we sing that song in church, though, I have to admit that sometimes I’m more concerned about how my alto part sounds than what those words actually mean.

Sadly that happens often in life too.  God reminds us that our joy comes only from Him, and yet we constantly try to do things to bring that joy back to ourselves.  I do love it when harmony in a song comes together well, but that doesn’t bring lasting joy:).   Recognizing that our Savior reigns is what brings true joy.  “He comes to make His blessings flow….far as the curse is found.”  Man has brought sin into this world, but Christ has conquered it!  His blessings flow “far as the curse is found.”  No matter what we’ve done.  No matter how many times we’ve walked away from Him, He still calls us back.  His death covers all those sins so that we can be seen as blameless before God.  He is our righteousness!  What an amazing gift.  That’s why Christ came to earth-to become our righteousness.  Have we received our King?  Have we trusted Him?  That’s where our joy comes from.

“He rules the earth with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousnes
And wonders of his love.”

Let’s make time to wonder in His love this Christmas!

As you’re baking those cookies or hanging the ornaments on the tree or shopping for that perfect gift, stop and take time to remember the PERFECT gift of Jesus.  Because of His death and resurrection, we have His perfect life credited to us.  What JOY because of His amazing love for us!