This Christmas; Party from the Inside Out

Photo Credit Saz-b Unsplash

Everyday my 5yr old grandson informs me how many days it is to Christmas, he is definitely excited this year. His kindergarten class had a Christmas pajama party to end the semester; even the teacher was in pj’s. Problem was, when it was time to leave school, and tables were being clean off, my grandson wasn’t ready to leave the party. The only way to get him out of there was to make a up a treat bag and take the party with us.

Another Kind of Party

Elizabeth (mother of John), had her own little party when Mary (mother of Jesus) came to visit her in the hill country of Judah. Mary was barely pregnant and probably not showing a visible bump, while Elizabeth was already at six months. Kind of hard to hide a six month pregnant bump, but Mary wasn’t surprised in the least as Gabriel, the angel had already informed her.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice greeting her, the baby she was carrying leaped in her womb. “She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly.” You can read the words of her song in Luke chapter one. Here is a portion of the song as recorded in the Message Bible.

” The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy. Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!”

Oh and Mary’s response was, “I’m bursting with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.” Again you can read the rest of the response in Luke 1.

The Party Continues

Mary, Elizabeth and the yet to be born John were not the only ones filled with joy. Luke 2 tells us about a group of shepherds who were watching over their sheep at night when an angel appeared to them and told them about the birth of Jesus. No sooner had the angel told them when he (the angel), was accompanied by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises.

Immediately after the angels went back to heaven the shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Jesus exactly where the angel had said.

When the shepherds returned to the sheep pasture, they were changed men. Seeing one angel is impressive, but a huge angelic host singing praises to God is another level of awesome…

…and the best was yet to come.

It was seeing Jesus, their Messiah that changed them. “The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!”

Party From the Inside Out

I am so thankful for the Son of God leaving the glory of heaven, willingly taking on human form to live among His creation. A life that would lead Him to His physical death on a cross. His death bought spiritual life for all who would accept His sacrifice.

Now, that is cause to celebrate this Christmas season. May we Let Loose, glorifying and praising God. Singing His song and may we sing it exuberantly.

Taking the party with us wherever we go.

Merry Christmas to you and your family from me and mine.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

Pausing for a few weeks, see you all back at Grace Lace and Polkadots in the new year.

 

Advertisements

What Do You Dream of Doing Someday?

Photo John Salzarulo

Every year after Thanksgiving dinner either my son-in-law, or my son, will get the Christmas tree from a high shelf in the garage and place it at the far end of the kitchen, where it awaits my attention.

And there it sits, snuggled neatly in the long oblong box held together with more packing tape than is sold in most stores.

I want to open the box and erect the tree, but dishes wait for me (full dishwasher). So I dutifully fill the sink with hot soapy water and one by one utensils, pots, pans and the plastic plates used by the little people of the family are cleansed of all evidence of the meal.

And the tree sits patiently in the box.

Family have long gone. It’s late. I’m tired. There’s a good movie to watch and I relax in the recliner next to my husband.

“Are you going to put the tree up?”

With weary eyes I glance over to the long oblong box, sighing I reply “Someday.”

Someday I Will?

Someday I’ll write a book. Someday I’ll lose the extra pounds I have gained. Someday I’ll learn to swim. Someday I’ll ………….. ( you fill in the blank).

I like how Kelly Johnson author of Being Brave: A 4o Day Journey to the Life God Dreams for You writes on Day 30 of the devotional. I quote.

“Someday is rich with promise and possibility but does not require immediate attention. Someday allows one more episode of Netflix, another half hour of Facebook, or another season of prayer for discernment and clarity. Someday is comfortable and safe. Someday lets me off the hook.”

Tomorrow is Not Promised

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1

When I was young, someday was a hope for the future, a dream yet to be fulfilled. We expect to live long lives and so put our dreams into the someday box only to be viewed on special occasions. We procrastinate because we think we have all the time in the world. We don’t. We are not promised tomorrow, let alone next year.

What is the Someday thing you have been putting off? Maybe it’s a conversation with a friend. A college course you would like to pursue. A ministry you would love to work at, or perhaps you dream of owning a coffee shop where prayer is offered.

I get it, sometimes our dreams have to wait, we have periods in life when others come before our dreams. Most times we (me) use putting others first as an excuse to procrastinate. Usually procrastination is due to fear of failure or perfectionism.

Either way they are both excuses for our Someday.

I’ll close with a question from Kelly, “What is keeping you from doing the Someday thing now? If it isn’t possible now, what steps could you take to move closer to making that thing a reality sooner?”

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Kelly Johnson’s book Being Brave can be purchased through Amazon. It would make a perfect Christmas/Birthday present for that hard to buy for person in your life. In Being Brave, Kelly invites us to consider a new way of thinking about being brave and challenges us to seek a greater intimacy with God and the people God has placed in our lives.

Note: I do not receive compensation for books purchased as a result of reading this blog post. The above, other than direct quotes, are my own thoughts and I feely and whole heartedly recommend Being Brave: Kelly Johnson.

 

 

 

NLC Worship song Thankful: Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wanted to share the song Thankful from NLC (New Life Church) worship album Our God and Our King with you today. Though not all who read this post live in the USA and so will not be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving. We can all say thank you to our Heavenly Father for His daily provisions no matter what part of the world we live in.

As fellow believers in Christ, lets raise our hearts in thanksgiving not only for the day to day provisions of our physical needs, but also for our mental and emotional needs.

He has set our feet on solid ground through Jesus. Let the praises to the One and Only begin. Or to put it another way…get your praise on!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Leaning into Thankful: Part 3 of 3

Returning Home to Grace

NLC Worship CD, Our God & Our King song Thankful, describes where I was, and where my heart is now. I have written the words to the song in bold throughout this post, I pray you are encouraged by them.

Though I accepted Jesus as my savior in my teens, I would be in my late forties before I realized what grace was about and Who grace is!

For ten years I was away from church. It wasn’t something I decided to do one Sunday morning; it was a slow walking away. Missed a meeting here, missed a meeting there, and before I realized it ten years had gone by. Ten years away from fellowship with the saints of God and ten years away from personal fellowship with my Heavenly Father. My bible gathered dust and my prayers were not powerful, they were; Pitiful. Worrisome. Complaining prayers. Sometimes they were cries for help, but mostly they were pity-party style.

I was homesick. A foreigner in a foreign land and I longed to go home where people understood me. I had moved countries and hadn’t settled in a church, I had visited many but none seemed a good fit, so it was easy to miss meetings. No-one was going to miss me.

Nightly muffled tears ran down my cheeks as I silently prayed, “Lord, I wanna go home.” I was referring to my earthly home. He knew better. I needed my spiritual home. I needed Him.

I was invited to attend a bible study group in a neighbor’s home; I went because I didn’t like to say no to my sweet neighbor. The group met weekly and I returned each week even though most weeks I reckoned it was going to be my last week. Slowly I was being drawn back to the Father. I knew I needed to find a church home.

I visited two other churches before I walked into New Life Church (NLC). As soon as I walked into the sanctuary I felt the presence of the Lord, something (someone) I had not felt in ten years. A sigh went out from deep within me as I breathed out the words “Home.”

I was lost, Jesus you found me. In your mercy you sought me out, lifted me out of the ashes, to your unfailing love. To your unfailing love

I was lost, but He knew where I was and He was patient with me. He didn’t leave me but drew me quietly back to Himself. The song talks about the Lord lifting us out of the ashes and pulling us out of the wreckage. That is exactly what He did for me, and He will do it for you if you are willing.

 You came for me when I was lost, hopelessly lost. Your life for my liberty on the cross traded on the cross.

I was the guilty-one not Jesus, yet He died for me, trading places so I may live in His liberty and freedom. He did this for you too.

King of Kings, rising in Glory. To the darkness your light has come, pulling me out of the wreckage to your unfailing love. To your unfailing love

His love is truly unfailing, He is not fickle like me, and the pressures of this life don’t control Him. He is light and He brought me out from under the dark cloud that engulfed me.

For your love everlasting, I will be thankful. For your mercy unending, I will be thankful. For the cross that you carried, I will be thankful. All my sin has been buried, I will be thankful.

I am thankful God did not give up on me, thankful He pursued me before and after I asked Him to be in my heart. I am forever thankful for His love, His mercy, His sacrifice and His forgiveness. I am thankful for His unfailing love. I am thankful I came face to face with Grace.

Our Heavenly Father waits for us with eager eyes and a longing heart for our return home to Him. He pursues us with His love and gently draws us closer to Himself. Come home dear one, back into fellowship with the One who loves you. He’s waiting for you.

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

I had the privilege of sharing this article a few months back on Alice Standford’s blog mesetfree.com be sure to check her website out. Oops! sorry my link button is not working to connect you straight to Alice’s blog, but type in her web address in a search engine, you’ll be glad you did.