Keeping the Christmas Spirit Going

It seems like once the New Year arrives people have often times moved beyond the Christmas spirit or season and are now fixated on new beginnings, keeping trendy resolutions, and sometimes creating outlandish goals for the upcoming year.

It’s almost as if the New Year pours in and Christmas is drowned out, right?

I’m seriously as guilty as they come with quickly moving on to my New Year resolutions.

In fact, a few weeks ago my husband commented that he wanted to start running to help get in shape. But then nothing came of it. Oddly enough some of our good friends contacted us the other day asking if we’d like to participate in a half marathon happening at the beginning of May. With the idea of motivation to spur us along in our new goal of running this year, we reluctantly committed…so now we’re signed up to compete in this half marathon that we’re absolutely (equally) unprepared for and clueless about.😂

In entertaining the process of training I honestly don’t want to get too hung up on this new adventure of ours. Yes I will train by coming up with a workout plan that fits my lifestyle, and I’ll watch my food intake and how my body reacts, etc. My overall strategy will be to focus on those physical elements rather than the mental-side of things. Because I know that if I concentrate on how crazy it seems (for me) to run thirteen miles on a Sunday morning in a few more months (when I’m currently out of shape), then that could seriously mess with my mindset — leading me to pre-self-elimination from the race, rather than a finish line destination.

OK so going back to that Christmas spirit thing…several times during the month of December I made it a point to read through Luke chapter 2 (Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth) and verse 20 caught my attention every single time. It says this: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”

Goodness I just love those words!! These shepherds had just witnessed the very first Christmas, firsthand, as they visited a Baby Jesus born in Bethlehem. We see by the words in verse 20 that afterwards the shepherds returned back to their regular business — but not unchanged!!! They were glorifying and praising God because of what they had experienced. The shepherds were, no doubt, sharing this unique adrenaline-rushing, exciting birth announcement with others.

What’s more, is that if we back up a few verses we know that the shepherds had had an encounter with angels before they went to see Baby Jesus. I’m going to paraphrase to shorten and explain the setting…while the shepherds saw Baby Jesus they spread the words of what they had been told by the angels; they shared with those around them that the angels had referred to Jesus as their “Savior” and “Messiah.” And then verse 18 says, “All who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”

Don’t miss the beauty in these words…ALL who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Whew!! I gotta take a minute to soak that up. I love it.

We, as Christians, are given the same opportunity to share the Christmas spirit with others just like the shepherds chose to do, so long ago. All it takes is for us to be mindful of the Christmas story and be willing to pass that story on (regardless of the technical Christmas-calendar-date) …or even share with someone how Jesus is working in our lives. For the shepherds, spreading the word made a huge “Christmas spirit” impact, not only for them, but in the lives of those around them.

The thing is, making New Year’s resolutions, healthy changes, and fun goals are all fine…BUT we must remember how important it is to keep the Christmas spirit active and alive all year.

If I get too hung up on my goals then I get distracted or side-tracked and risk limiting the Christmas season to really just the month of December. I believe the purpose of the Christmas spirit isn’t meant to be set to just a particular season, but rather a powerful reason to make Christ known anytime of the year.

It’s a bold, true, and shareable story that can change lives if we’re willing to feel it in our hearts and live it out — even in the midst of New Year’s resolutions beckoning our attention.

To My Email Readers

That last post today, about my gray hair, wasn’t actually supposed to post until tomorrow. I’m not really sure what happened but apparently it sent to all my email address subscribers, but never posted to the actual blog. It’s scheduled for tomorrow so you may end up with a repeat (edited) version…good old technology. Continue reading “To My Email Readers”

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

My girls have each put together a poem for their Daddy so I told them we’d surprise-share it with him today via the blog!!

But first a few thoughts…

Here’s to you Nathan! You are an amazing dad and I’m thankful we get to do this parenting thing together, couldn’t do it without you!! I love you so much! Love hearing you encourage our kids and teaching them your talents and interests! I love that you blare Taylor Swift for the girls when we’re riding in your teeny bopper truck and that you enjoy it yourself too.😉

I love that the kids ask a million and one times when you’ll be home from work before the day is even half over (they get that from me you know?!) We just love being with you!…I love watching these kids clobber you the minute you finally do walk through the door after work. I love that they adore you! I love that they witness you praying and reading God’s word. I love that you make sure they know how important it is to be involved with church. Mostly I just simply love seeing you raise our kids to know, love, and respect the ultimate Father above. Continue reading “Happy Father’s Day Dad!”

I’m Being Weird

All over scripture we can find the words, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’…

Leviticus 19:18, ‘You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.’

Matthew 19:19 says, ‘Honor your father and mother, and, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

And James 2:8 reminds us, ‘If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.’

If I noted each of the many times scripture encourages and directs us with, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ then writing and reading this post may be the only thing you and I do today. Some verses note word-for-word, ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ and others simply offer heavy implication of the idea. It may sound exhausting to think of repeat instructions, but the beautiful thing about that, is the fact that when something is repeated over and over it’s often for our own good and to navigate us in the correct way. In this case, through God’s word, it’s so we don’t stray wayward of His perfect intentions in calling us to love one another. Continue reading “I’m Being Weird”

His Work Was For You And Me

Over the past few weeks I’ve been substitute teaching each afternoon for a woman who’s out on maternity leave. I’ll finish out the school year as long as the kiddos don’t scare me off!

Wednesdays are still my hair day where I go to the nursing home and doll up salt and pepper colored hair, so I’m not at the school that day.

Interestingly the class I’m teaching is music class and my knowledge is slim but growing. I tell the kids I’m learning right along with them. It’s been fun. They’re fourth and fifth grade and easily humored, but can also be a handful some days. Continue reading “His Work Was For You And Me”

Even If (part 2)

Part two of Even If…

After learning my daughter’s recent celiac test results came back positive, I’ve thought about how Satan could have a heyday with this, because before I knew that, I’d celebrated with a blog post (last week) on how McKenzie was better, her blood work was great the second time, and we were out of the woods praising God for healing…but then in the days since, the outcome has changed, so do we still have reason to celebrate and praise Him?

Absolutely!!

Do I still believe God can totally heal McKenzie, or that the positive test results for celiac may have shown up as a fluke deal, and that when we go to our next appointment to see the GI doctor later this month they’ll tell us she’s completely fine and to go back home?

Absolutely!!

BUT even if it’s not in God’s plan, even if our circumstances don’t change, even if McKenzie is fully diagnosed with “silly yak” disease we’re going to praise God regardless, and our faith is going to remain solid—because God is still God, He’s in control, and His ways and plans our better than ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Continue reading “Even If (part 2)”

A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?

I’m assuming my kids are no different and share a common enthusiasm with other like-minded boys and girls—the electronic obsession!!??

These kids of mine would eat, drink, and sleep electronics if my husband and I allowed it, but thankfully for the sake of healthy living we’ve put a cap on their amount of exposure.

As a family we circled up in the living room about a year ago to hash out a plan or schedule for electronic time. That might sound over the top, but seriously it was necessary and has actually been pretty beneficial.

Here’s what we came up with: Continue reading “A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?”