Preparing My Heart

English: Sheep feeding at trough in winter

Today, at A Holy Experience, we are writing about the practice of preparing.

You’d think this would be right up my alley….something I am good at. Preparing is usually “my thing”. Organization. Checking things off the to do list.

Am I prepared?

I wonder.

I’ve always loved the Christmas season, from the time I was a very young child. The decorating. The parties. The holiday home tours and the smell of freshly baked cookies. The classic holiday movies, and buying a gift for those special people in my life. Candlelight Christmas Eve services and Joy to the World.

But, am I prepared?

Silent Night

Holy Night

All is calm

All is bright.

A King born into the most humble of circumstances.

This Child came to prepare the way, for us all.

His journey would lead from a smelly stable manager to a rough wooden cross and finally, to an empty tomb.

From life, to death, to life again.

From His new birth...to our own.

Think about that.

With Him all things are made new.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

As the days grow darker, and colder…and the frenzy of Christmas is upon me…my desire is to step back,

and take time to prepare my heart.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6 NIV

“That’s What Christmas Is All About, Charlie Brown”

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I was born in 1968.

Of course, I don’t really have any recollection of that decade. My memories come alive for me in the 70’s.

My childhood.

Last night I watched, A Charlie Brown Christmas, with my husband and kids. The cartoon first aired in 1965 on CBS. It has been watched during the Christmas season every year since that time. I remember watching it as a child, back before cable TV, back when one had to check out the TV guide to make sure no shows were missed. The Christmas shows were special back then…before VCR‘s and DVD players. Tivo wasn’t around yet, and most people only received the three main channels on their sets.

I’ll admit that I bought all the Peanuts cartoons on DVD….because I wanted them….for nostalgia’s sake.

As I watched the cartoon last night I was once again struck by the fact that Linus quotes the Christmas story from the book of Luke. I dare say that any modern day Christmas shows/movies would face litigation if they quoted the Biblical story of Christmas.  Don’t you find it interesting though, that this particular cartoon has been around for 46 years and is still very much loved?

Sigh.

I sat on the couch, at 43 years old, and watched a beloved show that took me straight back to 1975. I was seven years old all over again. As I munched on some freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, I listened as Linus set his friends straight on what Christmas really means…and it made me happy all over again.

“‘8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'”  (Luke, chapter 2)

“…And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” —Linus

Thank you, Linus. The words you quoted

never grow old…even if you have been around since 1965.

 

To Behold The Indescribable

 

Shepherds moving their sheeps, between Khoy an...

Jesus came.

He……came.

The first to hear of his arrival were the shepherds.

The poor. The dirty. The ones who smelled of animals.

And yet, it was, they that were chosen.

Chosen, to behold the indescribable.

They were witness to the One that would change the world.

And change them in the process.

He came… for us too.

Those that live the ordinary lives. The average Joes. The ones that are just putting one foot in front of the other on most days.

The miracle of Christ’s birth is still as real today as it was over two thousand years ago.

Won’t you join me this season in experiencing the same awe that the shepherds had on that night?

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Luke 2:10 NIV

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Thankful on this Monday for….

*cold rain

*seasonal temperatures

*a warm sweatshirt and cozy socks

*my Christmas music on Pandora

*decorating

*hot coffee

*a new pine scented candle

*Christmas season

*Christ’s coming

*Silent Night, Holy Night

***Thank you for your patience over the past several days, while I was busy and not blogging. I enjoyed a day of thanks giving, some crazy shopping, and a great family get together to celebrate a niece’s engagement. All good…and I am thankful.***

Almost To One Thousand

Gifted Magazine: A Little Whimsy & Spice

It all began back in the cold, gray days of January.

Learning all the ways to be thankful…

One Thousand Gifts, a book whose words resonated deeply within me…

I’m currently on #842.

I could have written more…..so much more.

This Thanksgiving I am making a point to go back.

To reread all the hundreds of things I’ve written over this past year.

All the things that I am thankful for. All the things that bring me joy. All the things that God has blessed me with.

The good, and the not-so-good at the time…

all turn out to be the best for me, under God’s loving hand.

Writing all my “eucharisteo” down this year, has been the best thing I could have done.

It is an accomplishment. It has humbled me. It has made me realize something…

I am far more blessed than I realized…

and infinitely more blessed than I deserve.

I plan on continuing this life lesson.

I’m too far in, to quit now. I’ll reach one thousand by the end of the year.

Then I’ll work on two thousand, then three, because I know something, now.

I will never get to the end.

The ways to thank just keep coming.

God is that good.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Praise Him all creatures, here below.

Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  A-men.”  -Doxology

 

 

 

Standing Still In The Flow Of Time

The Capilano River.

“It is later than you think.” – Chinese Proverb

It’s late…….

and don’t I know that?

Don’t we all feel it? The way the days slip through our fingers?

Moments are gone before they even start.

A mist of memories are all that linger.

I tighten my grasp, white knuckled.

My hands clench, desperately attempting to hold them.

I am acutely aware that precious minutes are moving over me.

I just want to stand still in the flow of time…

for time to slow.

To etch the moments in my mind.

To remember…

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… Ecclesiastes 3:1  NIV

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I’ve had time on my mind lately. Some days seem very long…but, the weeks go by quickly….before I know it, a decade has slipped by me. I don’t want to miss anything. I want to know that I was present, to enjoy my moments, to love, to laugh, and be aware that they do not last forever. To be fully aware, that is part of the joy.

On A Daily Basis

a door opening on a door opening on a door...

Thankfulness on a daily basis becomes more real…

when I understand that this life, my life as I know it,  might never have been.

What if I had made different choices?

What if I had slammed the door shut on opportunity?

What  if I had said “no” to love…

or to second chances?

The daily decisions, the days of this journey, that turn into years…

the memories I have to look back on and the dreams I have yet to experience.

I thank God for His love, that makes all the rest possible.

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*piles of cookbooks

*days leading up to Thanksgiving

*Christmas crafting

*old friendship

*new friendship

*the storms

*love that weathers the storms

*faith

*my son is feeling better

*doctors and medication

*candle lanterns with warm, soft light

*the smell of dinner on the stove

*time

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ JesusI Thessalonians 5:18  NIV

Causing Me Anxiety

0610 list

Do you ever have days where you just don’t feel good? You’re not sick, per se, but you just feel yucky?

I’m having one of those days. My eyes even hurt. I just got up a couple of hours ago, so my eyes can’t be tired, and I haven’t done any eye straining work…yet, they hurt.  Ugh.

Sigh.

I’ve got a bazillion things to do today. Isn’t that always the way?  On the days when I’d rather just hibernate, I have to get up and get moving.

When I have my to do list in my head, thoughts whirling around of those things which I MUST get done, it causes me anxiety.  When I’m anxious I tend towards resembling a raving lunatic. It’s not pretty. Believe me.

Another sigh.

It’s time to pull out my Bible and read what God has to say about wives and moms that turn into maniacs when stressed out.

Aahhh…..here it is.

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4  NIV

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5  NIV

I think I’m going to add these verses to my eucharisteo list. God cares about me.

Me.

He cares.

Really, is there anything better than that?