Are You All In?

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.  What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.  – Luke 1:34-38

So imagine with me…an angel has appeared and announced to Mary, Congratulations! You are single and we know you are engaged to be married to Joseph but God has chosen you to give birth to His son.

How would you respond?

Mary asked a very obvious question…Ummm…I’m a virgin, how is this possible?

Good question Mary!  It would probably be the first of at least a hundred questions I would have.

The angel Gabriel went on to explain that she would not only be with child, but that child would be the Son of God.  Mind blown! Continue reading “Are You All In?”

Down But Not Out

When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.  They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. – Luke 1:5-7

I’m wondering if you’ve ever had hopes and dreams that didn’t turn out?  A great plan that just never came to be?  I hope you can answer “no” to these questions, but my guess is, if you are breathing, you’ll probably answer “yes”.  Our circumstances may be different but dwindling hope feels the same doesn’t it? 

As I read Luke 1:5-7 I am challenged by Zechariah and Elizabeth’s response to their unfulfilled dreams and likely dwindling hopes. Continue reading “Down But Not Out”

Happy Merry Messy Christmas

I always have this image of the perfect Christmas in my mind.  A beautifully decorated tree, a wonderfully hosted party, homemade Christmas goodies, thoughtful gifts for all, family gathered round, carols by candlelight and lots of Christmas cozy.  I am sure my visions of the “perfect” Christmas come from too many Hallmark movies and too much Pinterest surfing because the “perfect” Christmas has proven to be completely elusive.

Christmas in reality is, I run out of time and energy to get it all done and I focus full-time on trying to keep my Christmas peace in the midst of the busyness and chaos and I have an ache in my heart that always tends to grow a little stronger this time of year. Perfect is hard to accomplish but messy seems quite achievable! Continue reading “Happy Merry Messy Christmas”

Presence Not Presents

At Christmas time we celebrate the gift of God’s presence when He came that first Christmas day born as a baby.  The gift of God’s mind blowing plan to send His one and only son to the world to be present with us, to live life and give His life for ours so that we can live together forever is so amazing!

Presence matters to God because relationship matters to God.  As we celebrate at Christmas the amazing love that came down from heaven for us, I want to talk about the gift of your presence as well.

1 John 4:10-11.  This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.  Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

Our #1 mission in life as Christ followers is to show the love of God to those around us and one of the best ways we can do that is by simply being present.

What might look different about the next few weeks of “hustle and bustle” if we cared less about the to do list, about the shopping, about making everything just right and fitting everything in and concerned ourselves more with being present with those around us?  As you seek to find the perfect gifts for those you love, consider that what they might want from you are not presents, but Presence. Continue reading “Presence Not Presents”

The Gift of Presence

At Christmas time we talk a lot about presents, what people want, maybe what they want Santa to bring and we add these wanted items to our shopping list, but God has been chatting with me about a different kind of present, P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E.

If there was no Jesus, there would be no Christmas.  His presence in this world, Him coming to the scene, being born so He could die for us means everything.

“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name, Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14

Jesus’s presence and arrival on this earth is the very reason why we celebrate Christmas. His name Immanuel, means God With Us!  God with you and God With Me!  God gets the importance of presence!! Continue reading “The Gift of Presence”

The Way He Came

Growing up, we always had beautiful packages under the tree.  My dad would spend hours, usually on Christmas Eve into the wee hours of Christmas morning, wrapping every gift, making the bows look just so.  I don’t think the man believes in gift bags!

While I enjoyed the beautiful wrapping and the effort my dad put into the pretty packages, the greatest gift I’ve ever received did not come in ornate wrapping.  The hands down, greatest gift I’ve ever received, was delivered in a dirty manger wrapped in rags.  The greatest gift of all time, in the plainest of wrapping. Continue reading “The Way He Came”

#ChristmasIsOverrated

I promise I’m not trying to be a Grinch here, but as I look around, I’m not thinkin’ this Christmas thing is all it’s touted to be. It’s supposed to be holly and jolly, merry and bright, but from where I sit there are a good many around me who aren’t feeling a whole lot of Christmas cheer.

You see this is the thing I’ve noticed about Christmas, it amplifies the hurt and struggle we may feel on any given day by at least ten fold! Continue reading “#ChristmasIsOverrated”