Christmas Morning Hope

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Little children are God’s ongoing witness of His kingdom: a perpetual reminder of what it means to belong to the father. Children are an unspoken sermon in every home for simplicity, joy, and humility of that which makes the world worth living in. They remind us what it means to be a real Christian.

Winkie Pratney

We love Christmas at our house. Sometime in November, my husband starts asking what I want for Christmas and talking about what he wants.

I love his excitement for Christmas. We both grew up with Christmas being a BIG deal. When I was growing up, we got a real Christmas tree every year. We crammed it into a corner in our living room so that it’s colorful lights could be seen through the front door by people passing by. It was usually a blue spruce from the state of Michigan (just a slight distance from our Dallas home!) We spent an entire day early in December putting “Christmas” on anything in our house that stood still for long enough. We even had little trees for all of our bedrooms. Good luck finding a room without the Christmas spirit in my childhood home every December!

Christmas morning my siblings and I all waited on the stairs until my mom and dad emerged from their bedroom. It seemed to take forever! Now I am guessing it was probably about 5:45am. We weren’t allowed to turn the corner and let our eyes capture what lay underneath the tree until the family camcorder was rolling. Remember those subtle home video cameras from the late ‘80s? Dad propped it up on his shoulder and we were finally allowed to turn the corner!

Every year anticipation and excitement flooded my heart. I can’t remember a year when I felt anxious about what was under the tree. I knew that my mom and dad loved me, and that they wanted to bless me. I wasn’t spoiled, but I knew that my parents loved me and wanted to give me good gifts. I never sat on those stairs sweating and fearing the unknown. Each year we got to give our parents a list of three things that we desired, and I knew I could trust my parents to do what was best for me with that list.

You and me are sitting on those stairs. There are things around the corner that we don’t know. There are things in boxes under the tree, and we don’t know what is in them. Somewhere along the way we may have lost our ability to embrace the mystery and get excited about the gifts that lie in our future.

What do you need to believe today to get back the place of Christmas Morning Hope?

This post is an exert from Embracing Mystery, if you’d like to read more you can find out how to get the book  here.

 

 

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when rest is best…

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The day before I would turn 27 weeks, my doctor came into the room. My usually laid back doctor gave me strict orders for bedrest. My sweet baby A in true first born fashion appeared ready to meet the world, and it seemed my body was trying to begin the labor process.

I cried imagining their tiny frames outside of mine. I knew about how much they weighed and it was so hard to picture them in the outside world. We came home that day and our lifestyle suddenly, drastically changed.

My second trimester was wonderful. After a couple months of throwing up all too easily, the nausea was gone, and my energy returned. The pantry got organized. I made bows. We made much needed storage runs to make room for our twins on the way in our two bedroom apartment. I even cooked and ate salmon. Then in November, I traveled to California, and to my parents house 5 hours away for Thanksgiving. I was gone a total of 20 days. I attended a conference, had a baby shower, was a bridesmaid in one of my dearest friends wedding, Chuck did a wedding, and we spoke at a school of ministry.

When we got back from Thanksgiving at my parents, I ferociously went through all the baby things my sister sent back with us. I washed all the newborn and preemie clothes, bought those sweet little baby hangers, and hung them in their closet. The swing was in multiple pieces, so I wrested with that a bit and got it all set up. We went to get our first Christmas tree at Lowe’s the next day, and I even helped carry it up to our 2nd floor apartment.

It felt so good to accomplish so much. I love to achieve. Then came the screeching halt. And in a moment, rest became what was best. For my personality, unfortunately I needed to be forced to a place of rest. I’d felt a still, small voice telling me to, “slow down” a good bit before my doctor prescribed it.

Something deeper is happening in me. Something I can’t see. Something I cannot check off on a to-do list. My body is growing life, two lives! Every day they are making strides and growing stronger. And I need to rest and let it happen.

It’s interesting to me that the God who never sleeps nor slumbers chose to rest on the 7th day. There are so many aspects of rest that I still don’t get, but clearly God wanted us to prioritize it. He wants to heal us from our performance based mindsets, and set us free to realize that as we rest He accomplishes so much more than we ever could.

Praying today that as a mama, I can be like Mary who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” and not get lost in the piles and to-do’s that are inevitable. Praying the same for you this Christmas season, that in the midst of the busyness you will find time to be still and to rest.

Love,

Anna