Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

advent musings and devo ideas

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Waiting. Play a game with your kids and a stop watch. Set it up by making this a contest to see who can guess when a minute has elapsed. Press start on the watch and have your children guess when a minute is up. Have someone record each guess until the minute is over. Closest to the actual 1 minute mark “wins.” Try 2 minutes for a challenge. This illustrates our skewed sense of time and we tend to think it moves faster that it seems.

Waiting is watching and wanting but not having. It is often the hardest thing about life. I used to think it was waiting when I was a kid and i wanted it now. But, now as an adult waiting seems even harder.

As a culture we don’t like to wait. We’ve invented tons of technology to shorten the wait. We have microwaves, drive thru’s, expressways, online shopping and measure computer speeds in kbs, that is kilobytes per second! We also dislike waiting so much that we distract our waiting with music, TV or other noise.

Waiting has always been especially hard at Christmas time. Ask your kids. How many excited little ones have spent the night awake in bed waiting for Christmas morning and the presents that await?

There are several scriptures and examples of Luke 2:25 mentions Simeon as waiting for the consolation of Israel. How does the scripture describe Simeon? Righteous, devout, Holy Spirit filled. What do those characteristics have to do with waiting?

Then Galatians 4:4 reminds us that waiting on God is a good thing because God’s timing is perfect. The “fullness of time” illustrates how waiting and God’s timing go together. The culture, language and roads of that Roman era were key to the spread of the gospel. In another instance in Luke 12:36 Jesus reminds us to always be ready even though we wait. And Titus 2:13 reminds us we are waiting for something even better than Christmas, the second appearing of Jesus.

Christmas is about waiting. We wait for family to arrive, for meals to get ready, for presents to be opened. But we also need to wait for Jesus. Yes he is already here but if we plan out our schedules to the minute, drown out spiritual reminders with noise we really might miss Him. Take some time and pause wait a minute or two in silence. Light a candle, turn out/dim the lights and thank Jesus for being Christmas.

What are some things you remember waiting on?

How does waiting help you be a better person?

What if God waits on us and our obedience to Him?

Looking around

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

I was at a elementary school choir concert last night watching Corinne. Somewhere around the first or second song I noticed something almost every kid did, especially if they had a part speaking, singing or “moving.” After their part or sometimes right before they would look out and check to see if their parent/s were looking. Then, when they made eye contact with them there was a smile a mile long. It was incredible!

I watched as kid after kid stepped up to a microphone and searched the crowded cafeteria for their family. I could only imagine parents leaning forward, waving some whistled and as soon as the child realized they were ”seen” they seemed to glow. Parents have an incredible power and responsibility to encourage and affirm their children. It appeared as if the simple “look” was all that mattered, not the performance but their presence.

I began to think about our Heavenly Father looking down at us. I know he is constantly watching I just wonder if we are looking for Him.

Christmas time

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

It all about the name. I started a Bible reading plan for this Christmas season through the YouVersion Bible. Check them out if you haven’t already. It is free and contains a bunch of versions/translations.

Recently, the focus for one of the devotionals was in Isaiah 9 and the names and titles of the Messiah.

6 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.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
   there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
   and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
   with justice and righteousness
   from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
   will accomplish this.

 The activitiy for the day was to listen to part of Handel’s Messiah and meditate on one of the titles given to Jesus. Great stuff. Involve your kids and have them pick their favorite, too.

Thank You God for Jesus!

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas style

Monday, December 20th, 2010

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,

Strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,

But do not show love to my family,

I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,

preparing gourmet meals and arranging beautifully adorned table at mealtime,

But do not show love to my family,

I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home,

And give all that I have to charity,

It profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes,

Attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata,

But do not focus on  Christ,

I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the wife.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn’t envy another ’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table  linens.

Love doesnt’ yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t .

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust…but giving the gift of love will endure.

Fractured Christmas carols

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I found some funny stuff from an old file. These come from a Youth Specialties subscription email I had years ago, 2002! You know how you hear some songs and wonder what the lyrics are. Sometime we just fill in the blanks and “make up” a line or two. Imagine what kids hear…for example. They asked kids about the titles and lines from some standards:

Deck the Halls with Buddy Holly

We 3 Kings of Porridge and Tar

On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me

Later on we’ll perspire, as we dream by the fire

He’s makin’ a list, chicken and rice

Noel. Noel, Barney’s the king of Israel.

With the jelly toast proclaim

Olive, the other reindeer…

Frosty the Snowman is a ferret elf they say…

Sleep in heavenly peas

In the meadow we can build a snowman, Then pretend that he is sparse and brown

You’ll go down in Listerine

Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap and hay

Come, froggy faithful

You’ll tell Carol, “Be a skunk, I require” (I think that is – Yuletide carol being sung by a fire?)

I’ll have a Big one

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I was just looking through a list o f Christmas songs/carols the other day and a title caught my attention. It is a tried and true standard so I’m pretty sure the modifier doesn’t mean too much, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” But, I just had to think why a “little” Christmas?

It could mean a bunch of things and really doesn’t take away from Christmas. The song sings of friends and traditions so relationships are important. It also speaks of the present and too often we miss out on that, too.  And, little could mean real  or at the minimum, don’t miss the whole experience. I’m all for a true experience of the real meaning of Christmas.

However, the more I thought of Christmas the more I thought Christmas needs to be experienced in the biggest way possible because it is Jesus we celebrate. The Christmas gift is Jesus himself and that was no little exchange. Make it BIG. Celebrate Jesus with all your enthusiasm, gifts, family and friends. Give and received with Him in mind. Decorate with all you can. Sing loud with joy. Eat big, too! He is the reason to make it a Big deal.

Already?!?

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Several weeks back I walked through a local mega-store and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was prior to Halloween and there were displays of Christmas wrapping paper, decorations and ideas. I was shocked! Two months away, two holidays to celebrate before  we get there and already there was stuff to be had. Then the week after Halloween I noticed a snow globe with a Christmas scene in a yard. REALLY? And now local shopping centers and stores are already in full sparkling colors of Christmas.

I must have said my thoughts and feelings out loud because as we drove by a display last week one of my kids declared that it was too early to be decorating for Christmas!

However, as I think about it, is it really too early, ever? My quiet time was interrupted with that thought this week and the more I considered it the more it became clear that we can and should  look forward to Christmas now. Children surely do, they make their wish lists for the next Christmas on the 26th. Some of the early adopters are decorators who are already putting the finishing, twinkling touches on their home decor. So, too, we as Christians should be anticipating Jesus even now. Before the busy-ness. Before the barrage of parties. Before the crowds of shoppers drain us of our patience. Before the materialism of bigger and better. We would do well to look for Jesus now, each day and at all  hours no matter the season. What are you dreading…looking forward too?

How was your Christmas?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

I was reflecting on the day late last night and it dawned on me,  it has been a month since Christmas. Wow, I know time flies but come on, that was fast. Those thoughts made me inventory my life since Christmas and specifically the impact of Christmas.

I still have a couple of gift cards left,  I’ve used a couple of the gifts, eaten the candy and worn some articles of clothing but what about Jesus’ entry into our world. Am I already back into the same old rut and daily pattern?

I definitely sensed a “nearness” throughout the holidays. It was in the songs, sermons and devotionals. Family and friends made great memories, too. However, the focus that led up to December 25 was replaced with a focus on new tasks and due dates. I needed that reminder last night to celebrate Jesus is here! Don’t miss it no matter how great and thoughtful the gifts were or what’s next on your calendar. What lasts beyond the big day is Jesus…everyday.

Where did we get

Monday, December 8th, 2008

Black Friday and Cyber Monday? I heard people talking about Black Friday and I couldn’t remember a recent ”Great Depression.” Then it was mentioned in future tense and realized it is the Friday after Thanksgiving. I know it is a BIG shopping day but shouldn’t it be a little happier than Black Friday. Did we forget to think about the other people we’re getting gifts for…or, do we simply focus on the traffic, crowds and lines?

Cyber Monday…that is just, I don’t know what. Commercialized?

Tell someone “Merry Christmas” and enjoy the season!

Christmas lights

Monday, December 1st, 2008

I was looking at my work of stringing lights around the yard and our two token oak trees in front. When it is dark it looks great. Bright white lights lit up the branches giving them a silvery tone. This little scraggly tree became something grand instead of something I mow around. The beautiful effect of the lights reminded me of what makes Christmas great. Then, the next morning I looked and couldn’t believe how the wires wrapped this way and that looked kind of ugly and unplanned. I’m no yard artist for sure.

Remember the season as Jesus, Light of the world, brings light to life and makes things new.