The Time Machine: Great Joy!

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

This is a short devotional thought from an Advent series I shared on my radio show in 2010. Still an awesome reminder of just how great our joy is when we find it in Jesus!

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“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

Luke 2:9-11 (NIV)

Our Advent theme this week is joy! Christ’s birth was to “cause great joy for all the people”. The nation of Israel had been waiting for a saviour – and He was finally here! When we look around at the need in our world, we can rejoice that we haven’t been left alone to figure it all out ourselves. We can rejoice that Emmanuel – God with Us – has come to bring salvation, and has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us. We are not alone! Amazing!

baby jesus

The Time Machine: Presents or Presence?

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

I wrote these thoughts just before Christmas 2015.

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As we draw closer to the holidays, I’ve been thinking a lot about the relationship between presents and presence.  We long to connect with each other so we give presents that show our love.  How awesome!  But even more so, I’ve been feeling like I need to BE more present.

I love giving presents. It’s so awesome to see my girls’ faces when they open up their gifts! And my husband’s reactions are nearly as fantastic.

But presence itself?  Hmm.  That’s a bit tougher.  Somehow it’s easier to wrap something up in shiny paper or a smiley status update or an instagram filter than it is to actually call my grandma, invite someone for dinner, or even send that text I’ve been meaning to send for weeks, no months.  Has it been a year already?  Too embarrassed to send it now.

Hold on, I’m just checking out my messages.  Just checking out my newsfeed.

Maybe just checking out.

What if, over the course of this holiday season and as a precursor for the year to come, we put the phone down for a while?

So we can get down on the floor and play.

So we can slow down and hear the heart of the matter.

So we can let down those walls and make room for Jesus, King of Glory.

I love Christmas because I love how it shows us God’s heart:  Emmanuel, GOD WITH US.  God did not only give us hope and peace and love and joy – He gave us Himself when He sent His Son into the world as a baby on that very first Christmas.

What if our gift to the King in the manger is to surrender to Him wholly and completely?

What if our spiritual act of worship this Christmas is to choose not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12)?

And what if we let that change the way we do life, becoming invitational and present in the moments He has given specifically to us?  No one else is uniquely placed where we are right now in life.  Only we can give our attention and love.

The King of Kings has come!  He is with us so we can be with Him!  And He gives us everything we need, so that we can give everything back to Him.

I love to celebrate the Christmas season.  Bring on the presents, tree, carols, cookies and lights.  They are beautiful traditions that reflect the heart of the Father who gives good gifts to His children.

In all those moments, though, I long to be available, engaged and grateful, with a heart of worship.

Because here’s the thing:  being truly present in a moment that matters will matter more than all the presents under all the trees for the rest of our lives.

candle

The Time Machine: To Myself – Read this when the kids are grown

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

I wrote this to wrap up 3 Weeks of Thanks one year when I had no kids in school. I love these memories!

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The sun is bouncing into the living room right now, warming the floor and inviting me to nap right there beside the toy box   All.  after.  noon.

Alas, it is not to be.

But it sure is beautiful.

I want to remember this moment forever.  I will probably forget it when the next cloudy day comes along, because you really don’t remember exactly how glorious the sun feels until it’s right there on your face or your feet or whatever happens to be in reach.

I’ve got an inquisitive 4 year old asking me questions from the table behind me, while munching on the bread we made this morning in the bread maker.  She is an expert ingredient-adder, and always has to taste the flour (I don’t know why, I always tell her it tastes gross by itself).

“How’s the bread?” I ask.

“Good.  Do we have any more pears?” comes the reply.

“Nope,” I answer.

And she is on her way to look for a cowboy hat and a half-crocheted yellow scarf that doubles as a rope she uses to lasso anyone and everything.  Today she is Jessie the Yodelling Cowgirl from Toy Story 2.

The other two are napping for the moment.  A quick morning playtime in the backyard in the crisp fall air and warm sunshine, and that about does them in well for nap time.

Then, all at once, little voices echo from down the hall.

Everyone is awake.

These are the moments I will probably forget, because you can’t really remember everything after all, can you?

How I wish I could freeze time and hold this in perfect detail in my heart, and save it for when they grow up and go away and do the wonderful things (and the awful things) that adult children do.  For when I actually have to let go for real.

I know there will be grace then too, as there is grace now.

sunflower

3 Weeks of Thanks is nearly at an end for another year.  This weekend, we gather with loved ones over food prepared by hands full of love, and in this way return our love to the One who loved us first.

Generations gather.  Moms who once were where I am now will watch their own sons and daughters do what they once did, around this Thanksgiving table.  And we carry on in this way, each year getting a bit older and maybe even a bit wiser.

We give thanks – together.

What an absolutely beautiful tradition.

3WT Week #3

We love because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 (NIV)

The Time Machine: 3 Weeks of Thanks Week 2

The Time Machine series features posts from years past.

This week I’m continuing with 3 Weeks of Thanks. It’s tough when you’re in the middle of raising kids to stop and remember the little things, and that’s why I’m so glad I posted this a few years ago! This is one of my favourite memories of a quiet moment with our oldest daughter, who turns seven this winter. She was nearly three years old at the time.

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pink clouds

Pink clouds one October morning

This morning I got to watch the sunrise with my oldest daughter.

“What’s that pink stuff?”  she asked.

“The clouds.  They sometimes turn pink in the morning,” I explained.

“When’s they come back?”

“Usually when the sun goes down.”

It was a particularly beautiful way to start the day!

3WT Week#2:

Romans 1:20 (NIV)

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.