Christmas

So happy to be sharing this amazing day with all of you. Hoping you are having a wonderful, blessed, full-of-love day. If any of you are alone today, we reach out to you to let you know you are never alone because we love you and are with you in spirit. Remembering those who are no longer with us and feeling the loss of their presence. Sharon and Erick

20150512_164034

Why I love Christmas

When Christ was born, so was our hope! This is why I love Christmas. The event invites us to believe the wildest of promises! He did away with every barrier, fence, sin, bent, debt, and grave. Anything that might keep us from him was demolished.

He only awaits our word to walk through the door. Invite him in. Escort him to the seat of honor, and pull out his chair. Clear the table; clear the calendar. Call the kids and neighbors. Christmas is here. Christ is here. One request from you, and God will do again what he did then. He’ll scatter the night with everlasting light. He’ll be born in you.

Let “Silent Night” be sung! Every heart can be a manger. Every day can be a Christmas.  The Christmas miracle—a yearlong celebration! ~Max Lucado

Merry Christ mas to all of you!

More of Christ!

In Bethlehem, the human being who best understood who God was and what he was doing, is a teenage girl in a smelly stable. As Mary looks into the face of the baby.  Her son. Her Lord.  His majesty—she can’t take her eyes off him.  Somehow Mary knows she’s holding God. So this is he. She remembers the words of the angel.  “His kingdom will never end!”

He looks like anything but a king. His cry, though strong and healthy, is still the helpless and piercing cry of a baby. Majesty in the midst of the mundane.  Holiness in the filth of sheep manure and sweat.  Divinity entering the world on the floor of a stable, through the womb of a teenager and in the presence of a carpenter.

God came near!

“And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.

Luke 1:33″

~ Max Lucado

Touch the World

She brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped
Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger.
Luke 2:7, NKJV

Where will God go to touch the world? 

What a great thought and even better question.

It’s that time of year when we hear about the virgin birth.

And yet, it’s more, much more, that a Christmas story.

It’s a story of how close Christ will come to you.

The first step on his itinerary was a womb. 

Where will God go to touch the world? 

Look deep within Mary for an answer. 

Better still, look deep within yourself.

“Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27 NIV).

Christ grew in Mary until he had to come out.

Christ will grow in you until the same occurs.

He will come out in your speech,

in your actions,

in your decisions.

Every place you live will be a Bethlehem,

and every day you live will be a Christmas.

You,

like Mary,

will deliver Christ into the world.

~ Max Lucado

Because what we’re really getting ready for is Love

Preparing for the holidays is primarily a preparing of the heart.

Because what comes down is love and the way to receive love isn’t to wrap anything up — but to unwrap your heart.

This will take time.

This will take waiting.

I must make space for these.

Why don’t I make space just for the heart unwrapping?

Advent — this is the season of preparing that prepares us for any season of life — because we are preparing our lives for Christ to enter in — which prepares for us the life without end.

Is that the ultimate purpose of this life — the preparing for the next life?

Is this why Christmas, Advent, unlike any other time of year, glimmers with a glimpse of heaven — because it’s the time of year we’re fulfilling our purpose, preparing for Christ and His coming again? The Christmas tree’s been lit for weeks, a beacon, a preparing, an anticipation. Why is it easier to make Christmas cookies than to make our hearts ready for Christ?

Is getting ready for Christmas as simple and difficult as simply sitting stilled before the cradle of Christ?

And yet.

Love came down and “He came to his own people, and his own people did not receive him.”

(John 1:11)

Love came down – and his own people did not recognize Him.

Love came down — and His own people did not want what He offered.

The Messiah came down and He wasn’t received as the Messiah — and Love comes down down and who receives all the moments as His love?

 

How in the world am I receiving Christ this Advent?

During Advent, the season of waiting for the coming, the Christ-people, they meet whatever comes with this brazen belief that it is Love that Comes Down.

Love comes down to His own people — and His own people are the ones who do receive the unexpected and unlikely as His love.

The infant as infinite God.

The Babe as bondage-breaker.

The stump as new shoot, the ugly as beautiful, the weak as strong.

Our loving God always comes to us wrapped in the unlikely.

We may not know the outcome but we tenaciously believe that in Him we overcomebecause Love comes down.

Is that how we get ready for Christmas? By readying the heart to receive the gift of every moment — no matter what the moment unexpectedly holds — as a gift of His love?

We’re ready for Christmas, not when we have all the gifts, but when we are ready for Christ — when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ.

At the end of the day, the carols hardly play, and yet I hear them.

I light the candles at the hearth.

And I can feel how it comes.

The warmth and the flame and this slow unwrapping of everything bound…

***

ANN VOSKAMP