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Tag Archives: Christmas

What God Would Want for the Christmas?

What is the first Christmas you remember? The first Christmas I remember was when I was four years old. It was also the first time I went to church after being invited by my childhood best friend and her family. I think it was a Christmas Eve event for children, complete with a children’s pageant and nativity scene. I don’t remember all of the details, but I do remember Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Amazingly, I also remember what we sang that night: “Silent Night”. And of course, I ... Read More »

When You Need a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace

On the first Sunday of Advent in 2008, we received a call that my father had finally lost his battle with alcoholism. The next week or so, as we drove back and forth to North Carolina to make funeral arrangements, I struggled with the swirl of emotions: grief, loss and sadness mixed with anger and regret. Here I was in the midst of this fresh loss right smack in the middle of the Christmas season, and everything felt raw. Christmas was hard that year. That year, I found particular comfort in the ... Read More »

A Quieter Christmas

The Sears’ catalog was already marked and dog-eared by the time it got to the youngest child. With a sheet of notebook paper I would make my list for Santa, carefully offering page and item number along with a brief description. I was unusually attentive to the task. No need for Santa to blow the one shot a year he had to make Christmas special for me because of poor penmanship or insufficient information. I’m not sure what I did with those lists or how I thought Santa would get ... Read More »

Being Christian at Christmas

It’s already December—how did that happen?! Just a minute ago, I was packing a U-Haul to take my son to his new apartment at college, and now I have to finalize my plans for Christmas before it’s too late! As my calendar slowly fills for the month (company holiday party, nonprofit fundraiser, professional networking events, holiday celebration nights out with friends, dinner parties), and I save a few late nights for shopping, wrapping and baking, I wonder, when can I fit in Jesus? Despite attempts to try and simplify the ... Read More »

Seven Creative Christmas Activities for Parents

As you may have noticed, Christmas is right around the corner. For those who have children or grandchildren, the holidays can be a great season of frenetic activity, parties, lights, decorations, shopping and more. But sometimes you want to spend quality time together that doesn’t involve leaving the house and won’t break the bank. What’s a parent to do? Below are seven activities you can do with your children when you have an afternoon free or when you’ve cleaned up from dinner and want to do something different to celebrate ... Read More »

Expectations for a “Perfect” Christmas

Advent has begun once again. We have returned from our Thanksgiving travels, and the Christmas lights are twinkling throughout the house. I have retrieved my Advent devotionals from their spot on the highest shelf in our bookcase, and here I sit once again pondering the meaning of Advent. Longing. Waiting. Expectation. Mystery. The words of Advent sometimes feel awkward and uncomfortable in our hurried, instant gratification world. With Siri at the ready to answer any question with the push of a button and Amazon available to deliver almost anything to ... Read More »

Expect the Unexpected

My phone rang unexpectedly at 7:15 in the morning earlier this week. Although some of us are up, we rarely get calls that early. It was my sister calling to wish my daughter a happy birthday. She said that she wanted to make sure she caught my daughter before she left for school that morning, so she had left herself a reminder. She reminded herself to call first thing in the morning by leaving a shoe in her kitchen sink the night before. While I have heard of tying a string around your finger, this ... Read More »

Christmas Invitations

One of the best things that we give in the weeks before Christmas is an invitation. Friends invite each other to dinner. Families invite each other to spend a day together and exchange gifts. People go out to plays and concerts. A neighborhood gathers together for a party. It is great to receive an invitation at Christmas. I encourage you to pray about who you might invite to Christmas services. Every year at our Christmas Eve services I meet people who have never been to Floris UMC before but were ... Read More »

Open My Eyes

“Silently now I wait for thee, ready, my God, thy will to see. Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!” I’ve found myself humming this refrain a lot lately, especially when I’m lighting my Advent candles. It comes from one of my favorite hymns, “Open My Eyes, That I May See” by Clara H. Scott. I think of this hymn during Advent because it reminds me of the combination of hushed expectation and the flurry of activity that surrounds us before Christmas. It is easy to get caught up in ... Read More »

Singing for God

When I was a little girl I sang in the Chorister Choir at Northminster Presbyterian Church. I would walk to the church from school on Wednesday afternoons for practice. Somehow going on a day other than Sunday was very mysterious; it made me feel like I was part of something special, like I knew something not everyone knew. I loved the choir. I loved the golden robes with big white bows around our necks. I loved singing. But most of all I loved singing in church. I loved it when ... Read More »

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