I don’t know about you but I am looking for Revival in 2022. I think our world is a bit tired of the way things have been for the past couple of years at least anyway. I know my heart is. So today I want to be intentional about setting myself up to revive my spiritual life.  

Yesterday we talked about making goals for the upcoming year. I hope that you have thought about it and made a few goals for yourselves. I talked about my practical goals my health, and my creativity and exercising my mind. And I talked about some spiritual goals. 

One other thing I do every year about this time is I choose a focus word for the new year. I have been praying over that this week too. I think my focus word for the new year will be ENOUGH. I have picked out several devotionals in the Youversion app to read that have the word enough in it. But as I think through that word there are lots of things that come to mind. 

Webster’s definition of enough is: 

 In or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction: SUFFICIENTLY

I like that definition. 

I want to live from the fact that I am ENOUGH in who I am in Jesus. I have always struggled with feeling like I was enough. I am not smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough. I have always felt like I fall short of being enough things to people. What I want to know and what I want to remember is that I am enough for Jesus. Whether I am liked by people is not nearly as important as whether I am liked by Jesus! I am enough for Him because of what He did for me on the cross. 

I also want to know that Jesus is ENOUGH for me. Even when things don’t go my way, Jesus is ENOUGH. When the world feels like it is falling apart from pandemics or riots or craziness, Jesus is ENOUGH. When the diagnosis comes or the healing that we’ve been praying for doesn’t, Jesus is ENOUGH. When there is more month than there is money, Jesus is ENOUGH. 

I am not sure where else the word ENOUGH will take me this year, but I am looking forward to finding out. 

What about you? Have you set your goals? Do you choose a focus word for the year? Whatever it looks like for you, the most important goal I think any of us can set is to get with Jesus every day. I’d love to hear what yours are if you are so inclined to share. 

But for now, please have a safe and Happy New Year! 


I have spent the first part of this week looking at the past year, hat has worked and what has not. I have spent time resting in who my Father made me to be and in His love for me. I have focused my mind on the things that I know restore me. Today I want to start to look forward. I want to look at some personal goals that I have for the New Year. I don’t like to call them resolutions as resolutions are made to be broken. These are things I want to do to be a better me. 

  1. I want to get healthier. Oh I’d love to lose weight but to me saying I am going to lose weight sounds like a resolution. I don’t want just losing weight to be my focus but I want to exercise more and to eat better. If weight loss comes that will be the bonus. 
  1. I want to be more consistent in my creativity. I think creativity fuels my heart and my soul. I am a better person when I am tapping in to my creativity.
  1. I want to read more. I have set goals of a book a month in the past and attained them but it’s been a couple of years since I have done this. I think it’s good for my mind if I keep reading. 
  1. And my main focus is my spiritual goals. I will stay in the word in some way.   

I am still ironing out how my spiritual goals will look this year and the direction for Restore. I’d love to hear from you if you had an idea for the direction you would like for me to take. But I also have reading that I do and studying that is for no one but me and Jesus. In the past I have read the Bible through. This past year I was listening to the Bible through in the NLT. For study I usually start with the ESV and then I will read other translations to get clearer understanding of scripture but listening has been just for me and Jesus. One year I chose to read through the gospels every month and another year I read through them every quarter of the year in different translations. Did you know there are 89 chapters in the four gospels? That is perfect for reading a chapter a day for 3 months. 

What are your goals for the year? If you are looking for resources to read the Bible through, let me suggest the Youversion app. I use Youversion every day in my reading. I will read short devotional plans and I will let it keep my place on my Bible reading plan. Don’t get me wrong I do still love to get my Bible in my hands but I will read in the app a lot too and it tends to keep me on track. Also there is a podcast by Tara Leigh Cobble called The Bible Recap. She will give you a reading for the day and then you can listen to her recap what you read. It is a great tool for understanding. She will point things out in scripture that I just simply did not see there. 

The most important thing is to get into scripture. 

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Don’t choose reading your Bible through in a year just to read the Bible through in a year. If you choose just one verse a day, or one Psalm a day or to read through the gospels in a month or 89 days, read it with intentionality. I used to set the goals and then get caught up in the goals. What is most important to me now is to read and then let it do its work in me. 

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

The bottom line is I can read scripture every day to check off the box, but that is not what I want. I want to read scripture daily to let it change me, I want to keep my spiritual life healthy just as much as I want my physical life and my creative life and my mind to be healthy. I hope this week you have been looking at what goals you can set for the New Year too. 


Well, it’s no wonder that I would use this word during my inventory week is it? This is my catch word. But why? What does this word mean to me? 

“He restores my soul? He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

I have learned what it means to let God restore my soul. Especially when I feel like I am at the end of myself. My task is to set myself in a posture to be restored by Him. It is not just going to happen unless I am in the right posture or frame of mind. I must set myself ready to be restored. Now I know that God could strike me like He did Saul on the road to Damascus. But I have found that He moves in my life more when I am in a ready posture for Him to do so. He restores me when I am looking to be restored. He WILL lead me in paths that are for my good and for the good of others if for no other reason at all because I am His and it is a strong testament to Him not to me. 

Have you found the things that restore your soul? One of the most important things for me is a my daily time I spend with Jesus. Long lazy mornings with my Bible and my journal on my porch are the constants that I must have and do for soul restoration. Especially after a long busy, hustle and bustle season. And might I add, its imperative DURING the long busy season as well if I am to accomplish all the tasks that are put before me. This week, this inventory week, I am quite blessed to work for a school so that I don’t have to hit the door running immediately after the busy holiday season. I usually get at least a week after Christmas to spend my time reflecting, resting and asking Him for the restoration my soul needs. 

What are some things that restore your soul? I like to, and need to take more long walks. I am not a power walker for exercise, although I need to be, but if life seems to be beating up on me quite a bit, I do notice I handle things better and differently when I engage in long walks. I also love kayaking and while our lake has been down for quite a while, that is not something I have been able to do much of this year. I look forward to spring and hope to do more of it. There is nothing like being on the water early in the morning just floating along and taking in God’s beautiful creation. 

Another thing that restores my soul is being creative, painting or sewing. I find that when I take time to busy my hands, that my mind doesn’t have quite as much time to busy itself. It helps me to get out of my head just a bit and to create. Painting is my go to creative outlet these days but I have been a seamstress and I have done ceramics in the past. I believe that God gives every one of us a creative outlet and that it is meant to give our soul restoration. Think on it, what’s yours? It could be cooking or organizing. It could be any number of things. You will know it when you find it and once you find it you will know when you need it for your soul. 

This week is a week for me to think on the things that will restore me. And to spend a little time in them and to set myself up for them in the future. 

Think on this for yourself. Ask yourself a few questions. Are you weary? Is it just being tired coming off of a busy season or is life in general or circumstances getting you down? Have you been through some sort of loss? A job, a relationship, a ….. person?  If you have you may need to take an inventory too, or you may just need to take an inventory just because we are leaving one year and entering another. Whatever your reason when you are taking your inventory, ask your heavenly Father what you can do for soul restoration? And then do it! I say this because we can sit around all day and think about taking a long walk and never get around to it. But when I make myself, when I go put on my shoes and actually head outside and do it, is when I will feel better. The same for painting, I just gave up my studio because my son moved into it for a while and the place that I paint now is a little less convenient than my former studio. But when I take the extra steps it takes to get some paint on me and on a canvas, my soul just feels better and more like it can take on the next steps of life. 

If I’m not careful I just think about it like the story in John chapter 5 about the man at the Pool of Bethesda. He laid there at the pool for 38 years waiting to be helped to get in, when all he had to do was get in himself. Let’s take the time this week and see where our souls need restoration and let’s ask Him to show us the best way! And then let’s just do it! 

Love you my friends! 


The hustle and the bustle is over for the most part. I still have a couple more Christmas celebrations to attend. Some people already have their Christmas decorations down and tucked away for the next year. I usually leave mine up until New Year’s Day. But one thing I love about this week between Christmas and New Year is that as I’m taking my inventory to see the direction God wants me to head in my spiritual life over the coming year, is that it usually brings me a little slower pace. My full time job is for a school district, therefore I am blessed to have a little down time over the holidays which cause me to have time to rest and to think on rest. 

This has actually been a bit of a theme for me recently. I keep choosing books on rest or living from a quiet place within me, or ceasing to strive. One such book I read this year was by Christy Nockels, “The Life You Long For”. It is about “Learning to Live from a Heart of Rest”. I picked up this book because I was a fan of Christy’s music and then her podcast. I’ve actually been a fan of hers long before I knew I was a fan of hers. I noticed her several years ago when I would take students to the Passion conferences in Atlanta every year. I always loved hearing her soothing voice when she sang. Then I found out that she and her husband were Watermark, a duo from the 90s in Christian music that I loved. And then I found that she wrote one of my very favorite Point of Grace songs that has become my theme song, Who Am I (not the one by Casting Crowns). But anyway in this book, Christy invited me to learn how to live as the Beloved of Christ which is who we are when we are found in Him. We live in a hurry up and hustle kind of world but when we live as His Beloved instead of always striving for the next hurried thing then we are found to be in the community of the Beloved and we live out our calling. Our highest calling is to enjoy God and to be loved by Him. It’s not in what we do for Him. It’s simply knowing Him. I do think that God gives us services to do, such as leading bible study, cleaning the church, taking food to sick or grieving people, but our calling is to love Him and be loved by Him, and when we serve out of the capacity that His love gives us then it’s not burdensome. 

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Jesus offers us rest from the labor and the heavy things of life. I want to practice resting in Him. When I do that I find that whatever service that He calls me to are richer to the one who receives it from me as well as to me. He blesses my rest in Him. 

Another book I was drawn to in this season of my life is “When Strivings Cease” by Ruth Chou Simons. Ruth is an artist and a writer and most of her books feature some of her art work as well as her writing. I am in the middle of this book but it seems to be about the same theme of learning to live from Him rather than from my own thoughts of striving for the next bigger better thing. 

I want to challenge you that as you sit and reflect this week on the past year and you look to the next year and set a few goals you want to accomplish (I refuse to call them resolutions) take some time to rest in Him. This can look lots of different ways, but I suggest you start with scripture. I like devotionals, I have many and I may at any given time be reading two or three different ones, but they are never meant to replace scripture. If you don’t know where to start I would suggest the gospels, or the Psalms or Proverbs. Then just sit and listen to what He wants to say to you. I also suggest journaling thoughts. This doesn’t have to be fancy, I use composition books. I have had beautiful fancy journals but it seems my favorite thing I return to is usually just a composition book or a spiral bound notebook. But most of all, spend time with your Father. I promise you when you do that, when you take the time to ask Him for direction, when you lay all the things that tangle your mind up down at His feet, that is when you are leaning in to His heart and your heart will be more at rest. 


This is my inventory week. This is the week that I look back at the past year and see what worked and what didn’t, what I might want to change and what I might want to keep the same. It’s the week that I think about what I learned in the past year and what I want to learn in the coming year so that I keep growing, and keep my mind as sharp as it can possibly be for a simple minded woman. Where do I want to grow in my home life, in my work life and most importantly in my spiritual life? I start this with making a list of the 10 things I learned in the past year. It’s a way to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Some I hate to admit are re-learns and some are new to me. If you allow me I will share my list here today. 

1. Trust the Process. This is probably a re-learn or a still learning. But it seems to be a theme that keeps coming up in various circles of my life. I have been walking this walk with Jesus for a long time and I have seen Him answer a lot of prayers for me over time and yes it builds my faith. Yet I still fall into the trap of wanting and wishing He would answer me immediately for some of my prayers. Yet these 3 words keep coming up over and over. I have heard them in sermons, in podcasts and even felt them in my spirit when I was praying over something so that I know that is what Holy Spirit is saying to me. When you look in scripture, rarely did you see an instant answer. David waited approximately 15 years to become king after he was anointed king. The Israelites wandered the wilderness 40 years and Israel waited hundreds of years for the promised Messiah before Jesus was born. There is a process and we humans can’t rush the process, God has a purpose and a plan for every individual and everything under the heavens. We don’t understand His timing but we can be assured that His timing is perfect. 

“This God – his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30

We can also know that the process to our answered prayers begins the minute we utter the first request. No matter how long it takes, He’s on it. 

“Then he said to me, ‘Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.’” Daniel 10:12

2. Quiet mornings are good for my Soul! This may be a re-learn too. But I know that being an early riser is what helps me to be a better person. I need my time with Jesus or I can assure you I would not be a very pleasant person to be around. 

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

3. Relinquish control, I never really had it in the first place. I think the last couple of years have probably taught a lot of us this one. After two of the strangest years of my lifetime, I have learned that I may as well hold the things in my heart loosely. There are things I have wanted to hold tight to, my family, my health, my friends. I like to hold tight to the things I love. The problem is when you hold on too tight you can start to suffocate, either them or you. I am learning that I can hang on to the things that are important with more of an open hand. What I mean here is I can hold them in my heart all the while I lay them at Jesus’ feet. I can’t fix people, I can’t fix circumstances but I can treasure them in my heart and I can lay them down at Jesus feet, and I can ask Jesus to fix me in the – ahem – process!

4. Hope is not lost. Even when I think things aren’t going as I think they should, as long as I have Jesus, there is always hope. 

“And hope does not put us to shame (disappoint NKJV), because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:5

Paul was talking here about having faith through our sufferings and knowing that our suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character and character produces hope. (see the process again!) 

5. Life may not go as I think it is supposed to but it’s usually how it should. Again, I’ve learned to take my hands off more and let chips fall where they may. Or rather to stop trying to juggle the balls in the air myself. 

6. To forgive is more for me than for the forgiven but even THIS is a process. Sometimes we think we have forgiven things in the past only to have them rear their ugly head again. I learned this reading Lysa Terkeursts book “How to Forgive what I can’t Forget”. Make no mistake there are places in your heart that will never heal unless you learn to forgive. 

7. There are still good things coming out of this Pandemic. We’ve all lost a lot. We’ve lost time with loved ones. We’ve lost freedoms that we took for granted, and we’ve lost people that we didn’t think it was their time to go yet. But every now and again, I will be in a conversation with someone and I will say “well that is a good thing that came out of the pandemic.” Things like wearing a mask in doctor’s office, we probably should have been doing that all along, or not getting up in someone’s personal space. Pay attention, I’ll bet you will discover one or two good things too. 

I also learned things that weren’t spiritual but were growing my mind and my creativity. 

8. Church finances. I took over as the Treasurer for my church this year and while I still have a lot to learn, I have learned a lot. 

9. Painting techniques. I started painting 5 years ago after the death of my sister. I look on those early paintings and what I have painted recently and I am proud of the growth. Again, I still have a long way to go! 

And my number 10 is a re-learn as well. And that is …

10. If I look for Him, I will see God in every day. It may be in a baby’s laugh, or a sunrise. It can even be in a foggy day when the sun starts to burn through and the sky is all shimmery. He can be in the eyes of your children or in the grasp of your partner’s hand, the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. I think this is one thing that steadies me and grounds me more than any other and I think it is a re-learn every year. But looking for God and finding Him makes me more grateful and when I live from gratitude, I live with purpose. 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

Let me challenge you to make a list yourself. You may sit down and write them all at once or you may start your list and have to go back to it for a day or two but I think that it is good for us to see where we’ve been in order to map out where we are going. 

That’s Christmas to Me ~ JESUS! 

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Jesus, He is the reason we celebrate Christmas. He came to earth as a baby and was born in a manger. His birth was simple, His mother a young girl, His earthly father a carpenter, they had traveled to Bethlehem for the census but had no place to lay their head. There was no room for them. But the time had come for her to give birth so He was born in a stable with smelly animals and hay and His mother laid Him in a manger to sleep. The most humble of beginnings for anyone but why did God allow this for His son, His only son Jesus, to be born in such a simple, humble beginning? But even with the simplistic form of Jesus birth, God sent angels to announce the birth of His son on a hillside to shepherds who were just doing their job. The shepherds had probably counted the sheep and made sure all were accounted for and were laying their heads down for the night. Maybe they were joking and laughing, maybe they were tired from a long day, but suddenly an angel appeared to them and told them. 

“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12 

And then there were a multitude of angels and they were praising God. 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14

So Jesus was born in the humblest of beginnings but also with all the pomp and circumstance of angels announcing His birth. Only God could accomplish both. Humble yet magnificent all at the same time. 

Jesus came to earth to show us how to live, how to worship, how to turn our hearts toward Him. He walked this earth and He showed all the human emotions, He wept, He rejoiced, He loved, He ministered, He taught, He even got angry and yet He remained fully God and fully man. So is it any wonder that His birth was simple yet magnificent? Is it any wonder that He had shepherds and wise men seeking Him out?Is it any wonder that the Son of God was born in a manger yet the angels announced His birth?  Because He is the wonder! Because He came for all mankind. Not just for one, not just for one people group but for all! God certainly covered all the bases with His birth, maybe because that is how His earthly life would be lived out. We can know Him as all things because He IS all things to all people. 

I pray that today and every day really He will be your wonder! I pray you will seek Him out when you need a counselor! I pray that when the situation is hard and you don’t know what to pray that you will simply pray “God be mighty for me.” Sometimes when I don’t know what or how to pray, I just pray “God, just be God in this.” I pray when you need a Father, you will turn to Him as your Everlasting Father. Whether you had a good example of an earthly father or not, I pray you can look to Jesus to be yours. And even in the midst of hard days, hard seasons and hard years, I pray that we can all look to Him as our Prince of Peace! 

Merry Christmas to you and your families! 

That’s Christmas to Me! ~ SANTA

Stay with me here! A lot of people wouldn’t want to put Santa in a devotion because they think it leaves Jesus out. Make no mistake, I will never leave Jesus out of Christmas! I couldn’t if I tried. But Santa is not a bad guy. Think of the wonder of children waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. Can you just remember what it was like to go to bed and to think of that cool guy who left you gifts under the tree that you would wake up to the next morning. Even when I was a child and I wasn’t sure about believing in Santa anymore, I bad wanted to BELIEVE in Santa. As an adult I know now that what I loved about Santa was the wonder and the giving that it all represented. Of course the gifts weren’t bad either. 

My parents did a great job with Santa. I can remember going to bed early on Christmas Eve and we had a time set that we had to wait for the clock to reach before we could wake our parents up to go in and see what Santa brought. Oh it was so hard to go to sleep and then we almost never slept more than 3 or 4 hours. I am the youngest so looking back, my sisters were probably pretty good sports for the lack of sleep for me too. But when I think of the anticipation and the excitement that I felt on Christmas morning every year it just makes me smile deep inside my soul! 

I never want to lose that deep in my soul smile, like a kid on Christmas morning when it comes to Christmas. But as a grown up what really gives me that deep in my soul smile, like a kid on Christmas morning is the love deep in my heart for Jesus. You see when you have Jesus deep in your soul, even when life is hard or the situation is hard, or the year is hard your soul can still be smiling deep down like a kid on Christmas morning. It doesn’t always mean the circumstances are going to be different tomorrow but it means that you know the one who is going to see you through all of your tomorrows. So smile when you see Santa Claus. Let the kids have Santa because maybe someday, one day when they hide Jesus in their heart they will know that Santa was making the way for Him all along so that their little hearts would already know that deep soul smile. 

“But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” Luke 18:16

That’s Christmas to Me ~ Immanuel

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

This was the prophecy from Isaiah of Jesus birth, this was the first birth announcement I guess. It came approximately 700 years before the actual birth, but it was encouragement that, oh yes, He was coming! And the name that was given Him ~ Immanuel, was also encouragement because of it’s meaning ~ God with us! 

What’s in a name? When a new baby is expected, the expectant parents bounce around boy names and/or girl names until they find the perfect one. The one that they think will fit, and sometimes as that child grows another name will come into play because of their personality. Well God was telling the prophet Isaiah that the child would be called Immanuel. That’s because of who He was. His given name was Jesus but He could be called Immanuel because He is with Us! Jesus is fully man and fully God and He came down to earth to be with US! He is with us all the time, in the early morning hours when I am sitting in front of a fireplace, reading my Bible, praying through my day and in the night when my anxious thoughts try to get the better of me. He is still with me, with us! Whether you feel like He is or not, He is there. He doesn’t change, He doesn’t move, He doesn’t say see you later. He is with us! 

A popular Christmas song sings about it. This song sings about Israel awaiting Immanuel. 

O Come O Come Immanuel and ransom captive Israel. 

That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel 

Shall come to thee, O Israel. 

These lyrics sing of a time when Israel was in exile waiting and the anticipation they felt of the coming Immanuel. But what if we change the lyrics just a bit for our own hearts. 

O Come O Come and be with us God and ransom MY captive heart. 

That feels lonely and exiled and hurting until the Son of God appears. 

Rejoice! Rejoice God is With Us and He comes to Me. 

At this Christmas season, things may be all right in your world. And I hope they are! Don’t get so caught up in the fa-la-la and the festivities that you forget God is with you! 

Or you may be experiencing a first Christmas without a spouse, a child, a parent, a sibling. You may have had a hard year and your heart is heavy. It may be a lonely Christmas. Take courage and encouragement that Immanuel ~ God With Us is with you! And He can ransom your lonely heart! 

Verse 3 of this song is the victory we have. 

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free 

thine own from Satan’s tyranny

From depths of hell Thy people save 

And give them victory o’er the grave! 

Rejoice Rejoice Immanuel shall come to thee O Israel! 

The victory against Satan’s tyranny is ours to claim because of Immanuel ~ God with Us and we get to Rejoice because He has come! So next time you hear or sing that song, give it a personalization and ask the God who is already with you to let you see the victory He has already given you! 

That’s Christmas to Me ~ Traditions 

A lot of the things we have talked about over the last three weeks could be tied back to traditions, the Christmas trees, the wreaths, and the candy canes. But I did feel it could take a topic all on it’s own.  Christmas time is the one time of the year that we all tend to look to our traditions. 

I can remember traditions when I was a girl. Staying up late on Christmas Eve, only to get up so incredibly early on Christmas Day. I can remember times we sat up in the bed, me and all 3 of my sisters and giggled. Well I probably did most of the giggling as I was the youngest. My mom and dad and my 3 older sisters sure were troopers to this Christmas loving girl who wanted to stay up late and get up early tradition for as long as I could. I BELIEVE IN SANTA! 

I remember, we had an artificial tree that had a bout 999 pieces and parts to it or so it seemed. I can remember putting that thing together and spreading lights across the living room floor to be sure we didn’t have to replace any bulbs before we put them on the tree. I can also remember looking at Christmas lights with the family. We would pile up in our car and drive the neighborhoods and look at all the pretty lights and we would bake cookies every year during the Christmas season.

And then after we had stayed up really late and gotten up incredibly early on Christmas Day we would jump in the car to make the 3 hour drive to Arkansas to be with grandparents and cousins. It seems like it was such a magical time for us. 

Then there were the traditions I wanted to instill in my own children. They included decorating the tree, baking the cookies and driving around looking at the lights. We always tried to incorporate a Church Christmas program that we were either involved in or at least attended. We had to get a Santa picture every year of course and then my children were the ones wanting to stay up late and rise really early and we made the trek to our parents houses at Christmas time. 

And now my children come to me and I am trying to instill some traditions that hopefully my children and grandchildren will be able to look at fondly over the years. I try to always bake cookies with my grandchildren when they come and we have the lights on our own home that I hope will mean something years from now to my grandchildren just like the plastic Santa that my grandfather tied to their front porch meant to me. 

I love the Christmas season and the traditions that come along with it. I think that tradition is a very important thing for us to give thought to the reasons we are celebrating and remember. I also think that scripture shows us how traditions are important to God. There were many feasts that came about in scripture that people practiced regularly. In fact…

“Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.” Luke 2:41-42

We see it here that Jesus’ earthly parents were accustomed to the tradition of traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast every year. God set apart these feasts for them to remember. As we go about our traditions, which are fun and festive, sometimes work and tiring even, let’s not lose sight of our reason for them is to remember. Just like God set apart feasts for the Jewish people to remember the passover. Christmas is a time to set apart and incorporate all the festivities to remember. Remember the baby that was born in the manger that first Christmas morning. Remember why He came. Remember why He lived. Remember why He died, for you and for me. Yes, have your traditions, decorate with red and green or whatever other color you want to. Have Santa, or Papa Noel or whatever you want to call Him bring gifts. Gather with friends and with family, but in all of your traditions, remember the baby. Be sure you slow down just a bit this week and remember. Maybe even walk outside and look up at the stars and remember shepherds in a field who got the most glorious birth announcement of all time. Remember, a young mother who gave birth in a dirty, dark, smelly stable then wrapped her child in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger for Him to sleep. Remember wise men who spent probably months, and maybe years following a star in search of the baby King. Traditions are nice and they are fun, but let’s let them do what they are meant to do. To point us to the important things to remember. 

That’s Christmas to Me ~ Family

I can hardly think of Christmas without thinking of Family! One thing about this time of year that sets it apart so well is the way we gather around with family. So many of my memories of Christmas past are as a child going to visit grandparents, as a young Mama packing my kids up and going to visit my parents and now the preparation of my own home waiting for my kids to come visit me. 

I love that family is included in the Bible surrounding the birth of Jesus. Mary was a young girl who had just found out that she would give birth even though she had never known a man. She knew there would be scandal surrounding this pregnancy, but she didn’t turn to her girlfriends to talk this out. She knew that her cousin, Elizabeth was also about to give birth in a miraculous way and she needed her. Elizabeth was older and wiser so maybe she could impart some of her wisdom to Mary. In Luke it says “Mary arose and went with haste”! I think, she wanted the comfort and peace that being with a family member could bring so she hurried to go see her. And look at Elizabeth’s response. 

“And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’” Luke 1:41-42

Can you just imagine how that made her feel? All along the way Mary’s thoughts may have been ‘how will I explain this?’ ‘Will she believe me?’ ‘Maybe since she has a miraculous birth she will believe me and then maybe others will too!’ How accepted and wonderful Mary must have felt when those were the first words that Elizabeth spoke before Mary even had to utter a word about why she was there. Family can be like that, can’t they? They accept you with all of your stuff and your flaws no matter what. That’s just what families do! 

I love that God included stories of family in the Bible. I love that family is such a big part of Christmas. Whether you gather around a table with your family or with trays around the Christmas tree. Stop and remember family. It was important enough for God to weave a story of family in the Christmas story in the Bible and it’s important enough for us to remember at Christmas and all year through! Make sure that when your family is together this Christmas you step back and breathe it in with a prayer of thanks for your family, the family of Christmas past, and the family of your Christmas present as well as the family of your Christmas future. 

“The only gift I’ll ever need is the joy of family” ~ Pentatonix, That’s Christmas to Me