Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cradle: To Support Protectively or Intimately

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)

“Christmas is meant to take us to the level of spiritual maturity where we are capable of seeing in a manger the meaning of an empty tomb. It is meant to enable us to see through the dark days of life to the stars beyond them.” (The Liturgical Year, Joan Chittister)

The days after Christmas often leave me at a loss. A darkness overshadows the recent joys of the season. This year I planned to avoid the post-Christmas blues. I would observe Christmastide or the Twelve Days of Christmas, continuing the feast until its culmination on January 6th, Epiphany. After three days, my observations have been fairly mundane. I wrote down the gifts of each day—the moments that stood out, while practicing thanksgiving in all things. I found myself enjoying home, running errands and visiting with friends.

As I drove around today in a low energy mode, pushing myself to finish the errands, I kept asking God what do I need? I haven’t been very hungry for His word. My mind wanted a break from thinking.

After returning home from errands, the high intensity of the past six weeks caught up with me. I began to wonder how I would make it through the dark days of winter. I wanted to be cradled, to be held close and to rest. So I took a nap.
When I woke up, I was drawn back to my intention to observe Christmastide. To take time to sit quietly with God. Silently. No words needed. Enjoying the twinkling lights on the tree, brewing a cup of coffee, snuggling up with a blanket on the couch to be cradled by the Presence of God. Reminding myself that it is perfectly fine to have no agenda right now. Permission to rest, to breathe and to enjoy the moments of each day.

Today I choose to celebrate the glory, which started in a cradle, albeit a feeding trough, and culminnated on the cross and ultimately  was revealed through the empty tomb.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Birth: To Bring Forth

“And the glory (majesty and splendor) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.” (Isaiah 40:5 AMP)

“And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.”
(John 1:14 AMP)

“My Son has set you free to love, to believe that I am good and that the good story I am telling is unfolding under His control. Faith in Me and hope for tomorrow free you to love today. And loving with divine power releases a kind of joy into your soul that nothing else can bring.” (God’s Love Letters to You, Dr. Larry Crabb)

Marvelous morning. After a night of laboring, a child is born. It often happens this way; the mother goes to the hospital with contractions close together. The staff settles her in her bed, and then the waiting and the breathing and the groaning begin. Sometimes things slow down for awhile, and then the pain increases, the pressure builds and after a fair amount of pushing— love gushes out. Joy comes in the morning.

Here we are, we have arrived at Christmas. We can welcome the memory of Jesus’ birth in its fullest. But He was not only born, He lived and loved. He dwelt among us. And through the Holy Spirit dwells with us still. My soul is overwhelmed within me. A supernatural, miraculous wonder and awe overtake the quiet moments of early morning before anyone else in the household rises. I am alone with my Savior, our Savior.

I am drawn to the nativity. Figurines set out on tables to remind us that Jesus was born. It was recorded, His parents pondered Him, the shepherds proclaimed Him and the Magi proceeded by a star entered the scene to give Him the honor due his birth.

Can you believe it? Will you embrace this good story? The hope, the joy, the peace and the love transcend anything our minds can comprehend. Yet there is a place in us in our hearts, souls, spirits, minds and even our bodies where faith wells up and needs to be expressed. A desire, a longing that no words adequately express.

Silently, with tears brimming in my eyes, I marvel at this Birth.

For unto us a Child is Born!
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Clean: Free From Dirt

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
(Psalm 51:10 NKJV)

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up
is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” (Phyllis Diller)

Today I tackled a long neglected task: deep cleaning the family room. We are expecting guests over the Christmas holiday, so I am motivated. I started in one corner moving furniture to the opposite side of the room. About halfway down the wall with windows, we have a AC/heating unit. I figured since I was deep cleaning, I should take out the filters to vacuum them.

It never ceases to amaze me how much dust, dirt and animal hair can accumulate in these filters. I looked a little closer and realized I should take the front cover off to clean inside the unit. After I was done I wiped the vents with antibacterial cleaner. It felt good to know that I might ward off some germs and allergies by taking the extra time with the unit. I spent all day cleaning and rearranging the furniture to be ready for Christmas. This kind of cleaning is exhausting, but satisfying.

Whenever I encounter this neglected dirt in my cleaning ventures, I think about the how the dust and dirt silently accumulates. Then I think about the subtlety of sin. Sometimes I’m too busy to look deeper. But just like the filters on the AC/heater, which need routine cleaning, I need to regularly bring my heart before God and ask for His cleansing forgiveness.

I wonder how much longer the unit could have kept going with all that dirt. And now that it's clean, I hope it runs more efficiently. My life would run so much smoother if I spent regular time asking God to search my heart. Since I accomplished so much today in the house, I am thinking tomorrow I will spend some extra time with God to examine my heart and make sure it’s ready for Christmas, too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Haste: Eagerness to Act

 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
 and they were filled with fear. (Luke 2:8-9 ESV)

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" (Luke 2:13-14 ESV)

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us."
 And they went with haste . . . (Luke 2:15-16 ESV)

As Christmas approaches, my heart is beating faster. This past Sunday, our pastor asked us to reenter the story with a fresh perspective. Eyes to see. Ears to hear. Hearts to comprehend. An invitation to welcome Christmas once again.

We watch with the shepherds as they encounter the glory of God. Great fear and trembling overcomes them. The mighty messenger angel calms their fears. And just as they are beginning to recover, ten thousands of thousands, a multitude of more angels proclaims the greatest news—“A Savior has been born in Bethlehem! Just like God said! All glory and honor and praise and majesty be unto His name!”

The angels part just as suddenly as they appeared. The shepherds have seen the glory of God! Their hearts race, their minds whir and their bodies move. They make haste. “Let’s go see this thing!” And the thing they find—A mother and a father with a baby lying in a manger. This thing that happened was made known to them by God, to mere shepherds whom no one would even ask to represent them on the witness stand in a law of court.

But God. God chooses them to be His first witnesses, the first ones to hear the good news proclaimed and see it fulfilled— the first ones to testify to the world: “We have seen our Savior. We have been in the presence of God. He has been born among us.”

The shepherds return to their flocks. Praising and glorifying. Hooting and hollering. Causing a stir in the community: “Will wonders never cease?” Causing a mother to ponder and treasure: “Can it be that my God should be born for me?”

Monday, December 19, 2011

Calm: A Period or Condition of Freedom from Storms

“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39 ESV

Overtake us.
Raging through us with
Much fear.
Stifling our Peace.

Christ speaks with
Leaving in His wake
More faith.

A storm of tasks overwhelm me as a face today. I grab Jesus Calling and the words calm me: “If you focus too much on these…tasks, trying to get them all out of the way, you will discover they are endless…Seek My Face continually throughout this day. Let My Presence bring order to your thoughts, infusing Peace into your entire being” (Young). My shoulders relax and I take a deep breath, ready for another day.

As I read through the gospel of Mark, another storm catches my attention. Jesus and his disciples are moving around Galilee, so one night they climb into a boat to cross over to the next town. A storm pops up producing great fear in the disciples. Jesus sleeps. The disciples frantically poke him, crying “Don’t you care? Wake up! Do something! We’re going to die!” Jesus rises. He rebukes the wind, “Peace! Be still!” Immediately calm returns, a great calm.

Silent awe fills the scene, and then Jesus rebukes again. This time he addresses the disciples, “Now are you afraid? Don’t you know me yet? Where is your faith?” The rebuke stings, yet they marvel and talk among themselves, “Such authority! Can you believe this? Who is this man?” Jesus restores their rest, their natural fear ceases and their faith has been reinforced. What a storm of emotions must have been rippling through their hearts and minds, yet reverent respect overrides every other thought or feeling to take hold of their hearts.

Jesus appeared to be sleeping through their storm. But as soon as they run to Him and wake Him, He sets everything back in order. I find it hard to understand this aspect of the story. Maybe it was just a lesson for the disciples to strengthen their faith at this point in their relationship. I think it is hard to admit that sometimes, it feels like Jesus isn’t paying attention to our circumstances. But He is present. And for some reason, He waits for us to rouse Him into action. Jesus’ life remains a paradox, sleeping yet alert.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hope: To Cherish a Desire with Anticipation

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25 ESV)

Eternally Focused!

This morning I woke up with great hopes of accomplishing everything for Christmas and more. Since I have finished with school stuff, I was gearing up to dive into the Christmas rush. I almost fell for that trap, but instead I retreated to the quiet of my couch to read the devotionals scattered on the coffee table, asking God for a word. A word to keep me focused on Advent. I opened Jesus Calling and read words of hope:

Your longing for heaven is good, because it is an extension of your yearning for Me. The hope of heaven is meant to strengthen you, filling you with wondrous Joy . . . the phrase hope of heaven highlights the benefits you can enjoy even while remaining on earth. This hope keeps you spiritually alive during the dark times of adversity; it brightens your path and heightens your awareness of My Presence. (Young 366)

Then I picked up God’s Love Letters to You, and the theme continued:

If you could see right now what is happening in the unseen world, you would be filled with hope. . . The hope I provide anchors a weary, empty, troubled soul . . . Beneath difficult feelings, hope encourages by giving you reason to persevere with the joy of anticipation. Happiness depends on present blessing, which I do not guarantee. Joy depends on future hope, which I do guarantee. Do not expect to feel good. You may. You may not. My work of hope reaches into the center of your soul to strengthen your character and deepen your resolve in any circumstance of life. (Crabb 56)

Rich thoughts to chew on. I want my life to be more and more marked by hope, rather than despairing about what I think I don’t have. I will still get caught up in the moment, but I want to do it with an eye to the future planned by Jesus. That future where we all get to live with Him forever in heaven, no longer prisoners of this temporal world. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Embrace: To Clasp in the Arms; Cherish

The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]! (Habakkuk 3:19 AMP)

“Know this: those who live by faith will struggle in ways that those who live to make their lives work will never know. It is that struggle, to believe despite desperate pain and confusion that a good plan is unfolding, that will open your eyes to see Me more clearly.” (God’s Love Letters to You, Dr. Larry Crabb)

Habakkuk is one of my favorite minor prophets. I could just hug him for being so real. By the way, his name means “Embraced by God.” Habakkuk prophesied judgment upon Israel, not a pleasant task. Everything was falling apart. Yet he rejoices in God! He knows God is his strength. He knew how to worship God. He ends his book with a song, lamenting the situation, and yet his song concludes by rejoicing in God!

In the Amplified version, the first verse gives direction to how to approach this prayer song: “A PRAYER of Habakkuk the prophet set to wild, enthusiastic, and triumphal music” (Habakkuk 3:1 AMP). His faith rocked!

The disparity of good and evil around him caused him anguish, but he wasn’t afraid to ask God questions. His faith was bolstered by thinking deeply; he had to ponder hard questions. In the Literary Study Bible, Ryken mentions that Habakkuk was a philosopher of sorts. His oracles reflect “the branch of philosophy known as theodicy (reconciling God’s goodness toward the human race and his omnipotence, considered within a context of evil and suffering)” (1413). As the narrative of Habakkuk unfolds, he remonstrates with God over the pain and injustice he witnesses, then God answers. After their dialogue, Habakkuk pens his prayer song.

As I contemplate the coming of Jesus into our sin tainted world, I marvel at His courage to live among us in order to embrace our flesh, to suffer our punishment, to experience death and resurrection so that we might be reconciled and embraced by Him. Marvelous, matchless love!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ponder: To Think or Consider Quietly, Soberly, and Deeply

“Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them.”
(Psalm 111:2 NIV)

“And all men shall [reverently] fear and be in awe; and they will declare the work of God, for they will wisely consider and acknowledge that it is His doing.” (Psalm 64:9 AMP)

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19 NIV)

What are you pondering these days? I am in awe of all that God has been accomplishing in and around me this Advent season. Today I finished my last two papers and my last ever final exam as an undergraduate. I really just wanted to suggest today that you ponder the Goodness and Grace of God as we continue this season of welcoming Christmas. Maybe tomorrow, I will have something more profound to offer once I ponder for awhile.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hurry: Disturbed or Disorderly Activity

“. . . those who hope in me will not be disappointed.” (Isaiah 43:29b NIV)

“Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

Reasons to
Yourself Ragged

My Anxiety

“Hurry up! Hurry up! Only 13 days until Christmas!” This is what my internal holiday clock mutters to me this morning. I want to yell back, “Don’t remind me! I know, I know!” But the Holy Spirit quietly hushes me during this rush of anxious thoughts. “Just enjoy today. Watch and see what I am going to accomplish. Trust me.”

God’s not in a hurry, so why am I? He has faithfully ordered my previous days and He will direct me this day as well. Yet, it is a constant exchange of confessing my anxiety and yielding to the reassuring presence and peace of Christ. I must place my hope in God once again, asking Him to remind me that there is only one thing that really matters. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, while He settles my heart in His presence, inviting me to sing praises to His name and soaking up His peace. Only then will I be ready to face the day ahead.

Whatever tasks loom before me, like final papers and final exams and Christmas shopping, I will trust God to help me finish. He never disappoints! He always comes through, and even if I feel frazzled or fear failure, His love never fails.

For now it is time to play Christmas carols and worship Him, as I move forward into the work of this day, not tomorrow or next week, but just today. May His calming Holy Spirit breathe peace as you live out this day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rest: Peace of Mind or Spirit


"Cease striving and know that I am God . . .” (Ps 46:10a NASB)

Remember to
Enjoy and Absorb.
Trying so Hard.


Why is it so hard to rest? We were designed to rest. Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made on account of and for the sake of man…” (Mark 2:27 AMP). This comforts me. God is not asking me to fill every moment of my life with activity. He wants me to take time off from worrying and fussing.

As I approach the end of this semester, this journey of going back to school for personal development, I marvel at all I have learned. I could tell you all my new knowledge about literature or how I survived College Algebra. Yet my greatest lessons had to do with trusting God, which included learning how to rest, how to surrender time to Him.

This semester especially, I kept hearing the gentle call to rest, to absorb, to enjoy the content. To not try so hard at getting it right and getting the perfect grade. This idea applies to any aspect of our lives. Why do I think that I control time? Time is God’s gift, and when I realize this, my life has more peace and less anxiety.

The gospels show Jesus resting in a way that reflects His Father’s intentions for the Sabbath. He healed, He modeled love and He even ate with His disciples. Rest doesn’t always mean inactivity, but it does cultivate a confident trust in God’s ability to calm and provide everything in His time.

As the Christmas season often pushes us into frenzy, I want to invite you to rest. To take some time to reflect on the goodness of God. To follow Jesus, who is “Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:28)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sin: A State of Human Nature in Which the Self is Estranged from God

Interesting statistic that popped up on my screen when I was looking up the definition of sin: "Sin is currently in the top 40% of lookups on"

“She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus . . . for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God].” (Matthew 1:21 AMP)

Saying, Shouting, Screaming—
“I don’t
Need God!”

What does sin have to do with Christmas? Everything! The very reason Jesus was born. It’s not a pleasant thought. I’d rather think about decorating the house and sip coffee while listening to Christmas carols. Yet all around me suffering screams out for notice. I can’t ignore that something is horribly wrong. Life is painful, yet I put so much energy into avoiding this truth or finding relief.

Sin and evil are real. A friend recently explained that evil is the lack of the intended good. This really pierced my heart. It could be easy enough to point out the evil of others, but God in His grace points the finger back at me. I have a moral evil in my heart that needs to be eradicated. Yes, Jesus has saved me from sin, but the struggle remains to resist sinful choices, attitudes and even behavior.

Frustration reveals my lack of trust. Anger indicates a loss of love. Selfishness is the fear of lacking recognition, affirmation and validation of who I am. The list could go on, but it is helpful for me to think about how each sin points to a lack that was intended goodness. Contemplating this truth changes my mind when I am faced with temptation to sin, to offend, to tell God “I don’t need YOU!”

Sin is the foolish belief that I can make my own life better or good.

God’s love brings to my attention my ingrained tendency to refuse Him. His grace reaches out and asks me to trust Him with the struggle of living.

Today's reading from God’s Love Letters to You gives me hope as I face the truth that sin is real:

No matter how great your pain or how confusing and intense your suffering, live in the mystery of My love. Struggle to trust me.

Do not live with the priority of making your life in this world as good as you can make it. You will suffer, at times unfairly, but you will be given what you need to enter strongly and wisely with supernatural love into every circumstance you face.

Doing so will be your joy, your hope and you deepest fulfillment now as you look forward to a world where every child runs and laughs. (Crabb)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Story: An Account of Incidents or Events

“If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again.”
 (Groucho Marx)

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:11-14 KJV)

I love to keep a journal. This is the place where I recount my day, where I daydream about the future, basically where I keep track of my story. I also like to collage. Rip pictures and words from magazines that inspire me and then glue them down to enjoy the serendipity and meaning that I might glean from the new arrangement. For Advent, I decided to join these two loves. The pictures and the words prompt me to write and reflect on something new.

On the page I opened for today was pasted the word...story.

Something about that word just warms my heart. Give me a good story and all is well. Maybe that’s what I love about the Bible; it’s full of good stories. In it we meet all kinds of people and situations. As I mentioned before I am reading a daily devotion that has thoughts related to each book of the Bible written in the form of a love letter from God. Today the reading was from one of the most romantic stories of the Bible—Ruth.

Girl meets boy. Boy falls in love with girl. They get married and live happily ever after. Not that they didn't have to overcome quite a few obstacles to get to this ending. Part of the happy ending is that they become the ancestors of the central figure of Scripture—Jesus. The reading in the devotional shed a little different light on what a happy ending means:

“Ruth’s life is a they-all-lived-happily-ever after story, but it is not a parable of My power to make life comfortable; it is a parable of My power to make people holy. Know this: holiness and only holiness brings joy. No problem in your life, whether difficult problems such as disadvantages and loss, or agreeable problems, such as wealth, can stop My plan. Faith and hope together release love. And love is holiness. Hear what I’m saying in this love letter: no matter how dark the world around you, no matter how difficult the world inside you, My plan [love] overcomes all obstacles…” (God's Love Letters to You, Dr. Larry Crabb)

Love conquers all. Love never fails. Let’s enter the greatest love story all over again as we contemplate the coming of Jesus as a babe, and ultimately as the Lover of our Souls.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gift: A Notable Capacity

“Everything in life is most fundamentally a gift. And you receive it best, and you live it best,
by holding it with very open hands.” (Leo O’Donovan)

“I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
God does it so that men will revere him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:9-14 NIV)

Gift is a big word this time of year. What gift do you want for Christmas, we ask our loved ones? Sometimes I hint at what gift I’d like. Gifts are good. They express our love and concern and creativity.

We are born with a notable capacity for living. This is gift.

Today I was contemplating the difference between accepting gifts and demanding them. I want health. I want rest. I want blessing. But am I willing to settle for none of these. I am willing to embrace God alone. This is hard. I am needy. I like material things. I enjoy food. I desire appreciation and companionship. But if all these were taken away, would I still think my life was a gift?

What is the notable capacity of life? To love, this is the burden God has laid on us. To love is to give. This is indeed one of the hardest things God asks of us, of me. Will I love this Christmas? How can I rest in His love and know it is enough? These are the questions I am asking today.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feast: Something That Gives Unusual or Abundant Enjoyment


“These are the LORD's appointed feasts,
the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times.”
(Leviticus 23:4 NIV)

Last Sunday inaugurated a new year. The new liturgical year or as some call it the church calendar starts with Advent. My welcoming of this holy season has been slow. In between resting from a cold and going to classes, I snatch a few moments here and there to contemplate the upcoming feast of Christmas. Remembering, recounting, retelling the beautiful story of a child born into our world brings comfort to my soul.

We will be feasting on favorite foods, traditional candies and cookies and the home baked gifts from friends. Sharing food together brings abundant enjoyment. Today I had the joy of going with a dear friend to a farmers’ market. The fresh produce stacked on tables, colorful cauliflower of orange, white and violet; along with homemade pies and fresh roasted coffee beans were available. We each bought a bunch of carrots. We sampled the coffee and chatted with the vendors like new found, yet old friends. I bought a small pear apple pie to feast on tonight with my family.

These are the sweet little feasts that bring me material joy. In the same sense, I desire little feasts for my spirit and for yours this season, like lingering on a portion of Scripture that draws us closer to the heart of God or offering a little devotional book to hold in our hands. I want to stir up an appetite for the goodness of God and feasting on His grace, instead of the gloom and worries of life. May we often take refuge from the hustle and bustle of the world pressing in around us. To enjoy the blessing of presence, the sharing of a meal and celebrating the Giver, these are my idea of a feast.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Announce: To Give Notice of the Arrival, Presence, or Readiness Of

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her,"Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"

But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.

(Luke 1:26-29 NKJV)

Yesterday I was greeted with an unusual message on the refrigerator white board: “Viva La Revolucion!” I wondered at it, and also noticed the Scripture reference: 1 Timothy 4:12. I looked it up to see what was behind the announcement of this revolution in our home, it says, “Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” I figured the message at youth group must have really moved the messenger’s heart and he felt compelled to announce it publicly.

It wasn’t until the afternoon, when the younger son came home that the revelation of this revolution was to become clearer. Over pancakes at a local restaurant the night before, the older son and the younger son with a friend discussed the idea of getting an apartment together in January. This was a sudden announcement for me. We had been telling the boys that they needed to move out in the future because they are in their twenties now and they have decent jobs. To be honest the reality of this declaration hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but their readiness to move forward delights my heart. They want to band together with other young believers and be an example in conduct and service to the body of Christ.

I am thankful for their resolve to live dedicated lives, yet their revolution impacts my world. This morning as I was thinking of their announcement other pending news overwhelmed my heart. Soon I will be sending out the announcement of my graduation from college and the birth of a book (I go to pick up the self-published fruits of this labor of love today!) My life is changing rapidly, but in so many good ways. I also am looking forward to the arrival of my sister and her four kids after Christmas to spend a season in St. Louis.

This good news thrills my heart. Yet I have to consider the impact these events will have on my current perspective of life. These ponderings brought to mind Mary, the mother of Jesus, as her world was changed with the most amazing news ever! She was to give birth to God’s son! Now, that’s a revolution!

As we consider the good news announced by Gabriel to Mary and to the multitude of angels to the shepherds, may our hearts thrill with the announcement that God is With Us, even now, through the Presence of His Holy Spirit. God wants a revolution in our heart that will overflow with love, joy and peace toward others. Will you join me in observing this Christmas as a beginning of something new and revolutionary? Will we be willing once again to announce the birth of Jesus Christ as the most wonderful news ever? “Viva La Incarnation! Spread the Love of Jesus!” and "Glory to God in the Highest!"