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Archive for the ‘Advent’ Category

The Giver

Advent dec 23

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today’s thought is simple:

give

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you’ve heard of them –

random acts of kindness

maybe you have even experienced one,

being surprised by someone’s unexpected kindness.

there’s joy in being the receiver

but even more joy as the giver

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the love of God that manifests itself at Christmas

was not a random act

 the gift of his son was planned long ago

Jesus was born to bring love,

born to save

a world that so desperately needed him

we desperately need him

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this gift is truly indescribable

the great Giver has blessed us beyond what we deserve

beyond what we can ever repay

so we simply receive with grateful hearts

and respond with overflowing joy,

to give

random or not,

let’s pass it on!

*

Blessings,

Tracy

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Advent dec 22

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i’ve been thinking about love this week –

Advent’s fourth candle.

capturing God’s love with a few words isn’t easy

a love so vast and deep

constant, unconditional

boundless, selfless

amazing

and senseless

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senseless because it doesn’t make sense to me –

how the God who created the universe,

the great I am,

can love undeserving, unlovable us?

how can he love us so much that

he gift-wrapped that love

and gave us what he loves the most –

his only son.

why would he, who created all things,

come as a vulnerable, helpless baby,

to live among us, his creation,

to save us from ourselves –

it doesn’t make sense

*

then he tells us to love one another

and to do an unnatural, difficult thing –

love the unlovable

love those who hurt us

love those who have betrayed us

love those who are hard to love –

that really doesn’t make sense

*

draw near with the shepherds

peer in the manger

see tiny hands of God

see love come down

and let it warm you –

that senseless, amazing love

that love that gives us hope, and peace and joy

let it fill you and overflow

and love those who are hard to love

*

who can you show that love to today?

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blessings,

Tracy

 

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Advent dec 20

Advent dec 21

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one of my favorite things about Christmas is time with family

the traditions of singing carols, making eggnog,

reading Luke 2 to the kids . . .

we all have our favorite traditions

but traditions change

because life changes

kids grow up,  move away,

start their own families and begin their own traditions

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or maybe life has brought a harder change

one that has dramatically altered the landscape of your family

through a painful loss

leaving a huge hole of emptiness

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here’s the good news

that through all the changes

God doesn’t change

He is constant

He has given us the greatest gift of His love

and that love fills every empty place

every crack and crevice

and begins to makes us whole again

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so those traditions?

remember them, cherish them, be grateful for them

but to dwell there, in the past

denies the joy that can be found in the present

this is where God is

here in the now.

maybe it’s time to begin a new tradition

or maybe it will take all you have just to get through this Christmas.

wherever you are at in life

 you have a gift that’s yours to open –

the gift of God’s love

it is unchanging, abundant, and knows no bounds

let it fill your empty spaces up

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Blessings,

Tracy

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Advent dec 19

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it’s been happening the last week or two already

ads for last-minute shoppers

i still have shopping to do

but i resent being called a procrastinator

when i still have five more days to shop

today is not last minute –

shopping on Christmas Eve – that’s last minute 🙂

*

it’s not the media and marketing strategies that creates this sense of urgency

it’s the evil one using it as a tool

to make a distraction

telling me to rush and hurry up

to thwart any effort of mine to stay focused on the manger

to push me into feeling stressed

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well, i’m pushing back

pushing back with renewed determination to stay focused

to be joyful as Christmas approaches

to not be caught up in the chaos and clutter of Christmas

but to find joy in the anticipation.

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Blessings,

Tracy

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Radiant Joy

Advent dec 18.jpg*

‘joy, joy, joy,

praise we the Lord in heaven on high’

i’ve been humming it all week

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i’ve also been thinking about Mary

the quiet joy she must have felt holding her son, her savior

and then the joy of the shepherds

that joy that spilled over in praises to God

and the telling to everyone what they had heard and seen

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when joy is mentioned in the Word

it usually is preceded  with singing, shouting and celebrating

but joy radiates whether silent or with voice

like a smile, it can be contagious

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so much joy this baby brings –

joy in being redeemed, joy in being forgiven

and the promise of eternal joy

sing it quiet in your soul

or give that joy a voice

let it shine!

*

blessings,

Tracy

 

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Everyday Joy

Advent dec 17.jpg*

‘Rejoice! rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.’

ancient words from the 12th century

yet we still sing it today

some things never get old, i guess

like the promise of Emmanuel

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well, he HAS come!

he is here

in the heart

in the every day

in every. single. moment.

Emmanuel, God with us

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he sees the pain, the struggles, and the loss

he sees the joys and the laughter

he knows each of us by heart

we never walk alone

God walks every step with us

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even on the hard days

this undercurrent of joy runs strong

for no one and nothing can take away the joy he brings

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rejoice! rejoice!

Emmanuel is with us!

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blessings,

Tracy

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Advent dec 16

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ok, it’s me.

i’m the one who wants to give the perfect gift

it’s the biggest stress-factor of my holiday

i love giving and making people happy,

but the stress of it can become a joy-zapper

i need to remember that

God has already given us the perfect gift –

when i think about that, stress leaves and joy returns

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and what about all those delicious cookies?

so tantalizing

some have special memories baked right into them –

i just HAVE to have one of each – at least!

but after eating too many, i feel less than joyful

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and my schedule?

just the other night i caught myself saying

‘there just isn’t enough time to do it all’.

well, i don’t have to do it all.

the problem is, i want to do it all.

God gives me enough time to do what’s important

i’m slowly learning to say no to some things

so that i can enjoy the more important ones.

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to find more joy,

less is more

 spend less on gifts, but spend more time with loved ones

eat less of the season’s temptations

be less busy, slow down,

be more still,

and more thankful

simplify

that’s where joy can be found

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blessings,

Tracy

 

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Uncomplicated Joy

Advent dec 15

why do we make things so complicated?

decorating the house

finding the perfect gifts

making memories

keeping traditions

baking all those cookies

sending Christmas cards

attending concerts & parties –

all are joyful ways to celebrate his coming,

but when the schedule is full

 we can feel pretty tired and empty

(preaching to myself)

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when God says that he has come that we may have life to the full,

he didn’t mean a full calendar

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how about a life full of hope, peace, and JOY?

sounds good to me!

let’s focus on the simple, uncomplicated joy found in the manger

and celebrate that!

*

blessings,

Tracy

 

 

 

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Advent Dec 13 Advent dec 14

this week’s focus is on one of my favorite things –

joy.

that attitude of thankfulness

and feeling of peace all wrapped up in three letters –

joy.

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repeated words from the old carol

‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ come to mind today –

‘O tidings of comfort and joy’

each verse sharing the Christmas story

of a baby sent from heaven to save,

of angels appearing,

and shepherds seeking, finding, and rejoicing!

*

there are days during this season that we may wonder

what happened to that comfort and joy?

they have never left,

they may have become buried under the two joy stealers –

stress & worry.

we may have lost our focus

but the comfort and joy that God give us through his Son

is always there for us to rediscover

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this week, let’s set our eyes on that baby born to save

let’s seek him like the shepherds

and rejoice!

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blessings,

Tracy

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Heart’s Welcome

Advent dec 12

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this week i did one of my favorite Christmas things –

i decorated.

i love adding a touch a Christmas throughout the house

the living room gets the most attention

and the front porch

always making it different than last year

wanting my home to be a warm welcome to all who enter

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 as i was hanging the garland

i got to thinking . . .

as i decorate my home, preparing for Christmas

the heart needs decorating, too

nothing fancy

just sweeping out dark corners

opening the door

and welcoming Christ as he comes to dwell here

in this humble living room of the heart

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during this time of Advent

this time of coming

we look back to when he came as a babe

we look ahead to when he will come again

and we look right now, at this moment

when he comes to our hearts

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it’s truly amazing to know that when we say

‘come and make my heart your home’

he does –

praise the wonder of it!

*

blessings,

Tracy

 

 

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