Archive for December, 2014

Merry Christmas, indeed.

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Davis Fam Christmas Card 2014

 

 

Merry Christmas!

I am thankful for this upcoming week–a week of wrapping, gift-giving, too many cookies, singing Christmas songs in the kitchen, comfort food, too many cookies, parties, and friends.

But even more, I’m thankful for a God who constantly surprises me with His grace, even in my sin and weakness.

I was on a desperate search for grace this weekend after several botched parenting moments, weighed down with the guilt of not living up to a standard of kindness I want in myself and in my children.

But grace comes, it always does.

Sometimes I  just have to develop an eye for it…

It came through honest questions about Jesus from my oldest in a late night conversation. It came through a husband who accepts me just as I am ALWAYS.  It came through a Sunday morning sermon. (Listen here.)

2 Corinthians 1:20- “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. “

 

Since Jesus has fulfilled every one of God’s promises, we now live in the Yes–the YES that God is for us and always at work for our good. All we have to do is receive, to speak the Amen–Let it Be So–because the work is finished.

So, can you and I be set free from a life of regret? YES!

Can you and I forgive and be forgiven? YES!

Can you and I be accepted always, every morning, even in our weak attempts at righteousness, in the middle of our sinfulness? YES!

Jesus has the quintessential “Yes” face. He rejoices over His people with singing and His mercies are new every morning.

I can’t think of a better Christmas present. 

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

 

Merry Christmas, indeed.

 

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Christmastime is Here.

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

I know.

It’s been too long.

Between friends and family in town, Thanksgiving, putting up the tree, decorating the mantle, writing jobs on the side, and a dishwasher breaking, I have not had time to blog.

Honestly, it’s mostly just the dishwasher’s fault. Hand-washing and drying dishes for 6 people leaves little time for anything else. I’m telling you,  if your dishwasher works, do a little dance right now.

 

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about Christmas and the little things we do.

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Christmas Traditions

I’m not one to start creative traditions, but I’ve come to realize that traditions have been created in our home while I wasn’t looking.

This year the kids demanded eggnog while we decorated the tree, because “that’s what we always do, Mom”. They also insisted we get the tree right after Thanksgiving because that’s what we’ve done for the last 3 years. So, while Sufjan Stevens holiday radio played in the background (I insisted!), with eggnog-sipping in full effect, we bought and decorated the tree just TWO days after Thanksgiving.

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Last year, I bought a miniature stocking chain, numbered 1-25, to hang on the mantle for Advent. So, (theoretically) each day the kids reach in to find a treat and read the Scripture passage for the day. We’re following along with our church’s Advent devotional. It’s a great plan, though we’ve missed a few days, and the Dum-Dum lollipops keep falling out of their assigned stockings.

I’ve also realized in the process that the stocking line over the fireplace really isn’t such a good idea when you actually have to build a fire. Melted chocolate candy everywhere.

Live and learn.

 

Stocking-Chain

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On Christmas morning, we always open presents first (who doesn’t?!) AFTER the coffee is made for the parents. Then, we have Christmas brunch together. They always ask for homemade cinnamon rolls. I’ve been making them since forever.

I also  make a 2-layered fudge–chocolate and butterscotch–during the holidays to give to teachers and friends. The best part about it is that you don’t need a candy thermometer and it comes out smooth and  creamy every time. Check it out here: Foolproof Fudge {without a candy thermometer}.

This year I’m still making fudge, but I think I’m going to try this, too: White Chocolate Peppermint Sugar Cookie Bark.

 

sugar cookie bark, Christmas dessert

Looks amazing, right?

Christmas Decorating {on a Budget}

I’m not a major decorator–I don’t even decorate for fall (erg, I feel like I might lose my American citizenship with that confession). But I do decorate a few things for Christmas and I actually enjoy it.

Last year, I made this and I liked it so much, it stayed on the back of my front door ALL. YEAR. LONG. I just removed the fresh  dead greenery last week to spruce it up ( see what I did there…) for  Christmas this year.

Christmas Pinecones 2 - Version 3

 

Last year I found a great, budget-friendly Christmas decoration at okiobdesigns.blogspot.comI have a few of theses on my mantle and other places in the living room.

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My newest addition to the mantle is a gift I just received from a good friend.

 

 

And that pretty much sums it up.

And that pretty much sums it up.

The crowning glory (besides the tree) is probably the centerpiece on our kitchen table. I love the two-tiered silver tray, but I NEVER use it. So, I always pull it out at Christmastime, fill it with fresh greens, a few pine cones (store-bought) and a few sprigs of (fake) berries.
I think it’s lovely.

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Last, but not least…

Christmas Hymns

I love the traditional  hymns that we all sing each Christmas. My only problem is that I think we should sing them all year long. Seriously, read the words to some of the hymns you’ve been mechanically singing for years; they are rich with the GOSPEL.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
nor thorns infest the ground;
he comes to make his blessings flow
far as the curse is found,
far as the curse is found,
far as, far as the curse is found. (Joy to the World)

 

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the sun of righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)

I need to be reminded of these truths everyday. All the time.

So seriously, Joy to the World in July? Who’s in?

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What are your Christmas traditions?
 
Are you trying something new this year?
 
Is Christmas hard for you to celebrate? (It’s not always the most wonderful time of the year.)
 
I’d love to hear you thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

Advent 2014

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Advent-2014

 

I don’t know  about you, but I’m excited about Advent this year. Maybe it’s the miniature stocking line I bought last year to hang on the mantle so we can visibly  count down the days to Christmas. I bought mini-treats to fill these cute little stockings today, and I plan on stuffing them with Scripture that follows along with our church’s Advent Devotional, too.

 

Advent-Stocking

This year, our Advent sermon series comes from 2 Corinthians 1.

Duane wrote the first devotional, and I was simply amazed after reading it. Amazed at a compassionate Jesus, a no-holds-barred Paul, and a simple man using his writing gifts to make the beautiful work of Christ known.

Once I read it, I knew I had to share it. (Then, I promptly freaked out because I realized that I had to write the devotional on the very next passage–tough act to follow.)

Ah, well.

I hope your Advent season is full of seeing Jesus in bigger, clearer, and fuller ways.

 

The God of All Comfort

2 Cor 1:1-7

“I dream to heal your wounds, but I bleed myself.” – Sunny Day Real Estate, “In Circles”

You’ve probably felt this way at some point in your life.  “I can’t do another thing.”  “I’m too tired.”  I’ve been hurt too badly to help anyone else.”  When everyone shares this sentiment, the church starts to look like a battle field, littered with dying soldiers writhing in pain.

Paul, however, promotes an alternate vision: “God…comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction…” (2 Cor 1:3-4).  Suffering in this life is certain—a given.  But for those who follow Jesus, dying and rising with him, suffering takes on a new meaning and becomes the conduit for loving like he does.  Perhaps Paul would have written: “I work to heal your wounds because I bleed myself.” 

We run the risk again this year of remaining the forever wounded, of doing nothing but dreaming about healing.  If so, paganism has triumphed rather than Christianity because, as Paul Miller argues, paganism is simply evil management, an attempt to keep things safe, a way to lessen the bleeding.  Jesus, on the contrary, Miller says: “is the massive center of surprise.”  When he arrives, God arrives in surprisingly human ways: hidden in a dark womb, confined to a dirty manger, obligated to unsuspecting parents.  He cries, bleeds, and dies “to heal your wounds.”

Let the church then not remain a battle field, littered with dying soldiers writhing in pain, but become an army of the walking wounded—a mobile hospital for sinners caring compassionately for others in the name of Jesus, whose father is “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor 1:3).

Father, comfort us in every affliction by revealing to us the power of Jesus’ affliction.  And help us to comfort others around us who need comfort with the comfort we have received in his resurrection.  Amen.

 

(I told you it was good.)

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What are your Advent traditions?

Do you have a favorite Advent devotional?

I’d love to hear what you do during the Advent season in the comments below.

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