Tag Archive | Christmas

My Grownup Christmas List

154659_521031277916121_608422383_nThe little girl with the brown curly hair, sparkle in her blue eyes, and a little white nighty runs to see what is under the tree.   Her parents smiles beam ear to ear; its a full size doll house, with little plastic figures, excitement stirs inside.  The same excitement is in her brother  – he too receives his perfect gift.   But the most important that they all share was the love for one another.

The love that resided within the home was lasting, deep, and strong.   The mother that loves her children so much and wants them to have the best was quick to sacrifice her needs for her loves.  A father that works hard to provide for his family to give them more than the pennies his family had, and wants to be the father he never had a chance to have.    Two children unaware of the challenges behind the scenes, all they feel is love every day and have parents that care so deeply for them.   Challenges come there way as they move from place to place, but the bond is never broken.  The gift that grew was inside their home.

As I look back in time, I have such admiration for the love that was built in our home.    We each have a story, the journey unique to each one of us.   My journey has been one coupled with challenges but always fought with victories, as I had Him in my corner.      My heart has been healed in so many ways, there have been hurts, pain, injury, illness, but as we moved through each of these valley’s the silver-lining always emerged –  the love for family.  Love.   A single word that carries so much meaning…So thankful.

Years ago my Christmas list was about material things, but in this 40th year of my life, my grown up Christmas list is so much more:

  • Good health within our family.   Healing of ailments quickly and strength to run through our veins.
  • Good health for our friends, and those that we interact with every day.
  • Protection and well being for all whom we love.
  • Protection of our sponsor kids and their families, may there lives be blessed and all barriers be broken so that they can have abundance in all things.
  • For peace to reign in times of uncertainty.
  • For those that are struggling for Hope to shine through. 
  • For people to replace anger with forgiveness, to have the ability to let go and enjoy every moment.
  • Forgiveness to always be present.
  • For our family to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest.
  • For the focus of all to be on how we can come together and care for one another.
  • For love to reign. 

We are so blessed, to have the son of God that came to this earth to bring new life, abundance, joy and to always forgive us in all things.   He leads us, loves us and helps us to navigate through this messy life. He is the reason that we have the good in our lives.  May you be blessed during this Christmas season and may love shine on you and yours. 

Dear Lord God, As I sit here today, thank-you for showing me the positive always.   I thank-you for the abundance you have given me as gifts in love, family and life.   May I always be grounded and focused on the people that matter, and may you guide me in times where I am uncertain of my focus.  I thank-you for a heart of love that I have deep inside.  I pray for all of those people today that are struggling, may you bring them light and peace father.  If there are people that have lost loved ones during this season, help to heal the pain.  You are the healer Lord.  You know best, may we always trust you to make right our paths.   Thank-you so much for loving us the way that you do.  I pray for peace, love and joy to erode the earth.  I pray for this in Jesus Name Amen.

May you blessed,

Vanessa

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Advent Week 4 – Renewal

imagesOver the past four weeks, I have written about the following themes:

1)    Rest

2)    Reflection

2)    Hope

3)    And now, Renewal

God wanted me to hear the words I was writing, especially in this season.  My heart has been heavy over the past couple of months.   Heavy with burden, heavy because I feel the pain that others are going through.    My heart has been softened by the hand of God, and sometimes I just wish I could take the pain away.   I know that this is not my role, it is God’s.  He is in control, and He will relieve the suffering in His perfect time.

Matthew 11:28-29 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

 

Is your heart heavy this time of year, especially when we see such turmoil across the land? 

Or is it light? 

Have you lifted up your thoughts, worries and prayers? 

Have you stopped making lists and allowed the peace, joy and serenity to fill your mind?

May I trust in You, Lord, and do good;

May I dwell in the land and feed from Your faithfulness.

When I delight myself in You,

You will give me the desires of my heart.

I will commit my way to You and trust in You,

And you will bring it to pass.

You will bring forth my righteousness like the light,

And my justice like the noonday.

May I rest in You and wait patiently for You;

I will not fret because of those who prosper in their way,

Because of those who practice evil schemes. (Psalm 37:3-7)

 

We are entering the most wonderful time of the year. This is a time when our Saviour was born to bring us peace, understanding, and freedom from the shackles.    All we have to do is Trust, and give it all to the Divine workings of our Maker.   

During this Christmas Season, renew your mind; allow the peace, joy, understanding to consume your thoughts.    Remove the lists, the running, and enjoy every moment.    Immerse your thoughts in love and joy, and thanksgiving.

As I close before the Christmas season, I am going to give my worries, thoughts and fears to God so that I can concentrate on the “right” things this time of year.   So thankful for you Jesus, thank-you for always being there and coming into this world to save us.

 

My Christmas Note to God

Where are you Christmas?

Why is there so much pain?

I pray for those families who are dealing with loss of a loved one.  I pray for You to bring them solace and peace of mind during this season in their lives.  I know You can –  our wonderful Saviour.

Where are you Christmas?

Why are so many in need?

I pray for You to bring hope to those in need during these difficult times.

I pray for my family, bring them strength during this season in our lives.

I come to you Lord and I must lay down all of these burdens, expectations and requests at your feet..  They are too much for me to carry, I don’t have the answers but I know You do.

I pray for Me Lord God, fill my mind with your peace, understanding and wisdom.  Teach me Lord to walk in your ways and to set an example for others in all I do.   Give me strength when I feel like I have nothing left.

Where is Christmas?

Christmas is here, everywhere I look.

Christmas is inside our hearts, and in the hearts of those we love and care about.

Christmas is that special sparkle in your child’s eyes.

Christmas is in the smile that a loved one or friend gives to you.

Christmas is in the laughter and love.

Christmas is in each one of us.

Thank-you Jesus for coming into this world to bring us love, peace and joy.   I pray for you to fill everyone in this world with your love in their hearts; soften them and let them rest and renew their minds and souls to concentrate on the “right” things.

May you be blessed ~Vanessa

Guest Post by Naomi Fata ~ Stressed or Joyful

untitledSnow falls softly Christmas Eve. The children are tucked into bed.

Mother and Father are busy wrapping last minute gifts, baking cookies and . They remark to each other that soon this busy season will be over. This year has been too stressful. All of December had been filled with holiday parties, school plays, baking and so much more. Once again they had overspent their gift  giving budget and dreaded the thought of the credit card bill which would arrive in a couple weeks.

On the mantle, dwarfed by the largess of the Christmas tree, sits the nativity as a quiet reminder of the first gift of Christmas. The Christ Child; whose birth brought the promise of peace, love and joy to our hearts.

Looking around at the stress-filled holiday season I wonder where is the promised peace. A precious gift given to our hearts, peace would mean stress free.

Snow falls softly. Inside wrapping last minute gifts Mother sighs. It has been a busy season, she’s exhausted. Looking at Father she comments that next year they should try something different. Maybe something different. Something simpler. Year after year it seems the holiday season is filled with more activities, more spending, and less joy.

……….

What are some things that you can do differently this year to reduce Christmas stress and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas?

Rather than worrying about the importance of a big gift can you give gifts of time, memories, and love?

During the advent season let’s all remember that it isn’t just the baking, shopping, and interior decorating that matter most. He has called us to be His light in this world. This is a season His light can shine most brightly if we rest in Him, allowing His joy and peace to fill our hearts and flow out of our lives.

Feel free to stop by our website at http://www.christianresourceministry.com and make use of our printable

Christmas cards downloadable at the bottom of this page http://christianresourceministry.com/the-
first-christmas/

By Naomi Fata

Advent Week 2 & 3 – Reflection

reflectionThe first week of advent I spoke of rest, now for the next two weeks, I believe reflection should be the focus. In order to reflect, one must have their mind rested to have a true perspective. The mind must be calmed and not full of the lists or things to do during this Christmas season. As we read the words coming from John the Baptist we see such a great perspective:

John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?”
He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering their hearts if John might be possibly the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.” Luke 3:7-16 NIV

The first concept in this verse refers to not taking more than you need and giving to others. Needs vs. wants is an interesting concept in North American culture, and especially interesting this time of year. I have found myself overwhelmed with what we actually have compared to individuals that may come from nothing.

Have you noticed how many bags people are carrying in the malls during this season? I often watch and wonder if it is necessary.

Are we getting caught up in the “right” things?

This season, as a family we went through our house and started to get rid of the things that were unnecessary. Toys that are hardly ever played, clothing that is not being worn, and items such as old baby car seats that my children have outgrown. I sat back and thought, we have way too much, how did it get to this? My heart sank, as I know right out of my back door are people that would give anything to have these things.  I then thought, what can I do? Where can I give these things?

It is amazing when you ask these questions, someone will appear in need. I believe this is not a coincidence, these situations are meant to happen.

The need came from a wonderful man, who I only met for about 15 minutes who had children that were just the right age for all of these things. He was so very gracious, accepting, and felt like he should give me something for what I was giving to him. But I wanted nothing in return, in fact – I told him he was helping me out! His humble heart had relief in the action I know, and I could see from the look on his face, he couldn’t wait to get home to give these small things to his family…. I wondered that night what the reaction would be of his small children to the new bouncy horse in the house.

I sat back and reflected on what else can I do?

When you reflect on your needs vs. wants do you see abundance?

If you do, then why not take action and give?

The action of giving does not need to be in monetary terms, it could be helping out at a soup kitchen, it could be buying a coffee for the individual that is behind you in line, or saying a prayer for those you see in pain, or even smiling at someone that seems down. To you, this action may be small but to the other it could have made their day, and made the difference.
I believe the state of contentment comes when one realizes that their needs are fully met and in turn realize we are not in control what may happen to us tomorrow. The only thing we can control is our actions. Once we reach this state, we have so much capacity to give. It is overflowing. It is through our giving that a ripple effect occurs. We may not see this effect instantly but it is there.

Sit back and reflect, what can you do? Do you have more than you need?
mangerThe second part of this verse in the bible refers to the coming of Jesus Christ; our Savior. As we reflect on this season much of our reflection should be centered on Jesus. This is what Christmas is about. He came to bring us salvation, what an amazing gift in Him.

Over the course of the past couple of years, many times I have felt overwhelmed with what has happened in our lives. Any one event could have sent someone into a tailspin. However, in every one of these situations, I came to Jesus and my Lord God. I presented my requests, fears and anxiousness to Him. I did this because I knew I could not control what was happening, all I could control is the response. Don’t get me wrong, there were moments where I stuffed feelings, or where I would sit and just let the tears flow. But I knew that God would reign, and He had my best interests at heart. God does not want to see His children hurting.

The enemy wants us to get caught up in the “things” of this life. He wants us to live in the “fears”. When we give into the fears our minds cannot rest, be content, or really present in the moment. We also are not trusting in God, that He will meet our needs because our minds are filled with lies and fear.
During this Christmas season, rest, reflect, and take in what Christmas is really about. Our Saviour came to set an example for us, and to save us from the hurts or the pain. Be content in this season, and fill your mind with joy, thanksgiving, love and happiness. Be “present”, because that action in itself makes all the difference.