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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

I breathe in the crisp, night air. It is snowing. The neighbors’ yards are glistening with what snow has already fallen. The road is wet and intermittently icy. There are Christmas tree lights in many windows. Lamp light warms the living rooms of the houses that I pass by. I can see into my parent’s front window. My entire family is inside. All the children are in bed, the adults gathered in the living room/dining room. Soon I will join them. But not now. Not yet.

A sudden and intense longing to move my legs and breathe some fresh, winter air has landed me in the middle of the street. And in my haste I have only taken the time to don a pair of tennis shoes and a light jacket over the pajama pants and t-shirt I was already wearing. The wind cuts through the thin fabric of my attire. Ice cold water climbs my pants as each blue cuff drags the ground. The moisture quickly seeps into my shoes as well, and my wet socks begin to cling to my frozen toes. I stick my hands into my jacket pockets to spare them from the frigid air. Instinctively, my shoulders hunch and my core muscles contract in their effort to protect me from the cold, and for several moments I allow them to.

I walk in silence, filling my lungs with the cold, winter air, then slowly letting it all back out again. But my hunched shoulders and contracted core are counteracting my deep breaths and preventing the relaxation that usually accompanies them. When I realize this, I make the decision to let go and to be fully present in my cold surroundings instead of trying to hide from them. The difference this makes is remarkable. Almost instantly all of the tension I am holding begins to melt, like that last thin layer of snow that still covers the ground on a sunny winter day. Somehow, in the moments following, the cold doesn’t seem to bother me so much.

“I don’t know what to pray for, God.” I finally blurt out quietly, without really meaning to, shaking my head. This confession breaks the night’s silence as well as the disconnect I have felt for several days now. “I know that I need You. I know that I need…something. Please help me.”

What happens after I utter my plea, “please help me”, I can only describe as a direct response from my Father in Heaven and a truly incredible experience- like He is praying the prayer for me and answering it all at the same time, telling me what I should ask for, then granting the request the moment it is asked.

The words in bold are the words that came to my mind, that I offered to Him. The words in italics were the words He gave  back to me.

my childrenpatience. a fresh perspective.

future childrenpeace. hope. that I will not live in fear. that my hope will be in God, not in my own plan.

my husbandto be Jesus to him. compassion. keeping the fire burning.

my family appreciation.

our small groupinspiration.

the lostwisdom for how to serve and love them.

my purposeclarity. a vision.

my passiondirection.

A calmness and a sense of clarity fill my heart and my mind as I meditate on each word He gives me.

When I am almost back to the house, I feel I should end my prayer as I often do- by counting my blessings. Immediately when this thought comes to mind, He reminds me to be thankful for my health, my home, my family, and hope. And oh, how right He is! My heart feels as though it will burst with gratitude for the blessings He has given me.

As I walk back up the driveway, the scripture, “If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves.” Romans 8:26-27, plays through my head and makes me wonder- was tonight an example of this?

I think I will always remember, how on this Christmas night, if only for a few minutes, the world around me was silent and white. And how when I stepped outside in pursuit of a walk and a deep breath, the ensuing stillness led me back to my Creator.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

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Christmas Eve

Christmas to me is eggnog and gingerbread cookies. Its a month of Christmas music on 92.9 and 93.7. Its my four year old and my one year old’s exclamations as we wonder through the aisles in ToysRus and dream up a wish list for Santa. Its Home Alone and Elf and White Christmas and Christmas Vacation (to name a few). Its the hot chocolate, hot coffee, hot anything really that is so much enjoyed and appreciated during these cold, cold months. Its blankets and sweaters and the warmth of cranberries and cinnamon heating on the stove. Its the lights on our eaves that I admire any night that I pull in our driveway. And our Christmas tree in the front window, its lights that I turn on every afternoon as the sun goes down. Its the lights and decor on our friends’ houses and our neighbors’ houses.

Christmas to me is the Christmas CDs that I grew up listening to -Amy Grant, Roger Whitaker, Celine Dion and more- each one reminding me of the safety and simplicity of being a child in my parents’ home. Its the tradition of seeing the lights at Opryland and the anticipation that begins with the trees and decor that go up in every store, every year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is the comforting smell of holiday scented soaps and the soothing smell of a real Christmas tree.

Christmas to me is home, is family, is warmth. It is joy and excitement and anticipation.

And it is celebration. A celebration of the birth of a precious baby boy born in Bethlehem. A baby boy who’s birth changed everything. A baby boy who’s birth makes the joy, the excitement, the peace of the Christmas season possible for us all.

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