Family Life, Love and Faith

The Love That Came Down at Christmas

I never want to lose the wonder and awe that is Christmas. I love everything about this season: the family times, the memories with friends, the laughs, Christmas morning…

And yet, there is even more to celebrate no? To simply say “It’s all about love,” seems too easy and too simple. But isn’t that the beauty of Christmas? It isn’t about us and we don’t have to figure it all out. It’s about love and that’s the greatest news ever.

I love these lyrics from Jars of Clay’s “Love Came Down at Christmas”

Love came down at Christmas
Love, a lovely love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Stars and angels gave the sign

This is so encouraging for some many reasons! It’s not up to me. What a relief. I was recently listening to a sermon by Louie Giglio about the friends who dropped their paralyzed friend through the roof to literally land at the feet of Jesus. That was their job, just like ours. Our job is to point people to Jesus. Let Jesus do the rest. We don’t change hearts. We don’t save anyone. We point them to Jesus, talk about how He’s changed our lives, about His never ending love.

Love.

Love. So simple, yet so divine. We don’t need to worry about changing people’s minds, arguing them to faith (does that ever really work?), giving them a list of don’ts. Heart changing – that’s Jesus’ job.

That’s what I’ve been reminded of this Advent season. That Christmas is about Jesus and celebrating the power of His amazing love and how much we can change the world when we follow in His footsteps and love one another.

I’ll close with this piece of my favorite Christmas song (O Holy Night)

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is Love and His gospel is Peace;
Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother,
And in his name all oppression shall cease,
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful Chorus raise we;
Let all within us praise his Holy name!

Merry Christmas friends!

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Family Life

For Those We Call Brother and Sister

With Thanksgiving in a few short days and Christmas only a few shorts weeks after that, I want to stop, collaborate and listen. Just kidding, I save that for the dance floor.

Back to my post :). This time of year, I find myself thinking often of my family. It’s such a huge part of of the holiday season and one I am so incredibly thankful for, like my brother and sister. From 87 million inside jokes to staying close, life would be incredibly dull without them, so I figured, why not share about them?

And I’m much better with written words than in person, so here we go.

If I ever write a book, these two will definitely be in the dedication. They were forced to love me early on ;), but thankfully have chosen to as well.

Hello 80s and little puppies!

I love that we are each so different. Trust me, we are. Take my brother and I. We might look like twins, but outside of looks we are opposites. Example 1: In a crowd of new people, if I’m by myself, my stress level sky rockets. Hello introvert (unless Tolkien, C.S. Lewis or The Walking Dead comes up, then I’m your bff). My brother? He can talk to anyone, anywhere and become instant friends. I’m pretty sure when we were in Europe, he became friends with the entire nation of France. I actually stress out for him when it comes to meeting people.

Then there’s my sister. I think she’s the Jane and I’m Lizzie. She looks for the best in everyone and is sweet, compassionate and giving. It’s fun to see the traits her little girls have from her as well. She also works in accounting to which I say: No ma’am.

I think it’s these differences that make our sibling-ship (new made up word for the day!) work so well. Where one is weak, the other two step up. By no means do we have it together, TRUST ME, but I know we’re always striving to support and encourage one another.

“I know that in my weakness I am stronger
It’s your love that brings me home.” NEEDTOBREATHE

We are all very close, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been or will be hard times and trying times. Whether having to watch one of them struggle while doing my best to encourage and support (wishing I could take on the pain or hurt) or praying as they make a major life decision that changes our dynamics (like when I moved a mere 1,300 miles away). But through those times, we’ve come out stronger and I’m so grateful and thankful (words are never enough) that our foundation rests in Christ. I truly 100% believe that is why our bond has deepened so much over the past decade and a half.

As you can see, we’re also known for our incredible hair and clothing choices.

I’m not saying it’s all peaches and cream in the world of families. We’ve all seen this (whether in our own families or in people we know). People make hurtful decisions, people hold grudges, people are stubborn and prideful. People sometimes don’t even realize they caused pain. But y’all, I just want to say this: choose forgiveness. Choose mercy. Choose grace. Choose love. There is so much freedom in that. Does that mean everything will be mended and healed instantly and everyone will move on in life skipping while holding hands? No, but don’t let that deter you. There’s something beautiful that awaits!

We like weddings.
These two….(plus my adorable niece)

And what do you know, a favorite song from NEEDTOBREATHE fits perfectly for this post (I know I’ve used it before, but I can’t help it if it’s the perfect song). ‘Brother’ is a song I can listen to anytime, but I love it especially thinking about my brother and sister. Because I know I can depend on these two. I know if I needed to call them at 3:00 a.m., they would answer. I know that when I tell them I’m moving across the country, even if it’s hard, they’ll cheer me on. I know they’ll share truth with me and pray for me. I know they’ll always love me.

And you know what? I’ll do the exact same for them.

“Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home.”

I’d love to hear from you as well! What are some relationships you’re thankful for this holiday season?

I’ll close out with one more:

I’m pretty sure we almost knocked down the entire tapestry behind us trying to take this photo. Our bad!
Love and Faith, Ponderings

I Choose To Believe

With the new year upon us, there’s some things I want to keep believing in (I did a post like this a couple of years ago, but wanted to expand this year!).

So how about you? What are you choosing to hold onto as we make our way into 2014? I’d love to hear your thoughts and goals. As for me,

I choose to believe in Grace
I choose to believe in Second Chances
I choose to believe in Hope
I choose to believe in Love
I choose to believe in Truth
I choose to believe in Forgiveness
I choose to believe in Courage
I choose to believe in Wonder
I choose to believe in Beauty

Love and Faith

Merry Christmas!

May this beautiful Christmas hymn stir your heart!

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe.

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Love and Faith

Christmas Eve – A Holy Night

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
‘Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

O’ Holy Night – Christmas Carol