Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas What If

Seriously, would you have anything right now? Would you have a place to stay? Would you have a job? Would you be in a relationship? Would you have hair? teeth? Would you even have life???

One of my favorite pastors Bob Coy spoke on Sunday about being thankful. His message confirmed to me yet again that I need to keep refocusing my attention to what is important during this Christmas season. His first question was what I posted above and sadly I know that if God gave me according to my thankful attitude lately, I would be desolate or dead right now!
It is so easy to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas festivities and giftings to the point of stress and hurt during a time that should be filled with joy, merry making and gratitude.
So, what's a person to do? Well Bob gives us three ways to get us started.
1. To cultivate a thankful heart, appreciate what you have

David in Psalm 23 may not have gotten everything he "wanted" but he did have everything he needed. I don't prefer the Message Bible but I do love how this particular psalm reads. You can find that here
2. To cultivate a thankful heart, invest for a better future (both on Earth and in Heaven)

Offering a helping hand to a coworker/neighbor goes a long way in improving your relationship with these individuals but it also adds stocks and options in your heavenly portfolio. And this is just one example!
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth not rus destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  -Matthew 6:19-21
3. To cultivate a thankful heart, give unlimited grace just as you have been given unlimited grace.
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" - Ephesians 1:7
Isn't it wonderful how God confirms how He wants us to live our lives? Here I am trying to become a more thankful person, counting my way to 1000 gifts, learning more about God's grace AND THEN in one sermon I hear the same messages repeated!!! I so love the fact that my heavenly Father cares enough to point me in the right direction over and over and over and over again :)

Thank Pastor Bob for your convicting message this week. If I lived close to your church I would so come there!!!

So dear reader, my encouragement once again to you is focus on what is most important. Be an encourager and when shopping/cooking/partying/gift wrapping threaten to take your joy away, remember Who we are celebrating and thank Him for all He has done for you today.

In Christ, MrsH
Linking to Living Well Wednesdays and A Holy Experience

Monday, December 19, 2011

I heard the Bells on Christmas Day - Origins

One of my favorite Christmas songs is “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” by Casting Crowns. Every time I hear the words I am reminded of the fact that this life is full of sorrow whether my own or of those around me. Yet in the midst of all the sorrow, I know that I know that I know God is always with me!

I looked up the origin of the song and it only served to make this song dearer to me. It was penned by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) who experienced his fair share of tragedy. His wife died tragically from fire and his son Charles was crippled from war wounds. Christmas at this time in his life was not a happy occasion. Think about it, his countrymen were fighting amongst themselves, his wife was dead and now his son was severely wounded. Here are some excerpts from his journal around Christmas time:
How inexpressibly sad are all holidays.”
"I can make no record of these days. Better to leave them wrapped in silence. Perhaps someday God will give me peace."
Indeed thinking of “peace on earth” while people were fighting everywhere, seemed a little ironic to him. In fact his poem was pretty much against war even though it is very Christmas-y. Three stanzas are omitted from Casting Crowns version, two of which refer to the Civil War.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Cheer in our home

So, I am falling in love with totally smitten with Pinterest. Granted it can become a time waster but I have to say that it is a creative way to figurative things you have always wanted to do or find projects of things you did not know existed but now you simply have to do - ok maybe you don't have to but you want to...

As I have been surfing the Pinterest site and pinning anything and everything that caught my fancy, I decided that I need to start making stuff instead of just adding to a "future list". To date I have made a monogram as a wedding gift which you can see in this post and then this past weekend I made a beautiful wine bottle centerpiece inspired by this pin:

The design and how-to can be found at Cleverly Inspired. When I saw it, I knew that some craftiness would be flowing in our household this Christmas. Here is my version of this centerpiece:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Can you smell it? I sure can!

That wonderful tingling anticipation
The crispness in the air
The aroma of beautiful inspiring interesting creativity seeping from our pores
Of course we all know it means that Christmas is HERE!!!

It has been aptly named the most wonderful time of the year and can be the most stressful as well right? I mean we have to ensure that the outside lights are hung right after the Thanksgiving meal is cooling in our bellies.
We must find cute Advent calendars to put out so that we can have a tangible Christmas countdown
Of course the perfect Christmas tree has to be found and decorated soonest!
And, how can I forget, we need to start sending out those cute either hand-made Christmas cards or the perfect photocard or that jaw-dropping ecard amiright???