Matthew 15:3-9 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he is not to ‘honor his father’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of god for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
Over the years, in our home we have created several Christmas traditions – from specific cookies to a new ornament on the tree to matching handmade pajamas to open as the first gift on Christmas Eve. They started out as fun Christmastime activities, but a few have turned into monsters. Now that our children are in college or living on their own, I have decided to eliminate the monsters and focus on the meaningful.
One of the traditions that has been altered in our home is that Santa no longer brings underwear, socks and trinkets for the stockings. Instead he gives books and uniforms to children in India, he gives mosquito nets, he gives chicks, sheep and pigs to provide families living in poverty a better future. Our kids love it! This is a tradition we will continue for many years.
As our children grow and our parents age it is important to take a step back to look at the traditions we have created to evaluate if our traditions draw us to Jesus or distract us from celebrating His birth.
I would love to hear feedback from you on your favorite Christmas traditions.
Have a blessed, peaceful Christmas season!
Psalm 84:1-5 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself where she may have her young – a place near your altar. O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
This week our oldest son along with his lovely new bride and rambunctious hunting dog relocated for his job, moving from North Carolina to Iowa. It is an exciting but anxious time in their lives.
Our family has relocated twice for my husbands job. I was filled with anticipation for the thrill of adventure each time we moved to another state. The first weeks, even months flew by as I settled into a new home, community and acclimated the kids to a new school. Shortly after everyone settled into their new routine I became lonely. I missed the familiar area where I grew up. It was the first time I had lived away from family and struggled with the new connections I was supposed to be making. As I prayed, God came along side me. He walked with me through those hard days directing me toward a church where I met people with a strong faith that would change my life forever.
God has been with his people, relocating them to where he needs them since Adam and Eve lived in the garden and Moses traveled in the wilderness. God is with us!
Psalm 46:10-11: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
As we enter the advent season, it seems like this time of year we are bombarded with noise everywhere we turn. This weekend overshadowing Thanksgiving, we have had Black Friday (which begins in many stores on Thursday), Small Shop Saturday and Cyber Monday. We are encouraged to bake delicious cookies, buy the perfect gift for every person we know, and beautifully decorate our homes with the latest and greatest lights, ornaments and greenery. Oh, and don’t forget the concerts and Christmas parties we are expected to attend in our new, perfectly matching holiday clothes.
Don’t get me wrong. I love this time of year! But, in all the excitement of the Christmas season remember to take time to be still. Take time to celebrate the true reason for the season – Jesus Christ, the Lord Almighty, the God of Jacob.
How will you celebrate His birth this year?
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Spend the first 5 minutes of your day in quiet time with Jesus this week, thanking him for all he has done.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!
James 3:17-18: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
A soldier’s boots are big shoes to fill. My dad, my hero, served our nation when he was a younger man like many others who we celebrated this week on Veteran’s Day.
Sadly, Veteran’s Day this year was over shadowed by numerous protests taking place throughout the country because of our presidential election. In my opinion, neither candidate was a perfect choice. But, the votes were cast and we now have a new President. So, instead of spending time and effort protesting, lets use that same amount of effort to pray and support our new President and our country. Pray that things in this great nation turn around so that we see God in our policies and God in our schools again.
How did you spend your Veteran’s Day? Were you celebrating our hero’s who fought for our peace and freedom? Or were you in the street protesting? God is in control. Spend your days promoting love and peace. It is what our great nation was founded on. God’s love is the only thing that will hold our country together.
So, to whom will you show peace and love this week – your world, your nation, your community, your workplace, your church, your school, your family, your marriage?
Be a peacemaker!
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
“In knitting, as in everything else, you learn as much from your mistakes as you do from your successes.” -Pam Allen, Editor, Interweave Press
I have had the privilege of spending this past weekend attending classes and lectures at Vogue Knitting Live in Minneapolis. I have learned so much, and realized I have so much to learn…. The sampler in the picture is a piece I worked on in a color strand knitting class. Looking back, I am not happy with all of my color choices. I made a few color mistakes, but I have learned from those mistakes. I enjoyed the process of choosing colors and, oh, I do love the rhythm of knitting, but following the color chart was a challenge. The more I study the pattern and knit, the more proficient I become and the more beautiful my finished garments will be.
The same is true when we spend time daily in God’s word. The Bible is God’s pattern for our life. When we follow the instructions provided we find peace. When we continually go back to the instructor, we will be successful. Take time this week to learn something new!
Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Affliction – hardships, calamities and suffering often lasting a long time. Sometimes imposed by others, sometimes self imposed and at other times divinely imposed.
Cancer, an affliction none of us want to face, yet it is everywhere we look. It seems the number of people I know and love that have been diagnosed with cancer continues to increase. It makes me angry. It seems so unfair when a little 5 year old with no hair is missing days from kindergarten because she has to travel for her chemo treatments. Or another friend has been in the hospital with leukemia for the past 6 months only to come home for the day for his daughter’s third birthday. Or spending last weekend helping my friend wearing her “hair hat” work her antique booth at a show. How can we continue to fight this battle? I cried out to God, and He gave me Romans 12:12. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
So join me this week to pray for the afflicted, their family’s and support systems as they battle the disease of cancer.