JOY

Luke 2:9-11 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”

It is Christmas week! Are you ready? Even as an adult, the anticipation of Christmas morning grows stronger every day. I just can’t wait to witness the joy on my children’s faces as they open that special gift from under the tree.

Christmas gifts bring great joy because they are given with love. In the same way, the angel told of the great joy given to everyone….. The gift of Jesus Christ. The joyful luster of our Christmas gifts fade over time, but we can find everlasting joy in the gift of Jesus.

This week we hang our stockings and wait for the big man in red (Santa) to fill them with trinkets and candy. This year, let’s hang our trust on the baby Jesus who came into this crazy world to bring joy to all.

God Bless You and have a Joyful Christmas!

Mary Christmas

Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Are you reading through the 24 chapters of Luke during advent? As Mike was reading Luke 10 at the dinner table 3 days ago, he read the verses above. Wow! I think Luke was writing to me in my 2020 advent season. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the preparations for Christmas. I find lists I have written all through the house. Lists for baking ingredients, lists for gifts to purchase and wrap, lists for decorating ideas, lists for Christmas movies I want to watch, lists for lighted neighborhoods I want to visit……

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the preparations of Christmas. But, Mary chose what was better as she sat at her Lord’s feet. Mary’s focus never left Jesus. This Christmas, give yourself a break. Instead of getting wrapped up in creating the perfect Pinterest Christmas, focus on what is important. Stay at the feet of Jesus.

From my half decorated house to yours, I wish you a very “Mary Christmas”!

The Light

Matthew 2:2 “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

Christmas lights are popping up everywhere. As I drive through neighborhoods this year, I have seen more Christmas lights than I ever have. I don’t know if people have more time to decorate because they are staying home, or if everyone needs a little more Christmas this year. Either way, Christ is shining as bright as the star in the east. In this world of darkness, may the Christmas lights point you in the direction of Christ to worship Him not only on Christmas morning, but all year long.

Christmas blessings to you and your family!

Christmas Time

Luke 1:1-2 Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as thy were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.

Christmas, like most things in 2020 is going to look different this year. Many of the Christmas traditions we celebrate every year in preparation for Jesus’ birthday will be canceled. There will be no Christmas pageants to attend or concerts to experience or cookie exchanges to eat our way through.

We Zoomed with my family on Thanksgiving, after our gathering was canceled. My sweet niece who is two weeks away from delivering her third was on the call. She is prepared to have this child, pandemic or not. During these difficult days, how are you preparing for the birth of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus?

This year we have been blessed with the gift of fewer gatherings and more quiet time at home. During the time I have been given, I am partnering with Faith Radio to read the 24 books of Luke during December. Every night during dinner, we will read a book from Luke. Please join me as we spend more time in the WORD and less time in the WORLD.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Blessings to you and your family!

Thanksgiving Is Canceled

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

2020 continues to be a rough year. This week the Governor of Minnesota shut down the entire state due to the virus spiking to all time high in our state. At midnight on Friday all bars and restaurants closed. Youth and adult sports along with health clubs were halted. But the worst restriction was no indoor gatherings of more than one household. We were planning to host my entire family for thanksgiving. My parents, sisters, nieces and nephews were traveling here from several states to celebrate not only Thanksgiving, but our Dad’s 80th birthday which happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year. (If you see my dad this week, make sure to wish him a happy birthday) On Friday we decided to cancel our family Thanksgiving celebration. It was a difficult situation, but the health of my parents and siblings had to come first. We will have a huge reunion once things get under control.

So, instead of feeling sorry for myself, I have decided to invite Jesus to our thanksgiving table. I will prepare a feast of turkey and pumpkin pie that we will eat until we are stuffed, all the while giving thanks to the Lord for he is good: his love endures forever. We have so much to be thankful for even during a worldwide pandemic. Spend your thanksgiving counting your blessings instead of wallowing in what you are missing.

May you all have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Shelter

Psalm 61:4-5 I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

Shelters come in many forms for all people and animals. But, to shelter in the wings of God is the most comforting type of shelter there is. Those who have loved the Lord from generation to generation pave the way for us to find our way to the shelter of God’s wings.

Because we have the record of God’s amazing power and unwavering faithfulness to previous generations, we can be confident that everything he promised to those who came before us will be ours as well. God has called each of us to be distinctly their own. We all have a godly heritage that is important to pass down from generation to generation.

Take comfort with your loved ones in the wings of the Lord this week as you share God’s personal story from your life.

FIRE

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

We experienced a tragedy in Northfield this week. On Thursday afternoon a fire broke out in our landmark downtown hotel. The historic hotel has been the anchor of our city for over 143 years. Our volunteer firefighters fought the blaze nonstop for over 24 hours. The fire spread through the walls, compromising the floors making it impossible to fight the blaze from inside. The structure may be a total loss.

Tragedy knows no bounds, it can strike at any moment and can happen to anyone without regard to the trail it leaves behind. Experiencing tragedy first hand or watching a friend go though a difficult situation can put us in a shadow of overwhelming sadness. Jesus is no stranger to tragedy. Turn to Jesus in times of tragedy for He has overcome the world.

Everyone was evacuated from Thursday’s fire. No one lost their life. The community came together to offer food, beds, barricades, salt for the frozen roads, and backup from other communities. Jesus was with the people involved in Northfield’s tragedy. Jesus is with you every minute of every day, even during tragedies.

Wilderness

Isaiah 40:3-5 A voice of one calling “In the desert prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

What a week this has been! We saw spikes in COVID-19 leaving available ICU beds at record low numbers. We witnessed a historic election that lasted for days. Both events I pray we will never have to experience again.

How do you handle the stresses in life that you can not control? Are you able to give all of your cares to the Lord? Or do you mistakenly hold on to a piece of the chaos as you discuss it with friends or share posts on social media? God’s got this! God has walked through the wilderness before. He has handled plagues and rulers in the past. God is in control of our current situation as well.

This week we were outside raking leaves when I discovered an entrance into our woods at the west side of our property. We stepped in to find the most beautiful meandering trail that led us through the thick of the woods to the back of our property. The winding path is an absolute joy to walk instead of taking the straight gravel path on the east side of our property. Believe in Jesus and the path he has for you as you navigate the areas of life you have no control over. Pray for the sick and pray for our country as we walk through the wilderness together.

Light Of The World

John 9:4-5. “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Today we begin Daylight Savings Time. We gain an extra hour. What will you do with your extra hour? What would Jesus do? Jesus would heal the blind man. Jesus would pray to his Father in heaven. Jesus would teach his disciples. Jesus would love the unlovable.

Today we begin Daylight Savings Time….. Use your extra hour of light wisely!