A Time for Thankfulness in a Season of Hope (The Hope of Christmas Part 1)

A Time for Thankfulness in a Season of Hope
(The Hope of Christmas Part 1)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” we hear it and see it everywhere but do you feel it? This is the time of year we all get extra sentimental and remember to be “grateful”, “thankful”, and full of “Christmas cheer” as if we should be reminded. I’m a sappy and sentimental gal on the regular anyway, so when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year all roll around cue the Hallmark movies, old traditions and memories and here come the waterworks! I just can’t help it!

As we just passed Thanksgiving last Thursday, a time for plenty of food, family time trimmed with the fixings of the Macy’s Parade, football, and Black Friday shopping game plan. Thanksgiving is a special time we recognize as a national holiday to be extra thankful. But yet should we have to be reminded to be grateful for things we take for granted? A full feast: thankful for the food we have to put on our table and in our stomachs. A place to call home and gather with family and make memories.

Each day whether it’s November or not, THANKSGIVING should be a day-to-day celebration of gratitude. Do you have groceries in your fridge and pantry? Check. Do you have clothes and shoes to wear? Check. Do you have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in? Check. Running water to shower, cook, clean and electricity to use? Be thankful to have bills to pay, as hard as it may be to make ends meet, you have the basics. Do you have a family to come home to, or loved ones to gather together with? Check. Do you have a job to make a living? Check. Do you have a vehicle or some sort of transportation? Check. Did you wake up this morning with breath in your lungs and a heartbeat in your chest? If you are reading this, then YES you have so much to be thankful for. Even though there are days, weeks, and months that are really difficult in your year and in your life, every given moment is actually a gift. It IS called the present.

As we go into the Christmas season, let us not get “wrapped up” in the busyness of it all that we forget why we do all these things. Yes, Christmas is fun and magical and usually brings out the kid in all of us, unless your like the Grinch or Mr. Scrooge….then we need to pray and sprinkle a little on cheer on you! Let’s be honest we know the holidays can bring out the best of the stress in all of us at times! But no matter how much house cleaning, decorating and food preparation, gift buying and wrapping, parties, plays, and gatherings there are; there is still something special about this time of year. No matter what kind of year you’ve had, hopeless suddenly becomes a little more hopeful. Lights on the trees and in people’s eyes seem to shine a little brighter. People are generally alot nicer this time of year too! There’s something about Christmas that brings out the inner child in all of us. That child-like faith Jesus spoke of.

As we go into the season, remember that HOPE does exist. The people of Israel were waiting for a Messiah, this promise they had heard of for many years. Some still believed, while others had lost hope. Hope came to a dark, captive world in the form of a tiny baby born in a stable in a small town on a quiet night. This is why we restore our joy at CHRISTmas, a renewed hope that a Savior would one day come. That love came down from heaven to earth when Jesus was born. Let Christmas remind you that hope is never far away.

With that being said, over the next 4 weeks leading up to Christmas…I’m starting a short series of Christmas blogs….we’re calling it “The Hope of Christmas”. So read, reflect, and share the hope with others! Next blog coming at ya next Friday!

 

Tis the season y’all!

your sister, Heather

 

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Moments of Miracles: Living With Everyday Enthusiasm

Moments of Miracles: Living With Everyday Enthusiasm

This is a reflection of life’s littles and bigs.

Every day is full of moments. Moments are made up of minutes and seconds. Minutes and seconds are what make up our lives. But our lives aren’t founded upon and latched to minutes and seconds, but laid upon the foundation of moments. And sometimes it’s small miracles that make a difference between a minute and a moment.

What is a miracle? The definition of miracle is described in three different but similar terms: 1) a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency, 2) a highly improbable or extraordinary event, development, or accomplishment that brings very welcome consequences, 3)an amazing product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something.

Miracles are beautiful wrapped in the ordinary and the extraordinary paper. Miracles can be beautiful and frightening at the same time, something that takes our breath away or shocks us so much we can’t even explain. That’s the point, miracles can’t be explained. Life itself can’t be explained. It’s beautiful, yet frightening because it’s the “fear of the unknown” that holds people back. I’m quite guilty of it at times. To me, I’d rather live life as “why not?!” instead of “what if?”.

As my 26th birthday just passed a month ago in March; I always get a bit more reflective, adventurous and sentimental than usual. Last year when I turned 25, to me it was more of a big deal than 18 or 21. An age where you really start to see your life shaping up around based on the decisions you make, responsibilities you face, values you hold on to, and the memories you make. I love living for Jesus, and because of Him I am a one who gives it my best to live without fear and be adventurous. Experience. It’s been said (although I can’t remember who said it) “Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but the moments that take your breath away”.Therefore one of my motivations is my bucket list! I don’t let this “checklist” control my life like we can with our “to do lists” day-to-day. I let it push me and motivate me, when I feel like I’m not doing well to my own standards or my “imagined” standards of other’s opinions of me (which I know and we all should Who’s opinion and standards truly matter-my Heavenly Father’s), or when I feel stuck in a rut and discouraged with where I am in life, or even when I just feel up for adventure or something purposeful…I look at my bucket list for motivation, to reflect on the accomplishments and places that God has already brought me to and through. I can’t help but get excited! This is what I call living with everyday enthusiasm.

What is “everyday enthusiasm“? To me that means, having a reason to get up out of bed in the morning when I wake up, to thank God for letting me open my eyes and draw another breath into my lungs. By enthusiasm, I don’t mean the chipper and cheesy, oh-so-annoying perky morning person that drives everyone crazy with their sunshine and rainbows. (I have been guilty). It means to simply CHOOSE JOY. Joy is a daily thing, like taking a daily prescribed medicine or a multivitamin. We have to choose it each day. Happiness is circumstantial and temporary, joy is eternal and solid. Our happiness can be tested, or change. Joy is something we choose in spite of circumstances. Once you have joy, and set mind and heart on it-IT CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY. Circumstances like: devastating news, a breakup, a lost loved one, a grim diagnosis of cancer or another aggressive illness, a divorce, job loss, loss of a friendship, or simply sometimes just a bad day. But a bad day does not mean you have a bad life. Circumstances could be on the opposite end of the spectrum too: the little things in life that bring us joy: a long chat with one of your best friends, your favorite song on the radio with the sun shining and windows down, sitting on a porch swing, driving your truck down a dirt road, your favorite fishing spot, that endorphin high from a great workout or that extra mile on your run, your favorite kind of coffee in your favorite mug curled up with your Bible or a good book, a little bit of good news from a friend or family member, a sweet hug or smile, a high-five from a little kid, or just a random act of kindness from a kind stranger. Those are what I call “moments of miracles”. The things we take for granted, memories and everyday moments. Miracles are everywhere in the world around, we can look outside at God’s creation and see it!

But what about those circumstances in life that call for major miracles? I recently went to the theater and saw “Miracles from Heaven” on Easter Sunday with my parents. The movie is about a young girl about 9 years old who gets very sick with an intestinal disease and there is no cure. The story is one that follows her and her family (two sisters, mom, and dad) through her illness and how one crazy turn that could’ve been catastrophic actually was the miracle they had been praying and searching for. The young girl falls 30 ft into a hollow tree which could’ve killed her, yet she is healed from her disease! Sometimes circumstances, the good along with the bad and sometimes downright painful leave us begging for relief: some type of miracle. Some lose their faith or at least struggle with it. Others gain faith that they need even knew they needed or wanted. It teaches us. It strengthens us and weakens us all at the same time if that even makes sense in our human minds. I know friends and family members right now in need of major miracles and serious prayer. Prayer and faith can move mountains. Miracles-the unexpected and unexplained. So I simply leave you with this-find your joy, seek and pray for your miracle or one for someone you love, choose to live your life with “everyday enthusiasm”, see the miracles in every moment. Choose JOY. Be grateful, and always Be HOPEful.

With joy,
your sister in Christ

Heather