Hello & Merry Christmas from the beautiful Western Slope of Colorado! We hope that wherever you find yourself today, you are able to enjoy the peace of Jesus and the promise of hope because LOVE came down for you and for me!
“But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12 CSB
What a blessing that we get to be connected in Christ across all of the miles and across so many blog posts! You dear friends, are some of my very favorite gifts!
Christmas brings all kinds of gifts into our lives. Not just the shimmer-wrapped gifts that are gently placed under the tree, and not even the ones that show up in the driveway with a big red bow on top (does that even happen in real life?!). I’m talking about the gifts we didn’t know we needed– gifts of comfort and joy.
We live in a world where even amidst being in pandemic, the songs heard overhead in the stores are the merry ones- the ones that have some pep and happy lyrics. Everywhere we turn in town, we see colorful reminders that this season is a cheerful one. In the daytime we see the beauty of frost and evergreen, and in the dark hours of night we see the glistening glow of Christmas lights beneath soft blankets of snow.
Inside our hearts, we can feel the excitement and the anticipation of gathering with loved ones at parties or coffee meetups. We can feel the urgency to finish all the shopping for the big meal or the letdown of realizing we forgot to grab the bag of chips for the 3rd time this week (don’t ask me how I know). We can also feel the joy of wrapping up the thoughtful gifts we’re planning on giving away to our loved ones.
We can feel a lot this season.
During my last post on the blog, we looked at the feelings we experience during the holidays when our hearts are heavy with grief. How knowing we have a Wonderful Counselor to be our source of strength and hope during the holiday season.
No matter if we are living life to the fullest and everything seems jolly, or if we just can’t seem to catch a break and the hits keep coming – we are all in need of comfort and joy this season. God knew we would need both.
We, you and me friend, need the comfort of His presence to remind us how loved we are and where we belong – close to His heart. We need the joy we find in His presence- lasting joy that doesn’t fade away when life feels out of control and hard.
We need both.
I need both.
Let’s take some time today to slow down to receive those gifts from God.
Speaking of slowing down, some of the most favorite and beloved Christmas songs are the slow ones- the ones that cause us to be still and to ponder; to wait for the “good part” or wait for the beautiful ending. On this Christmas Eve, may we create space to slow down for a moment and lean in to hear the “good part” – the part where the King of Kings sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to be Emmanuel- God with us. The part where Jesus came down to meet us at the very point of our need: our need for a Savior, our need for a Healer, our need for a Good Shepherd and Faithful Friend. The gift of His presence didn’t just end when He arrived, it continues to be with us today and, He promised He would be with us to the end of the age. He is our peace dear friends, and He has also given us the gifts of His comfort & His joy.
He is The Light that came to a dark and weary world, He is the Great Comfort we so desperately need and the Giver of Joy that this world cannot take away. He’s the Giver of Good & Perfect Gifts then, now, and in all the days to come.
May we experience comfort from His presence and joy from His Holy Spirit today and always.
Peace, Comfort, & Joy Dear Friends – liz:)
Let’s Pray:Lord Jesus, thank You for knowing our needs and meeting them too. Thank you for the promise that You are Emmanuel, God with us. Thank you for coming down for all humanity – and for being Our Light. We need Your presence today Lord, and in Your presence we find both gifts of comfort and joy. Your gifts are good because You are good and this Christmas Eve, remind our hearts that we have already been given these gifts for our soul. When the world feels cold and dark, shine Lord, so we can see Your goodness in front of us. Thank You Lord for the comfort and joy we find in You alone, Amen.
Go The Extra Mile: Check out one of my favorite Chrsitams carols below as The Petersen’s share, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentelemen”! This is a beautiful version and I hope it reminds us that we are given both comfort & joy because of Jesus!
BONUS: I couldn’t leave out my all-time favorite Christmas carol…I had to include my favorite version of, “O, Holy NIght” by Celine Dion! Enjoy it today as you prep for whever you’re going!
It’s a cold and frosty morning here on the Western Slope of Colorado and right outside of my dining room window, I can see the twinkling lights we set up last night on our bushes. I know- it’s a little late, but there are just some things that I wanted to be sure we still accomplished this season. Setting up Christmas lights outside of the house always brings a smile to my face. It brings light and joy to my neighborhood that is usually pretty dark at night. I love to see strands of lights all over the houses. At Christmastime, seeing those small glimmers of light in the neighborhood helps us to keep going down the street to discover more, and it also helps us keep going on our journey as we keep trusting that there is more light ahead.
The holidays can often feel dark and dreary for some. And when I say some, I include myself in that lot. Maybe the loss is still a little too fresh to your heart. Maybe the last interaction you had with an estranged loved one didn’t go the way you planned. You might even feel disconnected from the season because it holds more difficult memories and burdens from years past. Whether it’s an absence due to the loss of a loved one or the empty seat because a loved one hasn’t come home for many years – it can make us question what is so wonderful about Christmas. On this cold morning, I wanted to bring some hope to our hearts. This season is still wonderful – Not because of what we currently feel, what’s under the tree, or even what we have checked off from a holiday list. No, Christmas is wonderful because of Who is with us through it all.
If this holiday season feels dark because of the shadow of grief or maybe even because of what life has thrown your way, I encourage you to look for the little bits of light around you today. Let’s look for the trail of hope that God Himself has set out before us in big and small ways – the hope for the hurting heart is real and available for us today. Like the string of lights beneath my windowpane, God has placed light and hope right in front of us at the exact right moments to lift our spirit. We don’t have to walk through grief alone this holiday season. We can reach out to friends for encouragement and prayer but even more importantly, we can call out to The Lord. I’m so thankful to God for the invitation He gives us to bring our burdens to Him.
This Christmas, we get to celebrate the birth of Jesus because He came down and lived, shared in our sufferings and understands our sorrows, and He experienced death so that we could have salvation from sin and have a new life in Him. God’s greatest gift to us was and still is Jesus – Emmanuel, God With Us.
He is with us right in the middle of the ache and in the middle of the tears that still fall.
He is with us in the middle of the celebrations that come with both joy and sadness because of who is around us and who is no longer here.
He is with us when the season doesn’t feel all that wonderful and even when it does.
He is the One that is Wonderful this Christmas season.
He is the One Who walks with us in the middle of the beautiful and the broken.
He is the One who sees the condition of our heart and comes to apply compassionate love and restores our joy.
He is with us friend.
He is the Light in our darkness the hope of the world.
He is still Wonderful this Christmas.
He is all that we were promised He would be:
“For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7 CSB)
So when the season doesn’t feel so wonderful, let’s remember that He is still wonderful. Not only is He wonderful, He’s able to make our spirits bright with His love and light.
Let’s Pray: Heavenly Father, we come before you today in the name of Your Son Jesus, and we bring you all of our hearts. All of the ache and all of the heaviness we place in your loving and compassionate hands. We want to cast our cares upon You because we know that You care for us. Lord, we ask You to shine Your Light on our hearts when the darkness and heaviness sets in. Thank You for the promise that You are a shelter for the weak and a strong tower that we can run to when we need security and peace of mind. God, remind us today that You are still wonderful and powerful and able to bring peace to our souls in the midst of the season. You are so kind to walk with us through all that we experience in this life, and Lord, we thank You for your presence right here with us. Thank You Lord. Amen.
Go The Extra Mile: Friends, I had to share this song with you today. It has been a comfort to me this season, so please take time today to listen to this song from one of my favorite bands, CAIN, and I pray your heart would be reminded of how wonderful God is.