Christmas, God's Love, Salvation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Warmth: Allowing God’s Gift of Eternal Life to Burn in Our Soul

God sent His Son to warm our hearts. His warmth is all you need to have eternal life. This gift was given to all of us. Let God’s fire warm your life.



I love a good fire on a crisp cool night. The light of the fire dancing as waves of heat move over cool skin feels elemental and natural. The smell of smokey wood burning brings a flood of childhood memories washing over me.

God sent His Son to warm our hearts. His warmth is all you need to have eternal life. This gift was given to all of us. Let God's fire warm your life. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Memories

My grandparents loved to go camping. We spent lots of time living out of their little camper. When I was in Girl Scouts some of my fondest memories are of the Jamboree where we would tent camp near the lake in Louisburg, NC. Now we spend time by the fire pit listening to nature, eating s’mores, talking and just being.

So, a few weeks ago while sitting by the fire, we were listening to “old school” songs. I pulled out an old Colin Raye song “What if Jesus Came Back Like That.” I remember the first time I heard this song. Lying in my dorm room listening to the CD I had gotten for a cent from BMG. Colin Raye had won Entertainer of the Year and I had recently gotten into country music. I listened to this song over and over again, intent on hearing and learning all the words. Tears streamed down my face because this song spoke to my soul.

Seeing God’s Fire

This song tore me apart. What if Jesus came back as anything other than the King? What if the homeless person on Franklin Street was how He came back? Or if he came from a drug-infested hovel? Didn’t he come so humbly before? Why would he come back differently?

He came to town on a cold dark night
A single star was his only light
The baby born that silent night
A manger for his bed

What if Jesus comes back like that
Where will he find out hearts are at
Will he let us in or turn his back

Feeling the Warmth of God’s Love

As we race toward Christmas, I think we need to stop and consider the story. A young pregnant girl, engaged to a man who wasn’t the father of her child. Talk about being out in the cold…

They were on a journey across rough roads to be counted for a government who held them in contempt. They finally made it to the little town of Bethlehem but found nowhere to stay. A stable full of animals was the best they could find. And it was in this situation that Jesus was born.

Mary wasn’t in a nice soft bed, attended to by nurses and doctors who were seeing to her every comfort. Smelly, dirty, cold conditions surrounded the newborn. God, our Father, allowed His only Son to be born into such humble conditions. But, His love for us through His Son kept everyone warm.

Jesus came to bring a fire to our spirit. To be a light in the world. He came to warm us from the coldness of separation from God. Click To Tweet

Spreading the Warmth of God’s Love

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, in as much as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

Matthew 25:40, NKJV

God has given us clear instructions. He is in each of us and that is why we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Those who are in crisis need our help, not our condemnation. We need to pray for them and with them. Give joyfully of our resources to help others. And take it back to the old-school question: “What Would Jesus Do?”

Jesus came to bring a fire to our spirit. To be a light in the world. He came to warm us from the coldness of separation from God. We need to take Him into our lives and love Him wholeheartedly.

It rises at one end of the heavens and runs its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is trustworthy, making wise the simple…

Psalm 19:6-7, NIV

Dear God,

I am in awe of your love. Help me to pay attention to Your warmth. Let me share it with others. You were humble enough to have your Son born in a lowly stable. Let me see you in others and remember to love others as you would. 

love,

me

God sent His Son to warm our hearts. His warmth is all you need to have eternal life. This gift was given to all of us. Let God's fire warm your life. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Bye Bye Santa!

The time had come. It was time to tell our oldest child, who is 8 (and a half), that we had been lying to him for the past several years. It was time to tell him that who he knew as Santa, was all make-believe.

This was not approached lightly. We sought advice from family and friends. I searched the internet to see when was the best age to shatter their little hearts. I searched for what was the best way to tell them. We even considered letting others tell him. And in the end…

Let’s go back a bit in time first. Way back actually to when I was a child. I personally have no memory of believing in Santa Clause. I am the youngest of four, so I have just always assumed that I never had a chance to believe in him because there was no way my siblings would have been able to keep that secret. My parents taught me about the real St. Nicholas, and that all good gifts come from God. Christmas was actually about the birth of Christ, and my Barbies came from my parents.

I never had any intention of starting the whole Santa fiasco. But kids just somehow pick up on it, even if they are not in school. When my oldest was 3 I asked him who his presents were from, and he responded with, “Santa!” Since then, we did get on the Santa sled of lies joy. We would leave out cookies, I would write notes “from Santa,” and of course go and see Santa! And oh! Going to see Santa was the best. For the past three years, we have taken our kiddos to a family Christmas event that my husband’s company would put on. It is so well done. All of it is put on by the actual employees, including Ol’ St. Nick. Turns out Santa works in the technology field. Who knew. My son truly believed that the real Santa Clause came to his dad’s work every year. Santa at the mall? He’s a fake.

Last year my husband considered telling him. I just couldn’t do it. And after talking with my sister, and hearing how her son reacted with a look of heartbreak, I knew it just wasn’t time. But this year… well, my son can be quite sensitive, and he is now in school. I just did not want him to be told at school and not be able to respond however he felt.


It was time.

It began with my sons making Christmas lists. Listening to my older son making comments about his list and Santa, my husband gives me the look. We step into the other room and have an impromptu how-we-are-going-to-handle-this meeting. It was decided. It was time.

We went outside and sat on the steps.

Me: So do you remember how we learned about the real St. Nicholas who lived many hundreds of years ago?

Him: Yes.

Me: And how he secretly gave gold coins so a young lady could marry who she wanted to?

Him: Yes.

Me: And people started to secretly give gifts to celebrate Christmas?

Him: Yes.

Me: And you know that the real St. Nicholas is no longer alive?

Him: Yes.

Me: And who you know as Santa Claus is based on this real person?

Him: Um, yes.

Me: There is no Santa Claus.

Him: (eyes wide as saucers) What?

Me: There are no elves…

Him: Oh, I knew that already.

Me: There is no workshop at the North Pole. There are no flying reindeer.

Him: I was going to ask Santa about that! Wait- Then who is that man at dad’s work?!?!?

Me: (fighting back giggles) Um, well, just some man who dresses up as Santa.

Him: Then where do all my presents come from?

Me: Well… dad and I.

Him: How do you do all of that on Christmas Eve?!?!?

Me: (all out laughing at this point) We don’t do it all on that night. We buy stuff ahead of time.

Him: You must be super tired then on Christmas, having to be up all night setting out presents. (You’d think that we buy them crazy amounts of toys. I assure you we don’t. I think last year they got 2 toys each.)

Me: So are you ok?

Him: Yeah. I’m a little bummed though.

Me: I know buddy. Now, you are not allowed to tell your friends at school, or your brother!

It really went very well. I expected tears and uncontrollable sobbing. It ended up being quite light-hearted and humorous. Now that a few weeks have passed, he is really getting into talking up Santa with his little brother. He is enjoying being on the inside of this little ploy with us!


Is it the right time?

Here is my non-psychologist-but-I-am-a-mom advice if you are finding yourself in this situation:

You know your child. Trust yourself and trust your little one. If you have developed a trusting relationship with them, they will continue to trust you. But you may want to confirm that they will still get presents even though Santa is not real!

Also ask yourself:

  • Are they able to know the difference between fantasy and realty?
  • If they find out from others, how will they respond?
  • Are they starting to question certain aspects of the Santa story (elves, reindeer, etc.)?

 

Have you told your children the truth about Santa? How did you tell them? Did they take it well?

 

xoxo

 

 

santa

Dashing Through the Holidays (and laughing all the way)!

I was running around like a crazy lady. I had about 2 hours to get all my errands done while my hubby was home with the kiddos. And I said it. I admitted I was ready for the holidays to be over. So sad. I already have a humbug reputation because I don’t like Christmas music. Now I was wishing the whole season away.

There are parties to go to, eggnog to drink, cards to write, children to dress up, and friends to hug. So much fun stuff. The problem is, this is in addition to: a job to work, a house to clean, children to feed, laundry to wash, and groceries to buy.

Lots of people do not have the luxury of slowing down during this time. Think about it:

  • The retail worker
  • The delivery person
  • The mom of school age children
  • The mom of a child with special needs
  • The mom of a child with compromised health
  • The mom whose husband travels
  • The single mom
  • The mom (what mom isn’t busy??)

 


 

I hear people talk about slowing down and focusing on what Christmas is all about. That sounds nice and all, but is that realistic? Can we have both? Can we be crazy busy, but still enjoy ourselves? And most importantly keep focus on the point of Christmas?

I have been thinking about the birth of Christ, and what it was really like. Most likely…

It was not peaceful: Mary was 9 months pregnant. Traveling. On a donkey. I was 7 months pregnant traveling in a SUV and was miserable. I guarantee there was some stress involved. The urgency to get there. Feeling uncomfortable. Needing to pee.

It was not quiet: There was no planned induction with an epidural scheduled. My last two babies came super quick and I did not have an epidural. I’m naturally a loud talker when I get excited (my family will attest to that), but in the delivery room my husband was actually uncomfortable with how loud I was. Non-medicated childbirth involves some yelling. Or at least strained moaning. And then there’s the baby. Now I know he was the son of God and perfect and all, but I’m willing to bet he cried. A lot. (I was just informed this week that some people do believe that Jesus never cried and that the birth wasn’t painful. I respectfully disagree. But that’s a whole different conversation for another time.)

But I’m sure that…

It was joyous: Pushing out a baby is no easy task (with or without medication), but holding your child for the first time is absolutely one of the most joyous moments that can be experienced (including adoptive parents).

It was awesome, humbling, emotional, and a relief: Can you imagine? Her whole life she was taught that a Savior would come and rescue them. And then to be chosen to be the one to give birth to said Savior. And she loved Him, not just with a devout love, but with a mother’s love. In her arms was the baby who would grow to be a man that would provide a way for all people to be reunited with God. Not for people to be saved from a worldly ruler, but to be saved from an eternity apart from God.

 


 

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not able to slow down, then just embrace the hustle and bustle. And as you are rushing around buying/wrapping/giving gifts, remember the gift that was given for us. Rejoice! Turn up the Christmas music! Keep on dashing and laughing all the way!

 

xoxo

dashing

Hope is a Beautiful Thing

 

“Santa, Santa! Do your reindeer really fly!!” This was coming from my 4 year old as he anxiously awaited to see Ol’ Saint Nick.

“But how?” And, “How old are you?” This from my almost 8 year old. He has also written Santa a letter. Complete with the address of “The North Poll.”

I am dreading the moment when he finds out this whole Santa thing is a sham. My hubby and I discussed that maybe we should tell him. I just can’t do it. I don’t want to. I’ve already shattered the Tooth Fairy lie, and that was traumatic enough (click the link if you want a good laugh).

My sister also advised against it. She told her oldest son, now 18 years old, when he was the same age as my son now. She told me that it was a bad mommy moment and she would give anything to take it back. The look on his face broke her heart.

I almost blew it. He was asking me questions about Saint Nicholas. The real one. So I thought I would get a book from the library. Brilliant thinking, right? Nope. Thankfully I told him that he was not allowed to read it without me because I wanted to read it too. I quickly had to stop reading it to him. It flat out said, “We all remember when we found out Santa Claus wasn’t real…” Yikes! I barely dodged that bullet. Or did I? Was he reading ahead while he was sitting next to me?

Since then he seems to be asking more questions. Trying to figure it out. Trying to catch Santa in a lie. Going all out to either make himself believe or to see if we will stop him.

 


 

It’s good to believe in something and to believe that Someone is looking out for us. We need to live with a hope and an expectation that something wonderful is going to happen. We long to have our wishes granted. We look forward to life being simpler. We want good things to happen to good people. We want gifts to be given with nothing expected in return. It’s called hope.

Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

I hope for a world where there are no wars, no refugees, no murder. I hope for peace, and love, and kindness.

Sometimes I simply hope to have hope.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18

My hope is not in politicians. It is not in laws. Not even in non-profit organizations. My hope is in heaven with the real Saint Nicholas. My hope is in The Lord.

Hope is a beautiful thing.

 


 

Do your children still believe in Santa Claus? How did they find out he wasn’t really the one leaving gifts? What are you hoping for?

hope