Category Archives: Christmas

I Thought I Wanted New

His presence

I thought I wanted new
A house with perfect walls
A place never touched
by other peoples falls
I thought I wanted new
an outfit with fresh colors
A new look for me
that’s better than the others
I thought I wanted new
A change in scenery is good
a new bedspread would be perfect
As women, it’s understood
Freshen up these walls
and change the decor a bit
That will make me happy
well, I’m just sure of it
I thought I wanted new
I thought I wanted new
A new appliance in the kitchen
then my dinner they would no longer be a’ pitchin
that would change my family life
and then my cooking would be suffice
But then the walls got dirty
And the trends faded fast
The colors in the bedspread
well, I should have known they wouldn’t last
The new picture frames and art decor
began to collect dust
and bills came in that I couldn’t pay
because I thought these things were a must
And that new appliance that was suppose to change my game?
Well, it’s underneath my cabinet And yet my cooking remains the same
and I have come to the shocking realization that
no matter what I have
that I thought I wanted new
When it really boils down to it
All I really wanted was You!

Mathew 6:21- Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

We seek and we search. We see all the things we must have. We peruse the mall with all the things we think we need and so desperately want. And these things, in our mind will fill us with happiness and joy. Our hearts shout, “If I just had ______” The upbeat Christmas music is playing. Everything is covered in red, white, and green bling. We walk by the Bath & Body Shop with the cinnamon vanilla scents calling to us, “Smell me, buy me!” and we need it, right? The extravagant Christmas decor makes us think, “If only my house looked as pretty as this display, it would be filled with warmth and joy.” And everyone, with their shopping bags full, is looking so gleeful, so content with their bags. Is it an illusion? A moment fading as quickly as the sun sets?

I tell you dear ones, there is no package that can bring you joy. There is no box that can fill you with peace. There is no gift that once put on the walls will be the end of your search- to calm the chaos in your heart.
There is but one thing, one Person, one holy and amazing Savior. Yet, we search. We look everywhere else to have our needs met. When only One was meant to fill that every need, every longing, that eternal thirst for more. And that, my friends, is Jesus. It is Him and time spent with Him. It will cost you nothing, He paid everything.
If you find yourself this holiday season thinking more is the answer, well, you just might be on to something. But before you jump in the car and run to the mall to let everyone know what you need, might I challenge you a bit?

You do need more, this much is true. When you find yourself searching, and more just isn’t enough, look up. Stop. Be still. Be quiet before your Maker. You, my friends are standing on holy ground. Your heart is hungry and no gadget will ever meet its every need. No appliance will ever stop that longing for peace. The new outfit won’t get you out of the corner at that office party and stop that loneliness you feel in large crowds.

The more places you rush to, the harder it will be to hear that still small voice that whispers, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jer. 29:13) “Here I am,” He whispers. Before you head out looking for the next thing that is sure to bring you peace, stop. Enjoy Him. Allow him to fill your empty places. Marvel in his Word. He is your more. And then go out already filled to enjoy and celebrate the wonder of His amazing birth. The gifts He has for you will never rot or collect dust. Their very value has only eternal worth.

Oh my Lord, how I long for more of you. How I desperately desire to be filled by you. The things of this world are fleeting. I hold my hand open, holding these things lightly, yet clinging for dear life to you- because you are life. These temporary desires at times try to lure my thoughts and affections. Forgive me. It is you that I seek after. It is you that my heart is hungry and thirsty for. You are my treasure and I desire more of you. It is because of you that we celebrate another Christmas season. Help me to remember the best gift ever given- your Son. Truly, only you can satisfy.

Matt 6:33~ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

God Never Changes- Even When Life Does

Christmas 2012

To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.  Philip Andrew Adams

I’ve always felt like a big kid during the holidays. I’m a huge fan of having family traditions. Maybe it’s because life always seemed so hard and chaotic as a child. Being an adult and passing on the wonder to my children has been a gift for me. This year has been especially hard. I do not recommend moving during December to anyone! To pack or unpack- that is the question.

I still want our kids to have excitement for this holiday season, with the joy and the magic it always brings. But what I didn’t anticipate was what this transition in December was going to do to my own emotions. Can we say roller-coaster?! This is probably the first time in the history of Christmas where I have had to work at getting excited- I don’t like that. Even though we’re moving, we hesitantly purchased a real tree, and only because we will be taking it to the church to use in our Christmas play in one week. My daughter was persistent in asking when we would decorate. Things have just been hectic with the kids school play, last couple of weeks before we home-school, our church play, and us going through things and packing. We finally nailed down a night- but also had one other thing planned that night, so it was going to be a bit rushed. Hope said, “But mom, will we have enough time to decorate the tree?” “Will we have Christmas music?” “Are we making hot cocoa?” I didn’t realize how much she had picked up of some of my own favorite things. And then the lights were up on the tree and we plugged them in. I wish I had a camera at that moment to capture her joy. It was beautiful… magical. We were able to do it all in a short time, unfortunately sipping the cocoa quickly!

On our way to church the other night she said, “Mom, we’re still going to do our tradition and drive around and look at Christmas lights and see how many reindeer we can count, right?” “Sure hunny, but I’m thinking we might change it snowman because there’s not enough reindeer around here.”

Traditions- in spite of transitions. If you think transition and change are hard, try making sense of everything as a child. Hope once asked why we can’t just be like regular people and live in the same house and work the same job forever! I guess God just didn’t make us ‘regular’.

I feel like my daughter is trying to hold on some normal. Something that stays consistent, even when things around her are not. Some sense of security. As we all are. It’s not an easy pill to swallow that your parents, who have been your children’s pastors for 12 years will no longer be, and that you will be packing up your things and moving in with family members temporarily smack in the middle of Christmas, or that when Christmas break is over you will not be returning to your friends. My son Joel won 1st place in the spelling bee and was suppose to compete in January but we were told this week that he has to be registered with the school to compete. I understood and Joel was okay with it. The boys were thrilled that at least they could sign up for basketball and still see their friends while playing in a sport starting in January. I received a call today that unfortunately they have to be registered with the school to play on the team. I know they are going to be extremely disappointed. Thankfully my husband said he would talk to them tonight. We understand- it doesn’t make it any easier.

The Lord has reminded me that even though we are going through more changes than seem desirable at times, that He stays the same NO MATTER WHAT.  Hebrews 13:8- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

I’m not sure what changes you might be going through or what the Lord has asked you to let go of and your really struggling to let it go. All I know is that when we walk in obedience to Him that He will be faithful to give us the grace to walk out whatever it is. I’m not sure what tomorrow looks like but I do know that His grace is sufficient for today.

Lord I thank you for your Word today that reminds me that no matter what happens, you always stay the same. I know your ways are higher than my ways and that through these transitions you are not only making me who you want me to be but that my children are also learning to lean and walk and rely on You. Fill me with joy in spite of my circumstances, for joy comes from you and you alone- regardless of what’s happening around me. Help me to always hold the things of this world lightly and with an open hand. I love you Lord, and I want to walk this out faithfully. At the end of my journey, if intimacy and closeness with you is gained, then nothing- absolutely nothing was done in vain.  amen.

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.

Twas The Eve Before Christmas

Twas the eve before Christmas and all through the earth
Not a creature was stirring, nor knew of His birth
The hearts were all settled in their beds with their cares
In hopes that Jesus Christ would soon be there
Mankind was unaware of what was ahead
The desperate need for a Savior
Brought many to dread
And me in my bed all snuggled and warm
And daddy laying there, not knowing of the storm
When out from the stable there arose such a clatter
The wise men sprang from their rest
To see what was the matter
Away to the barn I flew like a flash
Tore open the barn doors and lifted up the hatch
The star up above gave a glow to the night
And all of mans heart was at peace at the sight
Wondering eyes but what should appear
But a miniature baby and a mom with a tear
I knew in a moment it must be Jesus Christ
This little one was born to be our sacrifice
More rapid than eagles, his worshippers came
And whistled and shouted and called Him by name
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
For truly God is with us…
Now their hearts were all filled with no greater joy
The promised Messiah was born as a boy
So this Christmas, our gift from above
May we remember a Savior who God sent with His love
To save us all stuck in our sin
This baby made a way that we might worship Him.

12/24/09
Celeste Barnard

The Heart Of Christmas

Christmas Heart : Portrait of a styled professional model: St. Valentine day, angel, love,  Stock Photo

With each present we buy and open, let us always remember to seek your presence

With each gift wrapped, help us to remember to use the gifts you have given us for your glory and to further your kingdom

As we see the Christmas lights illuminating in the darkness, let us remember that it was your light that broke through the darkness in our own hearts

As the stockings are hung, let us be reminded that you hung on the cross for us

As we look at that perfect Christmas tree, let us be reminded of the tree that you shed your blood for us on Calvary

Christmas is all about Jesus. And the next most important thing is whats around your Christmas tree on Christmas morning. No, silly- not the presents. But the presence of the family that the Lord has blessed you with.