Category Archives: Christmas

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Burnt Toast or the Bread of Life?

“Give us today our daily bread.”  Matthew 6:11

By: Jennifer Mullen

It is morning.  I am checking off tasks on my morning routine “to do” list.

  • Shower. Check.
  • Dress kids. Check.
  • Start breakfast.  Toast in the toaster oven. Check and check.
  • Fill sippys. Check.
  • Say our goodbyes to Daddy as he heads out the door for work.  Check.
  • Empty dishwasher. Fill dishwasher.  Check and check.

We are running late.  Today, time is against me. In the background I hear the fast paced tick, tick, tick of the toaster oven and my mind spirals….

Have I remembered everyone on the Christmas list? Tick, tick, tick.

Am I going to stay in budget? Tick, tick, tick.

Are we going to get to school on time? Tick, tick, tick.

Speaking of school, I forgot to put my daughter’s teachers on the Christmas shopping list. Tick, tick, tick.

Hummm…there goes the tight budget.   Tick, tick, tick.

What am I going to get my husband?  What is he going to get me?  Tick, tick, tick.

Can’t we just skip Christmas and pay some bills?

TICK…TICK..TICK…DING!

And the toast is burnt!

Time is up and we have to go to school.  Load up the kids.  Grab a Pop Tart.  Eat on the way.

In the back of my mind the persistent ticking continues…

TICK…TICK…TICK…

The LORD gently reminds me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28.)

That sounds nice, Father, but I have too much to do to rest.  Let me tell you about it.  I have the blog.  I have my MOPS group.  I have to do my bible study.  I have to consider what is going on next year.  Will I go back to work?  What about our second car that won’t start?  Gotta get that fixed.  And what about my family.  It is Christmas.  I have all these traditions that I want to put in place.  I have Pinboards that I want to try out.

TICK…TICK…TICK…

He whispers, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me.” (Matthew 11:29a)

The choice is mine.  Am I going to continue to plow through my day on my own, or am I going to take upon His yoke?

Truth be told, this is my morning every morning.  The worries change, but the Father is consistent   He tries to speak peace into my wearied mind.  Some days I yield.  Most days I ignore.  What do I end up with? Burnt toast!  Figuratively speaking that is.

I get so caught up in all my worries of my life and circumstances that I ignore the things that are meant to nourish.  We have been taught to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, but we  fail to realize what we are really requesting, what we are really needing, is our daily portion of Jesus not grain.   The Bread of Life has given Himself to me, and I squander that gift.  I settle for the less than satisfying fruits of this world.

It is my goal to always be real with you, my sweet sisters.  I daily struggle with the worries of this world.  I am easily distracted by the tactics of the enemy. I say all of this to encourage you and for you to know that you are not alone.  We are given a choice each day to take upon the burdens of this world or to cast those burdens upon the LORD.  (Psalm 55:22)

We are given a choice, sisters.  He leaves it up to us.  What a gracious God we serve!

Christmas Doesn’t Come from a Store

The MOMs wish you and yours a very a very Merry Christmas!  We are taking a break from our normal routine this week and having a guest contributor.  Jennifer Clark is a former teacher and stay at home mom. She and her husband Neal have a son, Jackson, who is 21 months old. He is a blessing and a joy who keeps both of them on their toes!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the LORD”  Luke 2:11

By: Jennifer Clark

Sometimes I feel like I am a bit of a Scrooge. I roll my eyes when I see Halloween and Christmas decorations sold side by side. And now, when you have to brave pepper spray attacks and riots just to go Christmas shopping on Black Friday, it makes me less than eager to participate in the Christmas mania.

But, really, it is not Christmas that I am rejecting. I am rejecting the commercialization of my favorite holiday. Surely there is more to Christmas than this.

One of my favorite stories is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I still tear up when all of the Whos in Whoville, after discovering all of their Christmas presents have disappeared, gather to sing and express their joy that Christmas morning has arrived. Then, I wonder, would we as Christians still have that joy if we awoke to find empty stockings and a bare Christmas tree? I don’t know about us. I don’t know about me. But there is one thing I do know; we have already received our greatest Christmas gift. He was born in a stable, his crib a manger, truly the most unlikely beginning for the King of all Kings. He was the Son of God, who came to earth to die for our sins. What an amazing miracle we celebrate every December 25th! I can think of no better reason to take our friends and family by the hands, give thanks and sing for joy.

In the wise words of Dr. Seuss- “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more.”

 

Joy to the World, Even though My House Isn’t Clean!

“May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” Romans 5:13 (The Message)

By: Kerri Young

I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wanted to invite some of my good friends (including the authors from this very blog) over to hopefully enjoy a Christmas brunch. It seemed like a great idea at the time (doesn’t it always?), because I rarely get to see these ladies and I needed a really good reason to clean my house (as if the prospect of my in-laws coming in three weeks isn’t enough!). And therein lies the problem. My house isn’t going to be clean…at least, not as clean as I’d probably like.

Remember Monday’s blog about my gassy little man? Well, for some reason unbeknownst to me, he has had crazy, painful gas and all he has wanted for a good portion of the last two days and nights is to be held or nursed. (No, I haven’t eaten any dairy or chocolate or onions or garlic or tree nuts.) So, naturally, I have obliged him. Because I love him and because this, too, shall pass… all too quickly.

I can get frustrated (and I have just because I don’t understand what is causing his little tummy so much trouble) and stress out that I have sticky spots on my kitchen floor, or piles of papers cluttering up the counter or stacks of folded laundry waiting to be returned to its rightful home accumulating in my bedroom. Alternatively, I can console my sweet littlest man for a while and then build a train track for my other little man (who has been oh-so-patient with baby brother consuming my time) and trust that my friends really don’t care if there is dust on my ceiling fans.

How about you? Are you entertaining for the holidays? Are you stressing out because people—maybe even in-laws—are coming to your house and you have so much to do that you can’t fit it all in? Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s easy to forget to savor all these priceless moments and before we know it another Christmas season is over; or worse yet, our kids grow up and are too big to hold and don’t want us to play tea party or trains with them anymore. Forget the sticky spots on your floor. Forget the stack of mail and school papers that need to be gone through and clothes that need to be put away. They will keep. (Trust me; that laundry is going nowhere and those sticky spots will reappear as quickly as you wipe them up.) Enjoy your family and be proud of your messy house as you delight in the wonder of this season and its splendor. If you do, I bet anyone who comes to your house will be so taken in by your peace and joy that they won’t even notice anything else (at least, that’s what I’m hoping!) =)

Here’s a poem you have probably seen, but it is a good reminder for me because it somehow always makes me feel better.

Babies Don’t Keep
By Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due,
Lullabye, rockaby, lullabye loo.
The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo,
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo,
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs;

Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

 

 

 

Chocolate and Cheese and Nuts…Oh my!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Have you ever stopped to take note of what ingredients are in the majority of Christmas goodies and appetizers at parties? I really hadn’t paid much attention; that is, until this year. After attending three Christmas parties in the last few days I can tell you from firsthand experience that 99 percent of the food you and I love to consume this time of year (or, really, any time of year) contains one or some of the following: chocolate, some kind of dairy –be it cheese, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk or just plain, old milk—, onions, garlic, or nuts. Am I right? Pay attention in the next week and you’ll see.

There’s a reason a lot of people put on weight during the holidays. But, thank goodness that’s not what this blog is about. No, I want to talk about sacrifice; specifically the sacrifices that we moms (and dads) make for our children. What does that have to do with Christmas and party food, you ask? Well, unfortunately, everything for me this year. See, I am still nursing my littlest man and over the last four and a half months I have figured out that his tiny tummy has some sensitivity to the foods I eat. Namely, dairy, chocolate, onions, garlic, and tree nuts give him gas. Not just cute little baby toot, passes with a smile gas. We’re talking horrible, inconsolable, wakes him up in the middle of the night screeching and writhing in pain gas which results in no sleep for baby, mommy or daddy. So, I have learned it is much better for all of us for me not to eat those things.

I cannot even begin to tell you how desperately I am craving something simple like an Oreo Blizzard, or pizza, or salsa, or…the list goes on. But I am a mom and making sacrifices is just what we do. Whether it’s giving up precious hours of sleep, having less time for our hobbies, putting our career on hold, buying a new pair of tennis shoes for our kiddos instead of some new boots for ourselves, or spending the baby’s nap time playing with big brother rather than reading that book we got for our birthday and haven’t gotten to start yet, we give things up all the time because we love our kids.

After not cooking, baking, or eating what I want for four months my restrictive diet has actually gotten a little easier…except at parties when the fudge and the cheese dips are calling my name and there is absolutely nothing I can eat. But, all I have to do is look at my littlest man and his sweet, smiling blue eyes and I know that abstaining from chocolate and dairy is a worthy sacrifice that I will make as long as I have to do so. Little dude is worth it.

And so are you. At least, that’s what God thought when He chose to fulfill His promises and send His Son to be born in a little town called Bethlehem thousands of years ago. It doesn’t even come close in comparison, but just like my little man is dependent on me to help keep his tummy free from the agony of gas, God knew we were dependent on Him to keep our lives free from the destruction of sin. We need to be saved from our selfishness, our pride, our deceitful hearts and our gluttony.  We need a Savior, and God was faithful in making the ultimate sacrifice of His own Son to be just that.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Jesus came and died so that you and I might live freely and abundantly and eternally. His sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice and it is why I am celebrating this season, dairy or no dairy. I pray that you, too, are celebrating this miracle and know God’s life-giving grace and peace personally this Christmas. If you don’t, I encourage you to get a Bible and start reading about the Christ Child in the New Testament book of Luke. It is the greatest story ever told about the greatest sacrifice ever made and one that will change your life if you let it.

 

Multi-tasking at it’s very best

“Pray in the Spirit in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God’s people.”     Ephesians 6:18 (God’s Word Translation)

By: Gretchen Speer 

In the interest of complete honesty, I have to admit that I don’t particularly look forward to this time of year.  (I know, I know, I can almost hear the gasps).  Between trying to find the perfect gift for many many people and trying to keep a reign on the mounting expectations of my kids,  I usually end up pretty stressed out by the time Christmas is here.  A few weeks ago I was thinking about this and felt God working in my heart.  I started to wonder, “Had I prayed about any of these things in the past?  Had I asked God for wisdom in teaching my kids about what this season is really about?  Had I asked him to show me how I could bless the people in my life and show them how much I love them?”  I’m sure I mumbled a few quick pleas here and there as I rushed around a crowded store, but had I chosen to seek His presence in this times of stress?  Sadly, I think this is usually the time of year that my quiet times get pushed aside the most.  At least that was how it’s been in the past, this year we have been making some changes.

This year we’ve been having a family devotional every evening.  The one we are using is called 31 Family Devotions for Christmas” by MariLee Parrish.  I wanted to share with you Day 7 because it spoke directly to what I have been struggling with, and I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only stressed out Mom on Christmas!

And Mary said:  “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”  Luke 1:46-47

Nobody likes to wait.  As Mary waited for the birth of her son, she worshipped God.  How many of us worship while we are waiting on the Lord?  We’ll have a lot of waiting to do this month.  When you find yourself stuck in line at the mall or caught in the middle of a traffic jam, don’t get upset.  Worship.  Thank God for all His blessings to you.  Pray for your family.  Pray for the frustrated cashier at the counter.  Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him.”  Take some time to get your focus off yourself and your circumstances and just worship the Lord.

Prayer: Dear Lord, Let my spirit rejoice in You today.  Help me to think of You and be joyful when I have to wait this month.  Amen.

For me, the biggest change this year has been taking the focus off of myself!  In the past I had felt like I was focusing on everyone else in my life, but I was really focusing on all the work I had to do, and why can’t my kids be just a little more grateful.  When I got stuck in a long line at the store instead of choosing to pray for the tired cashier or the sweet family in front of me, I chose to have a bad attitude about having to wait so long.  Sometimes a bad attitude is still my natural tendancy, but I’m doing my best to choose to glorify God in those circumstances.

So, I would like to extend an invitation to you.  Please join me in multitasking at it’s very best, and choose to use our waiting time to pray for whoever God is laying on our hearts.  What mom doesn’t truly appreciate some good multitasking?:)