Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Many of us have plans to travel, or to have company at our own home during the holiday season. In my opinion. the time spent with family is the most cherished and will be the most valuable 10 years from now.

I read an article from the Upper Room Devotional, in which the author talked about how we rush through the season buying gifts, shopping on our days off and running ourselves ragged. She wrote about how she and her mother made a plan to avoid buying each other gifts and instead spent the day going to church and hanging out together.

The article made me think, even so much as I'm not as heavily into the commercialization of Christmas as others, that I should take care not to overlook how God would want me to spend this season. Instead of slowing down and cherishing the little things that we tend to overlook all year, we run ourselves ragged trying shopping the season away. The most perfect gifts were truly right in front of us all along.

And what abotu this whole Santa Claus thing? I know its a tradition in many homes, and people just do it for that reason. Isn't Santa just a decoy that Satan uses to keep our eyes off of Christ? Doesn't the idea of Santa only promote the commercialization of Christmas? And when we teach our children to believe in Santa, aren't we overshadowing Christ and His birth with wordly lies?

Why not tell our children that even though Christmas is rooted from a pagan holiday, that we are going to use the season to cherish each other a little bit more? Let's ponder on the sacrafices that Mary made in her life by being humble in her submission to God's will in her life. Why not use this time to draw nearer to God, instead of letting worldy distractions keep us, and our loved ones from making the most of the holiday?

When my daughter was born, 10 years ago, this is what I decided. I haven't exactly made the best of it every year, but we have worked to keep Santa Claus from being real in our home. Some of my family has disagreed with my decision and has continued to talk the Santa talk to my kids every year. But in my heart, I know that what I am doing is best and as my children's mother, my rules win over anything else. I hope and pray that as my children grow older, this one simple rule --SANTA IS NOT REAL--will carry on as a tradition with my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I know that the God of my heart will bless them for it.

During this holiday season, I hope you will slow down and take inventory of all you have. Use it to grow closer to God and your loved ones. Rushing to buy gifts is nice, but don't let it overshadow what is truly important.

Merry Christmas to each of you. May God bless you in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This Time of Year

Is it me, or does the holiday season seem to be one of self reflection? Most of us, I think, want to be the best we can possibly be. Yet in order to get there we have to weed out the ugly parts of us.

And I don't know about anyone else, but God sure has convicted my heart more this year, than any other year ever during the course of my life. As this year draws near its end, I reflect on the good times and the bad. The hightlight of the year: I married the love of my life in August. I prayed and prayed for God to bless this marriage, despite our flaws and our mistakes. Since then, God has been working hard on me, and on my husband.

HE has been showing me my flaws, and showing me the "how-to's" of making it better. This direction and guidance has certainly hurt my own self image..I mean what human wants to see everything they do wrong? But the spiritual blessings have been far greater than the emotional pains. How can I make my relationships better... with God, my husband, children or any other friend or family member if I have no real clue just how flawed I am. Each one of us has self destructive ways that hinder our own ability to grow, or be used by God. Without God's guidance, this can be impossible to see.

As though seeing is isn't painful enough...fixing gets a little more complicated. Thanks be to GOD that HE doesn't just show us what we do wrong and walk away.

But our openness to it, and to this growth brings in a whole new set of possibilities. Possibilities of being closer to God and receiving the blessings of the heart. Those of us who've experienced the blessings of the heart know that these are the very best ones.

This is the time of year, every year that I stop and reflect on myself. What do I need to do differently next year? How can I give more or be better? But every single year, I fail.

This year; however, with the works of my God on my heart I am determined to carry everything HE has shown me forward.

My prayer is for a clean heart...and to never lose the lessons HE has given me. But you and I both know I will fail, despite my determination, withouth God's help.

By far, the greatest spiritual lessons I have learned this year are:
1. HE will give me what I ask for, if my request promotes HIS will and HIS message. (I prayed for a blessed marriage, and HE has worked hard in me to weed out the bad every since.)
2. It is far better to give than to receive. (Doing what's right, even if it means we have to be humble or serve someone else, leaves us with spiritual blessings that no earthly gifts could ever compete with.)
3. We should always look within ourselves, before judging or fingerpointing. (If we stop and evaluate the situation, we will generally find that we are JUST as guilty, if not moreso.)

I've never wanted to be closer to God in my life, though I have been saved since I was 18. I've never seen some of the things in myself and in God that I have seen this year. God is opening my eyes,and my heart and for that, I feel blessed, loved and so very very thankful that HE would take the time and spend the energy on me. I don't deserve HIS love and mercy, but I sure am thankful for it.