Tag Archives: advent

Currently: Christmas Time!

Y’ALL. I started this post in plenty of time to get it ready for posting last Wednesday, but then I FORGOT. SO! Here’s my Currently post for December, a little later than it should be. Oops.

December is here! Advent is here! And I am literally the happiest person. It’s my favorite time of year. Everything is extra beautiful, covered in greenery and frost, anticipation runs through our veins, and gift-giving abounds. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. So, since it’s the first Wednesday of the month, I’m linking up with Anne in Residence and Catherine of A Short Blonde for December’s Currently party.

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Lighting || both of our Christmas trees, and our front porch columns! If I had my way, I’d probably cover everything in lights because I love them so much. But Hubby thankfully anchors me down a little bit. Here are our trees and front porch!

Spending || a little less than usual on Christmas presents, I think. I’ve just slowed down a little on how much I’m doing. I know my kids will get plenty from their grandparents, too, and Hubby and I aren’t getting anything else for each other because we just splurged on a Vitamix and a couple of pieces of furniture. I don’t want Christmas to feel “small” for anyone, presents-wise, but I doubt that will be a problem!

Choosing || which of our family photos we’re turning into canvases for our own home, and which we’re giving to our parents! (Did I just ruin their surprise?) It’s the biggest decision to choose a favorite photo from our recent session with Urban Bloom Photography when they were ALL.SO.GOOD. Here’s a little preview…

Sending || Christmas cards! I just finished addressing them and put them in the mail yesterday! It’s one of my favorite things to do at Christmas, and I absolutely LOVE getting them in the mail! I ordered a few less than last year because I always have ten or so left over and now I’m afraid I’m going to have to order a few more! YIKES.

Singing || ALL of the Christmas music. I love Christmas music, specifically Christmas hymns and songs about Jesus (because I’m a worship leader, duh) and also just regular songs about snow and Santa and the whole deal. This year, EK is remembering lyrics and learning Christmas songs at school so it’s extra fun to sing with her!

Leave a comment and tell me what you’re up to Currently!

An Advent Calendar of Surprises

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

Recently I was chatting with a friend who was flabbergasted that I’m basically done with my Christmas shopping. Really, that’s just because I love Amazon and I’m at Costco once a week. It makes it a little easier for me. But still- it made me feel really good about how well I was doing in preparation.

I finally have my decorations up now, including an Advent calendar that I made several years ago. I love the idea and doing a little something each day, and I’ve done something different inside it each year. Since my kids are all under age 5, they are just now getting into knowing what I’m reading to them, or looking forward to the activities that are in there. So this year, I filled the little pockets with Bible verses (mostly chronological, about the angel coming to Mary, Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem, etc.) and Christmas-themed family activities that I ripped off of several different folks’ ideas on their sites (watch a Christmas movie, sing a carol, etc.). Then I stuck a few jelly beans in five random pockets as a fun surprise. 

But I didn’t do all of this and prepare it until we should’ve been on day 3. We had already bypassed two whole days of December and it was the afternoon of the 3rd before I got started. So naturally, it’s a little scattered and low-budget looking. I didn’t print beautiful cards. I didn’t even write very clearly on half of them. I wasn’t super creative. You might say I was a slacker.

But giving my kids something to look forward to each day was important to me. I wanted them to look for a little surprise, and to wonder whether today was the day with candy. I wanted them to read a verse each day about Jesus’s coming, and have the reminder of what Christmas is about.

My kids don’t care that it could’ve been a little nicer or that I was two days late. They love surprises, and they love having a thing to look forward to. That’s all advent is, anyway: the looking forward to things to come. It’s the anticipation of Christ’s arrival, and the coming of a king. It’s a surprise, a glorious and wonderful surprise, the saving of souls and celebration of the saints.

From the Manger to the Cross


Oh, how the first Sunday of advent prepares my heart for Christmas. Today is a day of celebrating, and also a day of being intentional about turning our hearts to the manger to await the coming of our King.

To turn my heart away from decorations and gift-buying can sometimes be hard. Often, getting caught up in Black Friday sales and locating the perfect decor for the unfestive corner of my home take precedence after Thanksgiving. Because t this morning, my pastor likened Thanksgiving and Christmas to s kind of homecoming. We typically gather with our families or even travel to our (former? forever?) homes to be with those we love. He nudged us to apply this sense of “homecoming” to the Christian life. A homecoming not for physical things, but coming home to the eternal love of a Father, the spirit of loving, giving no and worshiping a King who has sacrificed everything to bring us home.

We are reminded as Christians, especially during the Christmas and Easter seasons that we are only in a temporary home. This world is not our forever home, and we should never forget that. The home we look forward to joining is the perfect place to spend eternity, together with the saints and our Jesus in heaven. We have been adopted into the most prestigious, loving and healthy family there is, assigning us to a feast table beyond our wildest imaginations. We are accepted and loved and made whole in this familial identity. We have indeed found our worth in the sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

So as you enter Advent, turning your heart to the manger, don’t forget that the manger leads to the cross. We are on this journey together, pointing to the same destination in a few months’ time. This anticipation of the arrival of our King leads to His death, but also His resurrection, the mind-blowing realization that He has done the work to keep us His and whole and bring us home.

Currently 

Happy Thanksgiving week! I know I’m already getting ready for the big day, so I bet you are, too. We’ve had a really busy weekend, resulting in my first NaBloPoMo miss (Saturday). Oops. I’ll try to make up for it this week, and cram an extra one in! Anyway, here’s a little update of what’s been going on around my house.

Listening || to a little bit of Christmas music. I’m planning on justifying myself a little more in tomorrow’s post, but let’s be honest: we all need some cheer!

Watching || Once Upon a Time. We get so behind on this one so quickly. I guess it’s because the episodes are an hour long, so if it’s late at night when we get a minute to watch TV, they’re often too long to want to watch. So now we’ve got four unwatched episodes – oops. Anyway, I saw this “family tree” on Pinterest and I loved it. (If someone knows the source, help me credit it!) (Also, is it really Nealfire? I sorta thought Rumple was saying “Balefire” all this time.)once.jpg

Planning || our Thanksgiving dinner! We’re hosting my family at our house, so we’ve got 12 people total, counting my kids. We don’t care much either way about turkey, so we’re having prime rib instead, and I’m SO excited. My aunt is making a bunch of desserts, and we’re combining some trusty family traditions with some new fun things. It’s going to be a good day!

Anticipating || Advent. It’s my favorite season in the church calendar, and I can already feel the excitement in the air as we plan our Christmas music, services, parties, and events. I can’t wait for this time with my family and my church family!

Well, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with delicious food, relaxation, and sweet time with family and friends. What’s your favorite food to eat this week?!

Currently

I just can’t get my updates out on Mondays anymore. Sheesh! I guess not much has happened since my update on Thursday, but here goes anyway! I’ll link up with Becky as usual! Here’s what I’m currently doing…IMG_0614

Eating || fried eggs. Why I’ve just rediscovered their deliciousness, I’m not sure. But I cannot get enough of them! I’ve always loved eggs in basically any form, but right now, frying them (over medium) is my jam.   

  Listening || to Christmas music! Not all day, every day yet, but the local radio station has switched over, and I’m also planning my advent music at church, so it’s just been a nice transition. 

Enjoying || the lovely weather right now! We’ve had clear skies and cool (but not cold) afternoons. It’s perfect, and we’ve all enjoyed some time outside! 
Thankful for || this season of preparing our hearts for Christmas. I’d always loved advent, and just before it gets started is a great time to set our hearts in a posture of gratitude. I am blessed immensely, and I choose to be grateful for the people and things in my life. 

What are you thankful for? What are you up to currently?

A Christmas Story

My daughter likes to have me read the Bible to her before she goes to bed. We have two versions that we read to her: The Beginner’s Bible and The Jesus Storybook Bible (both by Zonderkidz). For some reason, the entire season of Advent, we hadn’t read from the latter of the two versions until the other night. I was laying in her bed, her head nestled on my lap, and read the story of the Nativity, as written in The Jesus Storybook Bible.

Y’all. I was weeping.

I will first say that I’ve looked at the Nativity story – specifically Mary and her blessed job – a little different since becoming a mother myself. It’s rocked my world the past few Christmases, thinking about carrying a child you know will change the world in the best and most terrifying of ways. I’ll share a few favorite moments, but I have to say that I love the annunciation story:

“‘Mary, you’re going to have a baby. A little boy. You will call him Jesus. He is God’s own Son. He’s the One! He’s the Rescuer!’
…Wait. God was sending a baby to rescue the world?
‘But it’s too wonderful!’ Mary said and felt her heart beating hard. ‘How can it be true?’
‘Is anything too wonderful for God?’ Gabriel asked.
So Mary trusted God more than what her eyes could see. And she believed. ‘I am God’s servant,’ she said. ‘Whatever God says, I will do.'”

I love the way they don’t leave out the nuance of Mary’s fear mingled with excitement, followed by complete and total trust. My two-year-old might not have picked it up, but that was where the tears began. And here’s where they really picked up: the story of the shepherds. You see, I had never given a thought to God as a daddy. A great, big, Holy Father, sure. But a giddy, brand new Daddy? It melted me.

“You see, God was like a new daddy – he couldn’t keep the good news to himself. He’d been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone.
So he pulled out all the stops. He’d sent an angel to tell Mary the good news. He’d put a special star in the sky to show where his boy was. And now he was going to send a big choir of angels to sing his happy song to the world: He’s come! Go and see him. My little Boy.”

My little Boy. Thinking about my own little boy and his excited his wonderful daddy was when he was born made me wonder how much more excited God was to see his tiny Son be born!

Wrapping up the story was a perfect summation, written in a way that all can understand:

“But this child was a new kind of king. Though he was the Prince of Heaven, he had become poor. Though he was the Mighty God, he had become a helpless baby. This King hadn’t come to be the boss. He had come to be a servant.”

The excitement and wonder of Jesus’ arrival at Christmas is still a glorious foreshadowing of the sacrifice and hope of Easter. A incredible story of the humble beginnings of a baby King, growing into an unparalleled story of miracles, prophecy and fulfillment, suffering, death, and resurrection all for the sinners who had turned from Him. Reading between the lines of a children’s story, I experienced a shift from the busyness and excitement to gratefulness and conviction. I belong to this baby King, and he is my reason for everything I do.

The Anticipation and Longing of Advent

Friends, the short season between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a blessed season of anticipation. Advent is defined as “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event”. Advent in the sense of the Christian church is defined as “the coming of Christ”. I’d say the two are on par with each other.

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As I researched Advent a little more, I discovered that the word is from the Latin word meaning “coming”. Its definition expands to include “the four Sundays preceding Christmas” and “the liturgical season preceding Christmas, approached by some with fasting and prayer”. Other phrases included “expectant waiting”, “preparation for celebration” and the arrival of “something extremely important”. I don’t know about you, but I feel like every single one of those things describing Advent make me even more excited that this is the time of year it is.

I loved all of those, but my favorite word used to describe Advent was the word “longing”. It adds such a personal touch to a widespread idea. To feel a longing for the coming of Christ would be so personal, so intimate, so unique to you. The relationship that it implies is truly beautiful. You wouldn’t long to see someone you don’t know well. You wouldn’t long for time to spend with a person you didn’t get along with. You long to be with cherished loved ones.

It is hard to imagine carrying in your womb the Savior of the world. It’s even tougher to imagine an angel’s appearance and an immaculate conception. But it isn’t hard to think of something truly exciting to be waiting for. We’ve all looked forward to something, waited for something, a person, a moment… Perhaps a walk down the aisle to the one you love. Perhaps the birth of your first child (or your second, or your seventh!). The first day of a new job. The first day of retirement! A lunch date with an old friend. The first time you see a new niece or nephew. We all have an example of a person, event, or thing we’ve been awaiting with anticipation. This anticipation is sweet because we know that what we’re anticipating is even sweeter!

So, for the next four weeks, while we await the celebration of the coming of Jesus, the fulfillment of promises, and the ultimate manifestation of love and faithfulness, I will ponder the feelings of Mary, as she spent nine months in total wonder of the job she’d been given, awaiting the birth of her son, of the Savior of us all. I will be soaking in the excitement that must have been whirring around all who knew the prophecy would be fulfilled. I will be longing for sweet, intimate moments with Jesus, where he can do as he promised, and deliver me from brokenness and sin. What an incredible lover is our Lord, who sacrifices to make us whole! What a blessing it is to worship, adore, and celebrate the birth of a Savior, and to anticipate his coming again!

“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”
Charles Wesley

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.