Treasure = Heart

Baby Jesus

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Luke 12:34

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Right?  I do think it is, when my heart is in the right place.  It is so easy to get distracted during this season.  My to do list won’t stop.  I just finished my Christmas Shopping this weekend in the midst of a LOT of people.  Finding a parking spot was not fun.  Waiting in lines was not enjoyable either.  Oh, but even as I say I am finished, I still have stockings to stuff.  Got to get to the stores sometime this week.  Oh yea, and I haven’t even started wrapping presents yet.

And then there is the baking….  We still want to make cookies with the kids this weekend.  Family is coming to town for Christmas, so I need to get to the grocery store as well.  And one night this week we want to drive around to see the lights.  Got to get to The Fantasy of Lights!  

Does any of this sound familiar?  I need to assume that I am not alone in this.  Sigh.

It is so easy to get distracted and to allow my heart to be filled with the anxiety and stress of the busyness of this time of year.  Today’s scripture was a good reminder for me.  Where is my heart this Christmas?  What is my treasure?  Is it gifts, lights, decorations, carols, snow and all things ‘Christmas’ to me?  Or is it the manger, the Christ Child, Savior of the world, Baby, God incarnate, God with us?  

A simple reminder for me today.  Christmas is about one thing: God loved the world so much, that He sent His only Son to us, here on this earth, so that we may know His love for us and believe in Him and live with Him forever!! (from John 3:16, in my own words)  It is in this truth, this miracle, this gift of love that I am filled with joy, with excitement, with peace.  God loves you and me that much!

Where is your heart this Christmas?  What is your treasure?  May each one of us experience the wonder and joy that only Jesus can truly give our hearts this season.  God bless you, every one of you!  Merry Christmas.

 

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…and he will be called Wonderful Counselor,            Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

 

“Oh Come, All Ye Faithful, Joyful and Triumphant, O Come ye, O Come ye to Bethlehem.  Come and Behold Him, born the King of Angels.  O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”

 

Mary

mary's song

Reading through Luke, I can not help but be awed by Mary.  A young girl who said, “Yes”.  Her exact words as recorded in Luke; “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”  She said this to Gabriel, Angel of The Lord, who was standing right there in her midst.

I am not sure what I would do if such a thing happened to me; a visit from Gabriel or any Angel of The Lord for that matter.  I can not help to think of the depth of love Mary must have had for her God.  To surrender so easily and give herself so fully to God’s will.  I imagine that she really had no idea what was to come, but she knew her God enough to know that He was good, that He was love.  That was enough to say yes.

May my thoughts, words and actions reflect the love I have for my God.  May the depth of my love grow deep, and may Mary be an inspiration of faith to my soul.

“Marvel with me at the fact that she, Mary, was plain, simple and extraordinarily ordinary.  That’s part of the beauty of God choosing someone like you and me to know Him and serve Him.  May we never get over it.” – Beth Moore, 90 Days with the One and Only.

Thank you, Father God, for looking with such favor upon your children.  You love us.  You care for us, and you call us to participate in the reconciliation of your children to you.  I am humbled.  I am awed.  May we step into your presence with full confidence and humility, knowing that you are always with us, loving us, guiding us and walking us through every valley and up every mountain.  You are good.  You are faithful.  You are love.  May my love for you be as deep and pure as Mary’s.  Thank you for her witness, her example, her heart.  Amen.

The Beginning

chalkboard Christmas

It is early.  Was very hard to get out of bed this morning.  My wonderful husband encouraged me to get up.  I fought it, but here I am.  And as I sit here this morning, there is quiet.  The Christmas Tree is lit.  My coffee is hot. How did we get here already?  Where has this year gone?

Today is the first day of Advent.  The word ADVENT comes from the Latin Adventus, meaning “the approach” or “the arrival”.  The verb is advenio: “I arrive.  I come.  I am coming.” I can’t help but think about that as I sit here.  Seriously, it is Christmas Time.  The most wonderful time of the year, right?!  Yes.  It is!  And this morning I am reminded of why.

It may be the end of 2013, but here, right here, is where it begins.  Here is where He comes.  Jesus.  Prince of Peace.  Emmanuel.  How do I prepare for His arrival?  What will the next 24 days hold for me?  Will I take the time to be still or will the hustle and bustle overtake me?  Here is where I sit.  I pray.  I prepare my heart to stay focused.  I commit.  I listen.  I allow myself to be filled with the Spirit, to be filled with wonder and awe, thanksgiving and praise.  He is here and He is coming again.  Let’s not miss it.  Let’s not get to 2014 and ask,”Where did December go?”

Let’s find that quiet place as often as we can.  Light a candle, turn on the Christmas Tree in the dark, sit with steaming coffee or tea or cocoa, and let us enter the Story.  Today, let’s  start at the very beginning…

“God wrote, “I love you” – He wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea.  He wrote his message everywhere!  Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror – to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.  The way a kitten chases her tail.  The way red poppies grow wild.  The way a dolphin swims.  And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called “the Bible.”

Now some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do.  The Bible certainly does have some rules in it.  They show you how life works best.  But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing.  It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy.  The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all.  They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose).  They get afraid and run away.  At times they are downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes.  The Bible is most of all a Story.  It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure.  It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves.  It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!  You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.  There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story.  The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.  

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story.  And at the center of the Story, there is a baby.  Every Story in the Bible whispers his name.  He is like the missing piece in a puzzle – the piece that makes all other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.  

And this is no ordinary baby.  This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the Child who would one day – but wait.  Our Story starts where all good stories start.  Right at the very beginning…”

– Taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible introduction; The Story and The Song

Jesus-Storybook-Bible

Truth in the Tinsel – Day 24 – THE LORD IS COME!!!

The day was here!
Our final clue.
The arrival of baby Jesus!
Christmas Eve.
What a perfect clue for this day!
How easily it is to forget what Jesus came to do.
Not that Christmas should be filled with sadness or grief!
But to rejoice that he came as a babe for us specifically,
with a purpose to redeem us and save us.
The beauty and power of his birth
was so present to us this year.
Jesus came to die,
and to conquer death!
Jesus came that we might have life!
He came to show us how to love and live abundantly
and to give us new life.
It brought me great joy to bring our Advent journey to an end
with such a conversation with my son.
And so on this day,
Christmas Eve,
we made a cross and gave thanks for our Savior.
With joy, we took baby Jesus from our Advent Calendar
and put him in the manger.
It was very exciting indeed!
What a beautiful journey it has been this Advent season.
There really are no words, even though I have written many in these posts,
to truly describe what we experienced through this journey.
Focusing on the story like we have this year brought us to a special place 
come Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,
in our hearts and in our minds.
And with further anticipation,
we walk into a New Year,
ready to see all that Jesus will do in our lives,
continuing to learn from him and walking with him
 towards the cross and his resurrection.
Let’s go!

Truth in the Tinsel – Day 21, 22 & 23 – Following a sign

Again, another trio of days that I loved.
The way they tied together and allowed us to step into the story in detail
was fantastic!
This part of the story begins with the star.
This marvelous, beautiful sight that shone in the sky
was one way God chose to announce the birth of his son.
Very cool!
Our ornament was this beautiful star we designed together.
Our Advent Calendar brought us this book.
It’s a great one too!
Day 22 was about the wise men who followed the star.
The ornament was super cool – 3 Kings connected together,
but Zachary did not feel much like decorating them,
so we simply hung them on the tree.
Our Advent Calendar brought us 3 kings.
The gifts next to them were actually brought to us the next day,
but this was the only picture I had of them.
Day 23 – The Gifts
The ornament was actually supposed to be cinnamon ornaments
that you bake and give as gifts to others,
but being that it was Christmas week and we had guests,
we just did not have the time.
Instead, I filled the day’s red bag with 3 little gift ornaments.
The kids actually really enjoyed playing with them and 
giving them to baby Jesus in the manger.
Talking about the 3 gifts gave us a chance to talk about what they might mean.
Gold – a great gift for a King!
Frankincense – was known to be burned like incense, believed to carry prayers to heaven,
a gift that could have reference to a Priest
Myrrh – a more mysterious gift, but known to have been used as a perfume and embalming ointment used with Egyptian mummies.  Perhaps a gift to reference Jesus being born to die?
Who really knows why these three gifts, but it provided great conversation.
It allowed us to really focus on who Jesus was, 
this beautiful babe born in a stable,
laid in a manger.
Our Advent clue tree is almost complete…