* Special "Advent" Giveaway * I'm giving away (3) copies of my favorite Christmas devotional Today In A Manger -- signed by author Ian Strachman! Enter the giveaway at the end of today's post!
The Christmas cards are trickling in. Presents might be showing up on your doorstep. The spam from stores sounding the countdown to shipping rates and shipping dates — for sure — are attacking you from your inbox.
Don’t be alarmed.
I have some good news for us.
It’s not too late.
We’re not prisoners strapped on a runaway Christmas train.
We can still do it.
We. can. slow. down.
What He Really Wants
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve still got some things to do between now and then.
But, I’m not talking about what’s happening on the outside.
I’m talking about what’s happening on the inside.
I’m talking about the voices of expectations — from Christmas past, Christmas present and maybe for some, even from Christmas future and how you want it to be next year.
I’m talking about what Jesus said about Mary — when Martha was feeling the pressure to have everything turn out well.
Jesus smiles His words to me, as He did to Martha long ago —
You can let go.
What I really want is you.
It’s not too late.
Even if the holiday inertia builds around me, I’m undeterred.
I know what I want.
Myself in His Story.
There’s always a changing set of expectations every Christmas season. Life continually offers up different dynamics, so how I slow down varies. One thing is certain, no matter how many highs or how deep the lows, I want to dial down whatever it takes to make room for the story of Jesus’ birth.
Every year, my hope for Christmas is pretty simple.
I want to find myself in the Christmas story. Today.
One journey I take every December since my mid-twenties is this: I hope to find a character in the story that God can step me into. I wonder whose robes God will have me don this year. It won’t be for a church or school play.
I meditate on His story, reading it through the different Gospels, switching shoes on different characters — to feel, see, touch, hear, and smell what they do. For a day or two.
This year is no different.
I’m asking God to bring me to a place where I can experience Him simply and get ready for a new year.
Whenever we step out in faith, our world shifts. We look in the mirror and we don’t quite recognize everything we see — in the world and ourselves. Ways we used to live by don’t fit us any more, while what’s up ahead is still unknown, as we’re still growing into it.
It’s the in-between time. It’s exciting to know things are changing, but it’s more exciting to know that God doesn’t change.
I don’t know what awaits me next year, but I need to make that journey to Bethlehem and return with something new.
I need the ripples to lead me back to where the story of Jesus first began.
I’m not going to try to pretend or make Christmas happen.
I will unwrap each new day in faith that His story will hit me where I live today.
We can find Jesus in our everyday realities. He will show us the way.
They will call him Immanuel (which means “God with us”).
How are you a week before Christmas?
What can you dial down – or possibly skip – to enjoy Jesus in this season?
Pull up a chair. You know I love to swap stories. Click to share a comment
[ Psst. Next week 12/22: Wanna share which character in the Christmas story is speaking to you? That would be a treat!
If you blog, share a post on your “character”. If not, just simply comment.) ]
A Special Advent Giveaway
You may think Christmas is around the corner, but it’s never too late to take in the Christmas Story.
It’s never too late for Advent — for “coming”.
I’ve been meditating and tremendously enjoying: Today In A Manger: Revisiting HIS Story. It’s been a simple yet profound walk through the Christmas story in the four Gospels. This mini book holds powerful punch, people.
Author Ian Strachan has graciously offered to give away signed copies of Today In A Manger to three (3) Faith Barista readers!
Enter To Win:
* CONGRATULATIONS TO * our 3 winners of Today In a Manger : #60 Christina Burrell, #63 Shannon, #30 melissa C. You’ll be contacted for mailing info!
1. Share a comment or blog post by Midnight Sunday 12/18/11.
For Extra Entries:
2. Subscribe to Faith Barista and leave an extra comment letting me know.
3. Share this post on Facebook or Twitter (Click the “Share/Save” button below) and leave extra comments letting me know.
* CONGRATULATIONS TO * Our 5 winners of What’s In The Bible Christmas Giveaway: #69 Tanya, #53 Jenny YH, #71 Katy, #45 Melissa C #24 Mary Mauk. You’ll be contacted shortly for contact info!
*** NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN — FAITH BARISTA JAM! ***
Faith Barista Jam Thursdays — I serve up a topic of faith, you write the post. Keep faith fresh with a faith prompt and add your voice to this community.
Today’s topic: Share your Unwrapping Jesus Discoveries
Next Thursday 12/22: Which character in the Christmas story is speaking to you?
Share your post by clicking on the blue button below “Add Your Link”. You can also share directly by simply commenting below.
Keep a lookout for:
*1. Ways to celebrate Christmas simply.
*2. Inspiring moments that fill you with God’s love, joy, peace, or hope.
*3. Encouragement to see Christmas in a new way.
*4. A Fresh Take on the Gift of Jesus.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real.
Please place the “Faith Jam” Badge in your post and help build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community. Thanks!
Grab the HTML Code For the Faith Jam Badge
Who knows? Maybe you’ll get a special message you didn’t expect.
On second thought, if you take up the journey — I know you will.
Build the Keep Fresh Fresh Community: Link back to Faith Barista or grab this month’s special Christmas Faith Barista Jam Badge to place in your post. Click here.
It’s a jam session. As time allows, say hi & drop a comment when visiting the community faith blends!