I’m writing to you, right before I’ll be putting Christmas dinner on the table. It is a quiet, cozy day for our beautiful family of four to enjoy together.
Before I experienced God’s healing in my life, I would have been embarrassed to tell you that we were only celebrating Christmas with just my husband Eric, and our two boys Josh and Caleb. It seemed small compared to so many big family gatherings my friends would have. But, now that God’s love has healed me, and I’ve shared my story with you through the blog here and through my books– with all that has encouraged me with God’s love, I’m no longer afraid to shine God’s light through my story.
Your story matters. You being loved matters to God.
And I truly believe that is the heart of God’s whispers at Christmas. You are His treasure and we don’t have to look a certain way to be loved, noticed or valued.
For if God’s love and joy is alive in us, just as we are, how much He is alive in everyone?!
I feel that is why God chose Mary and Joseph, who were just everyday people who found themselves in a very awkward situation that didn’t look for “normal” or like everyone else’s family. I also think that’s why God chose the shepherds to be a part of His birthday gathering. The shepherds were always on the outside, yet God chose them because He was close to them.
And the wise men – they didn’t even make it on time to the manger – Scripture tells us the wise men arrived after what we think of the “25th”, the day of Jesus’ birth. When they followed the star, they arrived in the HOME of Mary and Joseph – later when Jesus was older! So, you see, we are all on a journey with God, with the star He has put in each of our lives. It’s never one way to experience God at Christmas!
God calls us to choose joy and it take courage, because just like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and wise men – you and I are called to experience Jesus in our own unique story, right where we are on our journey.
Courage to Choose Joy
It takes courage to choose joy. Because choosing joy isn’t about what we do, but who we long to be. Beloved. And that can feel scary. Because what if joy isn’t ours to stay?
God understands this fear — that’s why he never tires to whisper “Don’t be afraid. I love you.” God sent us Jesus.
God whispers to us, just as he did to shepherds one dark night — I choose you. Come and see. Choose to be the beloved. Choose joy.
God whispers to us, when we’re feeling most inadequate — like the shepherds, sitting on the fringe of what we think is our best. God sees you. Gather your courage.
Breathe in this breath prayer as we step into one week before Christmas, just the shepherds did one night:
I will go.
And see what you have for me.
I will choose joy. Today.
✨May you feel as beautiful and beloved this very moment. Reflect on the courage you need to choose joy. See Jesus tenderly place His hand on yours, right now. Right where you are. Merry Christmas, beautiful friend!
Where is it you find yourself on the journey, friend?
Here is a reflection I wrote this afternoon, after the gifts were opened and there was a quiet space before I need to start dinner. 🙂 I hope it warms your heart, as I wrote it for you –
It feels like you could reach and touch the sky, or catch a star and fly away — and if you’re feeling weary, you can rest.
You don’t even have to say a word, He will catch your tears & keep your dreams safe — because here, there is peace. In this very place, this quiet place in your heart, you are beloved. You are home. Christmas is here for you today.
Feel a special kind of love and cheer, friend. it’s a shining, glowing time of year. Hear God whisper ever so gently —
✨“But my lovingkindness is from everlasting to everlasting. Ps. 103:17
✨“I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” Jer. 31:1
✨“Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Ps.136:1
I’m thankful God’s love has rewritten my life — as my childhood is being remade, as God’s love healed my heart these past 6 yrs. I’ve treasured every moment I can share what encouraged my heart with you here onlinesbd through my books.
And this year, I’m especially grateful our family’s highlight was my son Josh’s baptism, here in the ocean waves, like God’s love so deep. Josh was baptized at twelve, the same year I was baptized at twelve. God’s makes all things new. He’ll never stop loving us. No matter what.
?Merry Christmas, friends! May you feel as beautiful and beloved as you truly are this very moment, today onChristmas and always! With kindred affection, thinking of you tonight… love, bonnie
Pull up a chair. What memory of God’s love warms your heart this Christmas?
Where is it you find yourself on the journey, friend?
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I’d love to hear your Christmas thoughts! Who can you share today’s encouragement with?
Beginning words to my reflection are inspired by the lyrics and song “The Very Best Time of the Year” by American Composer John Rutter.
So beautiful (as always) and just what I needed.
Christmas was just plain hard this year. The first one without my Mom after 57 together plus many, many disappointments in the last couple of months that have left my heart hurting. “Choosing Joy” was the only thing I could do because it didn’t come naturally. Thank you for the reminder. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.
Thank you friend. Choosing joy is hard. Your words speak to my heart.
Thank you for your beautiful words of encouragement! As I look at photos of other people’s Christmas celebrations, it doesn’t look like mine. Most of my family is back east. So Greg and I celebrate together. And that’s okay. I am so thankful for God’s love.
Christmas blessings to you and your family! Your tenacity to “love hrs” as you pour out your heart tomall of us is a taste of Jesus’ tenacious love for us. May He fill you and your family with his richest blessings this year!
Oops…typos….”love hard” 🙂
The part that stands out to me today is that your healing journey has been six years so I can feel ok about how long it is taking me, and how the way our family looks or chooses to celebrate is still ok even if it looks different from others. And the wise men rocking in late with their gifts, still wonderful, not something to complain about, but I have to conciously choose to see it that way.