Still

The Perfect Gift - an Advent series

I’m joining with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crowd, even though it’s way past Friday by the time this posts and I definitely took more than 5 minutes in writing.

Years ago I was home from college on Christmas break when I caught a bad cold. That same Christmas I was given a Mannheim Steamroller CD cassette (I hate to date myself, but it was a cassette). While feeling miserable and sleepy, this peaceful arrangement and hopeful lyrics were soothing to me. I listened to this song over and over and over, rewinding the tape and replaying it again and again.

Still, still, still, one can hear the falling snow…

Listen to it here; the video will begin at this song:

See why that was so peaceful and calming while I was sick?

If you ever go outside while it’s snowing, the world is hushed. All sounds are muffled, and, if you’re still enough, you can hear the snow landing on the ground or your coat in almost a shushing sound.

cat watching snowOne of the blessings of winter is the world slowing in hibernation. Tree branches are bare, flowers dormant, and cold temperatures outside keep us bundled under warm blankets inside. We need this slowing ourselves, from the busyness that sweeps us along with it.

Sleep, sleep, sleep, ’tis the eve of our Savior’s birth…

There are things we miss by racing about with our agendas and checklists. As we approach Advent, take time to be still. Sit in front of a fireplace or in a dark room lit only by the Christmas tree (whenever you may put yours up). Quiet the sounds of the TV and constant chatter – both inside and outside of your head.

The other song I find so calming on this album is Traditions of Christmas, written by Chip Davis to sum up all the warm memories that make Christmases past so heartwarming: cookies baking in the kitchen, a log crackling on the fire, laughter of family and friends nearby, the soft sound of snow falling outside, lingering scents of evergreen and cranberry, and the familiar strains of beloved carols. It’s everything I remember Christmas being as a child.

Dream, dream, dream of the joyous day to come…

If all Advent means is a baby born long ago, then there is no hope, no dream for the future. But it’s more than that. With Advent, we remember the birth in the past and look forward to God returning to earth to claim those who are His.

Are you ready to begin seeking him in earnest as we count the days toward Christmas?

***

I’m linking up with:

152 Insights to My Soul

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The Perfect Gift – an Advent series

After an October that should have completely overwhelmed me, I’m amazed to say that this year, the first in three years, I ended the #write31days challenge more excited about writing and blogging than before I began. I can only guess at why, but it definitely seems like God is at work in my heart and, perhaps, my words.

Earlier this week, I talked with my husband about starting another more relaxed series, perhaps looking toward Advent. It’s a little early for me; I typically prefer to keep the Christmas and all its trimmings on hold until after Thanksgiving dinner. I’m realizing, though, that this year will be very different. Due to the continuing upheaval in the state of our house (see Four lessons from a flood and the follow-up, Counting blessings and revealing messes), it seems silly to even think about Christmas decorations – there’s just no room in this mess! Combine that with other circumstances which mean we will most likely not spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with family, and I’m realizing that Christmas needs to happen in my heart this year or it may not seem to happen at all.

And then this gem of a song and You Tube video appears in my inbox. JJ Heller is one of my favorites (and her smile is contagious!). The song was just released today and you can buy it on iTunes. I immediately knew this song would be my theme for this Advent season.

Have we forgotten, we need some sorting out? Clear our minds; we will find what the story is all about…

Do we remember the wonders of His love? Will our voices join with the chorus up above?
Do we remember how on that silent night there was a baby who came to recall us back to life?

Instead of focusing on the gifts to be bought or exchanged, the decorations with which to deck the halls, the tinsel and lights and Hallmark movies, I want to highlight the Savior, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law. Would you join me here every week from now until Christmas for another reminder of the wonders of His love? Together, let’s explore this Perfect Gift, given for you, given for me.

He was the Perfect Gift. He came to bring us peace. Holy Child, our King.

The Perfect Gift - an Advent series

~~~

I’m linking up with Simply Beth for Three Word Wednesday:

Avoiding a Case of the Mondays

First Monday of the new year! Hurray! Hoping to avoid getting a case of the Mondays this year…


…I’m linking up with Ann Voskamp and the 1000 gifts community.

The building momentum has been so interesting to watch:

An autumn conversation with a beloved sister. How can we live lives of gratitude. A mention of a book.

Secret journals begun.

A dinner table tradition of a dad pulling out a blessings book and each child and parent calling out an addition to their blessings.

A Christmas present spreads the call to count our gifts.

Familial conversations continue the reminders of all that God has given us.

A teary-eyed husband shares his own new journal and first entry to his wife.

One word for 2013.

A gentle reminder from a friend.

So, to start off my list, I can’t help but think of the holiday we just shared:

A special present

It’s Sander’s Fudge!

I’m so grateful that we could spend Christmas with Mom, my sister and her family, and my brother and his girlfriend.

We enjoyed a special gift of Sander’s Dark Chocolate Hot Fudge, hand-delivered from Michigan.

I keep reminding myself how lovely it was to spend a week in the warmer climate of Florida.

How lovely the Christmas lights looked when covered with a (thankfully light) layer of snow.

Surprises from Tom to welcome me home.

I keep thinking back on how delightful it is to share Christmas with a child (or in my case, three). Their enjoyment of every present, the older ones’ excitement to have their gifts opened by others, and the joy of experiencing the simple delights of the season anew.

The littlest one, not yet three, clapped in wonder when they made it snow (in Florida!) at a Christmas light show. And this precious moment, captured after placing Baby Jesus before Mary and Joseph on Christmas Day…

Worship the Christ Child

…may we, with awe, worship Christ throughout this year and look for the gifts that God gives us everyday.


   

Christmas Movie Quotes – The Answers

Did you figure out the Christmas movie quotes? Here are the answers! (more…)

Do You Really Know Your Favorite Christmas Movies?

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scantron (Photo credit: COCOEN daily photos – Creative Commons)

Ready for a quiz? Get your No. 2 pencils out!

For a little fun this holiday season, here are some relatively obscure quotes from Christmas movies. Do you know which movies these are from?

No Cheating! 😉

I’ll share the correct answers in a separate post.

A.

Brilliant! You reject your own nose because it represents the glitter of commercialism! (more…)

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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