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The Celebration is Now

Posted on December 23, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

We are two days away from the “big day” and there is quite a bit of anticipation in our house. We leave tonight to head towards my in-laws for the holidays, and they do Christmas big. For one three-year old little boy in our house, it will be truly magical.

With the anticipation of the next few days, it is easy for me to feel like so much is coming. Christmas is coming...but just not today. It is coming once I pack our bags, clean our house, cook these food dishes, send these last cards, wrap these final gifts, travel these final hundred miles, and more. I am waiting for my to-do list to get done so that Christmas will finally be here.

But really, Advent and Jesus and Christmas and celebration - it is here. Now.

The story of the coming Jesus has been told for so many years through so many unlikely situations and people: God searching for Adam and Eve after the fall, God's overwhelming grief over the state of the world with Noah, the blessing and covenant with Abraham, the promise of God to not leave Jacob, the good that God worked through Joseph’s plight, the use of a prostitute Rahab in the lineage of Jesus, the faithfulness of Ruth, the anointing of the smallest brother David, the fulfilled prophesies of Isaiah and Micah, the redemption of Jonah, the stand of Esther…all point to Jesus.

God wove his story for many years, through many unlikely people, in many unlikely situations. Advent has come. Jesus has come. The celebration is now.

What does this mean for me, two days from Christmas, with travel to do, presents to wrap, people to call, a house to clean, a dog to drop off, a work project to wrap up…a long list of must-dos? How can I see the story, the promise, the Advent already-come when I just.have.so.much.to.do?

Advent has come and the promise is here, despite the things I have decided must come first. Before I finish my to-do list. Before I get us all packed. Before I clean up the 3000 Lego pieces that are spilled on my living room floor. 

Today, Advent is here. I have hope. I can rest assured that Jesus did come, and continues to come after me, just like he did throughout the stories of the Old Testament, leading to his birth. 

I can let it go. I can rest assured.

I can see the blessing in the packing, as it means I have people to pack for. I can speak thanks over the Lego pieces strewn on the floor, as it means I have an inquisitive child who loves to build. I can see God in the dirty house, as it means we have lived (really) well here. 

I can speak thanksgiving in these two days of crazy leading to Christmas, as Jesus has come. Advent is here. I don’t have to wait two more days to get there. I am not waiting for something better.  Today is the better. Today is the blessing. Today is the day Jesus came for me, that Advent really comes alive.

How do you see Advent in the day to day, in the mundane and crazy and overwhelming that occur in the next 2 days? 

Posted in Advent, Celebrate, Christmas

Should We Be Singing "O Come Let Us Adore Him"?

Posted on December 10, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

I love the Advent season at church, as we sing many beloved Christmas hymns throughout the service. This past Sunday, we sang a collective favorite among our church family - O Come Let Us Adore Him. People sang with such gusto, myself included, and it felt so real, so hopeful.

But, really, I’ve got to stop singing that hymn.

Really, we probably all should. We sing it with enthusiasm, but so many of us are doing the opposite of what we’re singing. 

We’re belting out a desire, through the lyrics, to come joyful and with a hope to behold Him.  A hope to see glory in the highest ready to greet Jesus this morning.

BUT.

For me, so much of what I am declaring in that hymn is just not how I live my life. I’m singing something that isn’t playing out on a daily level.  I fail to Come and Adore him with so many things...

Do I come to Jesus with my schedule? What about my hopes in the new year? Do I come to Him before calling my friends for advice, before gossiping to my friends about a funny misunderstanding with a mutual acquaintance? Before posting something on Instagram?

Do I adore Jesus with my money? With my plans? What about with my to-do list? Do I adore Him with the way I interact with people I don’t like very much? What about in the way I recount the tedious mundane details of raising a toddler to my friends? In my free time - what do I do when I have 15 minutes of free time? Do I adore Jesus in any of it?

Am I ready to “greet" Jesus today? What about when we find out a friend’s surgery doesn’t go as planned? When a loved one has lost hope? Do I plan to greet Jesus today when dreams I have been praying over just aren’t being answered? Do I come joyful when life isn’t going the way I planned?

These are all things I can attest to in the past month - things I have done or feelings I have had. I go around this season singing a hymn with angst, as really no truth of the lyrics can be seen in so many details of my day-to-day life.

This season, I don’t want to just sing these lyrics flippantly, and then move on with my daily tasks.  God is calling me today to Come. Adore. Greet Jesus. Come Joyful. Behold Him. Today, I have grace to try again. Grace to start fresh this season. Grace to start over.

Am I willing, today, to Come and Adore? 

Are you?

Is this the year when what we are singing is really going to play out in our lives?  Is this the year that we will Come to Jesus with our schedules, to-do lists, conversations, use of social media, future, hopes (even the unfulfilled ones)?  Is this the year we will Adore Him, even when things are spiraling out of control these last few days until Christmas?

Are you willing to Come and Adore Him this season? To Come and Adore Him today?

Then, just maybe, we can sing O Come Let Us Adore Him with true hearts, beholding Him and greeting Him joyfully each day.

What can you do to Come and Adore Him today? In what do you need Grace to start fresh again?

Posted in Adore Him, Advent, Christmas

Seeing Christ During the Advent Season

Posted on November 12, 2014 by Sarah Brown | 0 Comments

Advent. Defined as the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. The time for us, as Christians, to wait expectant for the arrival of the MOST notable person, thing, and event. But, also a time of the year demanding the most of my time, my emotions, and myself.

The Advent season always comes as a challenge to me, kicking off the busiest month of the year by instead choosing to slow down and see the gift before me. To focus on the magnificent story woven throughout Scripture, and seeing the promises fulfilled through Christ’s birth.

This season offers a multitude of great resources to point us to Christ…great books and devotionals, cool calendars, great online communities. But, I love what Erin of Home with Boys said on Twitter yesterday:

So, yes, these resources below are wonderful. But, simple is better. The best thing we can do with the Advent season approaching is to just read the Bible, as we wait with expectation for the arrival of the MOST notable person, the fulfillment of our hopes, and the event proclaimed from the beginning of Scripture.

With reading scripture, if you are also looking for some great Advent resources, it is time to snag them before the season begins. Here are some I have used and recommend:

Devotionals:

• She Reads Truth Advent Study Pack - awesome study pack from a wonderful online community of women
• Naptime Diaries Advent Devotional - beautiful way to walk through Scripture in a devotional format
• The Greatest Gift - used this last year and cannot wait to read it again
• Unwrapping the Greatest Gift - great family devotional with wonderful pictures

      Decorations:

      If you’re looking for some great holiday calendars or decorations that really point towards the meaning of Christmas, I love these ideas:

      • Cradle to Cross Wreath - this sits on our table during the Advent season as we count down the days until Christ’s birth
      •This (pricey!) felt version from the Lullaby Loft is amazing as you move through the Christmas story each day
      • All you crafty types (not me!) might love making this nativity scene from Ginger Snap Crafts
      • These Jesse tree advent ornaments from RedFern Felt are beautiful
      • A simple and elegant wooden nativity set from Charlie’s Woodshop

            As the Advent season approaches, may it turn your heart to the Lord, as you wait expectant for the MOST notable event of the season.

            What Advent resources do you use to focus on Christ during Christmas? Any suggestions?

            Posted in Advent, Resources