Icy Reminder

In Texas, we have a saying. “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute.” We laugh when we say it, but it has certainly proven true this past week. The temperatures in North Texas have gone from a wonderful, sunny high 70’s to as low as 19° at our house. Added to the low temperatures has been an ice storm which shut down schools, businesses and even some churches.

As a native Texan, I just don’t like cold weather and especially not icy yards and roads. But this week I have enjoyed seeing the postings on Facebook and the news clips on television showing families playing together. There have been photos of ice skating in the street, sledding in the park, puzzles by the fire and walks to visit friends for dinner.

This ice storm has been the North Texas version of an early white Christmas. It has given us the opportunity to see from the photos and postings something we miss in our everyday lives. We have been able to see LOVE lived out as families took advantage of being iced in and played together, then shared their photos.

LOVE given is the true meaning of Christmas. It was God’s love for us that was expressed through the birth of Jesus on that long ago day in Bethlehem. It is His love that teaches us how to love in an unconditional way. God didn’t place conditions on us when He sent Jesus to be our Savior. We don’t have to be good enough or work harder to earn His love. He gives it to us exactly as we are – no strings attached.

Perhaps we needed an ice storm to be reminded to spend more time with loved ones. Or perhaps you are not one of the families who played together this week. It could be that you don’t have a family nearby or have lost a loved one this year. Many of us struggle with the daily grind in a way that doesn’t give time for play. But that does not mean you are not loved. Jesus LOVES you! He is the gift God gave for all. It is a free gift that you don’t have to work to be good enough to receive. God has given you Jesus out of His great LOVE for you.

As we spend these next few weeks in preparation for Christmas, let’s open our hearts to God’s love in remembrance of the purpose of Christmas; that is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one who made a way for us to be with God forever. He is God With Us, Immanuel!

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:10-11 NIV

“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘the virgin will be with child and will give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ which means, ‘God with us.’” Matthew 1:22-23 NIV

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After Thanksgiving Blahs

After Thanksgiving Blahs

“For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.” Jeremiah 31:25 NAS

With Thanksgiving being late in the month of November this year, there are only three weeks until Christmas. And, while others are already talking about celebrating the joy of Christmas, many women are just trying to catch a breath and recover from Thanksgiving.

In many homes, women worked tirelessly throughout the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend to provide food and fellowship for their families followed by clean-up. And if they were really brave, they participated in Black Friday shopping. Then possibly, the Christmas tree and decorations were done on Saturday. The result for many women was sheer exhaustion on the Monday morning following the holiday. But, we as women do it because we love being with family and satisfying their hunger with traditional foods. It is in our nature to nurture.

This morning as I prepared to write this week’s blog, my eyes were drawn to Jeremiah 31:25 that was written on a card on my desk. It was like a personal reminder that when we are weary, God refreshes our spirits so we can move on to the next thing. In this verse, the promise from God is to refresh everyone who languishes. Some definitions of ‘languish’ are “to be weak, to live in a state of depression with decreasing vitality and to become dispirited.”

Exhaustion can lead to “languishing” if we are not careful. December is a high depression month for many. Loss and imperfect family dynamics cause many to dread Christmas. But I also think a reason we get depressed in December is because we are so busy trying to fit everything into our schedule that we are not as consistent in Spiritual Disciplines as at other times during the year. It is so very important during the rush of the season to take care of ourselves physically and spiritually so we can remain emotionally strong throughout this month of celebration. As we write to do lists, shopping lists and fill calendars with activities, we need to remember two very important things:

  • Jesus is the reason for the celebration. Give thanks for life in Him every day. Without Him, there would be no Christmas.
  • Pray daily. Among all your lists for the month, make time for your prayer list.

God satisfies those who are weary and depressed, and He does it through our prayers and constant awareness of His presence in our lives. Rather than allowing ourselves to become dispirited, be open to His Spirit guiding us through each day that our hearts will be filled with the love and joy of Jesus. He refreshes those who are weary as we turn our hearts toward Him.

To grow your faith on understanding how God satisfies and refreshes, click here.