28 December 2012

Rest

We both took the week off.

Some down time with each other;
Some down time with the kids.

We're celebrating 24 years of marriage;
Celebrating the birth of our Saviour.

Dicecapades, holiday movies, reading Dickens aloud;
Staying up late, sleeping in, napping.

Rest for our bodies and rest
for our spirits and rest from
the stress of a working-week life.

"Come to Me, all who labour...
and I will give you rest."

This is my first time linking up with Adrienne for:
Please click on the button to read more.

18 December 2012

Keeping Advent: All Is Well

So many thoughts are in my head.  I am not nearly so eloquent as many others, but I want to try to get some of those thoughts out, so here goes.

I was raised by parents who had experienced the sudden, tragic loss of two of their children.  Two years before I was born, my mother and sisters were in a terrible car accident.  My sisters, 3 and 4 years old, were killed, and my mother almost died herself.  In fact, the doctors said that her survival was a miracle ~ words not used lightly by emergency room physicians.  Both of my parents often told me that God sustained them through their grief.  Their faith gave them hope to go on, peace that was beyond human comprehension, and brought joy into their lives again.

On Friday, the day we all were reminded of the evil that exists in this world, I got a phone call from a friend.  She called to ask if I would like to sing in the choir with Michael W. Smith at his concert on Saturday.  Of course I would!  One of the songs we sang was "All Is Well." 

All is well ~ in this broken, fallen, violent world, because of His love for us.  This world was broken, fallen, and violent 2000ish years ago on that night in Bethlehem when not one selfish person would give up their room to a young girl in labour, and within 2 years of the Messiah's birth, a cruel, power-hungry man would order the slaughter of who-knows-how-many innocent children.  Yet the angels still said:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
All is well ~ because He came to that world, He comes into our hearts and lives, and He will come to take His bride home.  I had forgotten all about this song until I sang it on Saturday.  I have been singing it frequently since; It has been a source of comfort to me.  Perhaps it will be to someone else as well.



I am linking up with these lovely ladies throughout Advent:


Advent 2012 Button

10 December 2012

Keeping Advent: Daily

To see all of my Advent posts click on the banner:

This post is simply an explanation of how I am attempting to keep a peaceful focus on Christ and prepare more room for Him in my heart and home on a daily basis.

In the morning:
I awaken very early, plug in the tree lights, put the kettle on, and settle down to my morning prayers using Praying Advent.

After these readings and reflections, I turn on my Advent playlist, fix my tea, and sit back down by the tree to spend some time peacefully pondering what I have read.

After the sun is up and my husband and children are awake, we gather around the tree, pray the Advent Prayer to Jesus, open our Advent box, take out that day's ornament, read the scripture, and hang the ornament.

At some point of the day:
I have made a list of one thing for each day.  It may be a family outing, a special craft or activity, an act of charity/service, or even a seasonal movie or tv special. 

I try to keep Advent music playing whenever possible.

I am really trying to be watchful and open to ways of loving and serving Him through loving and serving others.

In the evening:
We gather around the Advent wreath, light the candle(s), and read the prayers and scripture passages.  We spread the scripture readings over a few evenings each week.

Before I go to bed:
I sit down with the tree lights again, and pray St. Andrew's Novena.  
This is something completely new to me.  I have never prayed a novena before, but I am really hoping that it will help keep my focus where it needs to be during this season.  I have found the following video helpful:


I am linking up with these lovely ladies throughout Advent:


Advent 2012 Button

Please visit them to read about how others are keeping this beautiful season.

06 December 2012

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Loving God, we thank You for
      the example of Saint Nicholas,
      who fed the hungry,
      brought hope to the imprisoned,
      gave comfort to the lost,
      and taught the truth to all.
May we strive to imitate him
      by putting You first in all we do.
Give us the courage, love and strength
      of Saint Nicholas, so that, like him,
      we may serve You through loving
      our brothers and sisters.
Amen. 

—by Amy Welborn
found at the St. Nicholas Center

02 December 2012

Keeping Advent: Week 1


Advent Prayer to Jesus

You are our eternal salvation,
The unfailing light of the world.
Light everlasting,
You are truly our redemption.
Grieving that the human race was perishing
through the tempter's power,
without leaving the heights
You came to the depths in your loving kindness.
Readily taking our humanity by Your gracious will,
You saved all earthly creatures, long since lost,
Restoring joy to the world.
Redeem our souls and bodies, O Christ,
and so possess us as Your shining dwellings.
By Your first coming, make us righteous;
At your second coming, set us free:
So that, when the world is filled with light
and you judge all things,
We may be clad in spotless robes
and follow in Your steps, O King,
Into the heavenly hall.

~Unknown Author, 10th century

Tonight we lit the first candle on our Advent wreath: the candle of Hope.

Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come,
that by thy protection we may be rescued
from the dangers that beset us through our sins;
and be a Redeemer to deliver us;
Who livest and reignest with God the Father
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end.
~Amen


O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
desire of every nation, 
Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell among us.

 And I made a "wreath" cake for us to enjoy.

Linking up:
  Advent 2012 Button