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Are you ready for Advent?

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An Advent Wreathe.

Hard to believe it, but the season of Advent is already here!

So, just what is Advent anyway?

The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival.” The focus of the entire season is to be on the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. It will center around his first Advent (and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.)

Basically, it’s simply about anticipation. Anticipation of the coming King. The Anointed One. The Messiah. And the hope He would bring. To Christians, that Hope is the assurance of eternal life.

You might have seen or even used one of those clever Advent calendars at some point in your past. You know the ones. Where a door is opened each day in December and a surprise awaits you behind it.

I have an Advent wreathe in my house. This coming Sunday will be the 1st Sunday of Advent. Those of us who follow this tradition will light the first candle in our advent wreathes. (There are four candles in those wreathes by the way.) Three are purple. One is pink You light one candle each Sunday.

Each candle will have a name, and this coming one will be the candle of HOPE. Advent used to be the beginning of the Church Year for most Christians in the Western world. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, and ends on Christmas Eve (Dec 24).

Light a candle this week won’t you? And be reminded: we live in the hope that He has come.

Just my thoughts.
S.

PS: One of my favorite Christmas Hymns is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can give a listen here:

It’s the Little Things.

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It’s the little things that matter most.

It really is all about the little things in life. When someone holds the door for you, or assists  you with carrying a load. Maybe they call or text just to check in on you. Or perhaps it’s those extra summer vegetables you’re handed due to the abundance of a friend or neighbor’s bounty.

I have had the experiences of late where God let’s me know He’s there. But it’s extremely subtle and quiet. I guess I’d prefer He’d be loud and make a big fuss. But, alas, He doesn’t.

It reminds me of this great story:

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

1 Kings 19:11-13New International Version (NIV)

When we are needing an answer, or frustrated, hurting or confused, we really do want God to show up…BIG. But apparently, He doesn’t feel He has to. Maybe it’s because He already knows how huge He is, and to be honest, it would probably be more than our feeble human minds can really handle or manage.

I encourage you, this week, to watch for those “little things”, those quiet moments, where you know you didn’t make it up, or orchestrate it, you just know it’s a small window into His presence.

It even reminds me of an old hymn Little is Much When God Is In It.

You can click on the link or google it.

Enjoy!

S.

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.- John Wooden

 

 

 

Talking Trash.

If you’re new to this site and you found us via the Mature Living article by this title, WELCOME! We’re so glad you’re here. The article you read in the August issue of Mature Living Magazine originally appeared here as a blog post and was titled: “And Forgive Us Our Trash Baskets As We Forgive Those…” Great to have you joining us. Please subscribe and take a look around. – Stephanie

Are you finding it hard to forgive someone lately?12762-Clipart-Picture-Of-A-Garbage-Can-Mascot-Cartoon-Character-With-Welcoming-Open-Arms

When the email arrived in my inbox, I was tempted to trash it. It was a kind of “Kids say the craziest things” collection, and I have to admit, I didn’t have the time to read it. Work was waiting.

It was one child’s take on the Lord’s prayer, however, that really caught my attention. It went like this:

“And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our basket.”

Wow, I thought. If that child only knew how right  they were!

I have to admit…

It’s easy for me to ask God to forgive the sin in my life. (My personal trash basket.) But oh how much harder it is to forgive those that frustrate and complicate my life with their sins. The ones that put their trash in my basket of life.

I certainly don’t want God remembering or punishing me for my flub ups. Yet, for some reason, I don’t seem to mind Him recalling the offenses of the people who have wronged or hurt me. I would imagine you understand and might even be going through something similar of this nature right now.

It’s in those times that I have to consciously remind myself that God has not only forgiven, He loves the folks that hurt me. I didn’t say it was easy. But the reality is—Christ died for their sins too. Not just mine.

Sure, I’d like to think I am the center of my Creator’s world. But I’m not. There’s a few billion more out there that He has His eye on and cares about as well. In an odd way, that’s comforting. Why? Because it means that He deals with my trash and your trash everyday-and He can handle it. Our trash baskets don’t phase Him a bit and what’s inside of them doesn’t change His love for either of us. That’s a pretty amazing thought.

There’s a great verse that  helps me come to see that perhaps God just might be the great trash taker-outter.
It reads:

And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins. Psalm 103:12
Just my thoughts. Yours? :)
S.

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