From My Pen...

I'm a journaler. I like to journal about life, love and my Lord. I also love technology but busyness keeps me from being as tech-savvy as I'd like to be. This blog gives me a chance to play computer and learn a few new tricks along the way; all the while serving as my 21st century journal. A journaler is just a writer by another name and writing defines me almost as much as my faith does. I've always had a desire to blend my faith and my writing into a ministry of encouragement. This blog gives birth to that desire. Be blessed as you read these weekly devotions taken from the pages of my old-fashioned journal.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

IMPORTANT NOTICE


I have developed a Facebook page for Joyful Reflections.
 
I am also in the process of limiting my personal Facebook page to include mostly family (with a few necessary exceptions). If you are Facebook friends with me and  I turn up missing from your "friends" list - that is why. I am simplifying and "unfriending" you from Facebook does not "unfriend" you from my life or my prayers. We were friends BEFORE FACEBOOK and in my heart and mind we will be friends AFTER FACEBOOK!
 
To stay connected to my blog AND ME you can go to the Facebook search box, type in Joyful Reflections (I will be listed as a writer), click the link to that page, when you get there click the green "like" box. By doing this you will be able to reach me through that page AND you will help me promote my online ministry - the more likes I receive the more people I reach.
 
My blog is something I feel compelled by God to do and He has used and blessed that ministry. I look forward to your support.
 

Friday, 5 December 2014

ADVENT

Something special happens in your heart when you can truly see yourself in the Christmas story!
(For more pictures of my Nativity collection keep scrolling down the page.)
 
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Advent.

This year we have chosen to take it beyond the chocolate countdown of our Children’s bygone days. Not that I have anything against chocolate, mind you!

We are ministers. That means December is the craziest, busiest month of our calendar year; a fact that often serves to annoy me. I can never wrap my mind around the concept that in the time leading up to the big day we are so busy celebrating the Reason for the Season that we can barely bid Him the time of day.

I am glad that we determined early on in our marriage and family to honor the Christ of Christmas. Initially it meant that right in the heart of the season, immediately surrounding Christmas Day, we put Christ front and center. That always took effort because both little kids and big kids love opening presents! Somehow, amidst it all (and even during Wayne’s years in retail), we have mostly succeeded. Even at point of culmination; which is usually 5 a.m. on December 25 – if the kids could keep ME in bed that long – our illustrated scripture Christmas Story book was the first order of business. Then we prayed. The prayers were wigglier when the kids were littler but they grew as the kids grew. It was right to pause and thank God, not just for the gifts under the tree, but also for the Gift of Salvation through the giving of His Son. Don’t laugh! But Wayne & I still use that children’s edition of scripture in our early Christmas morning meditations even though our children aren’t around to see it. It has served us well these nearly-thirty years and the pictures still bring the scriptures alive. After all, we are all kids at Christmastime!

If I am honest, though, the last couple of years (maybe even a few) I have wanted more. Yearned might be the better word. I have yearned for more – more of what Christmas really is. Last year I discovered Advent. I reiterate – don’t laugh. Yes. I am a minister. But. In the churches and church ministries of my then-present context I heard the word banquet in December more often than Advent. It is embarrassing and painful to admit but, there, I’ve said it and now that others have read my brash admission my popularity plummets yet again. Oh well.

Where was I? Oh yes. Advent. My personal discovery of Advent. What joy it has added to my Christmas celebrations - pun intended.

If I am going to engage in something I want to know something of what I am engaged in. I had a vague sense of Advent but not enough to satisfy my curiosity. Wikipedia has satisfactorily filled in the blanks for me. I see that raised eyebrow. I quote: “Advent is a season.” Not one day – a season! “Advent is a season observed in many western churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is an Anglicized version of the Latin word adventus meaning coming. Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used to refer to the second coming of Christ. For Christians the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for His second coming.” That did it for me! That solidified my desire for more of Christ in my own personal Christmas. If you need more info then Wikipedia can accommodate you – or you could always just Google it!

This year Hubby & I have opted to take the Advent journey together. We trimmed the tree and the house early to create atmosphere. We have added a Jesse tree, prominently, to the mix. (Go ahead. Google Jesse Tree too – it will do your heart good.) We are taking time and making effort to engage with the Reason for the Season daily over this month. It is not without challenge or obstacle. Our month is no less hectic but our hearts are! We are still engaged in giving gifts to loved ones and we will gladly receive.  We are still doing whatever we can to bless those less fortunate than we are. We are sampling the holiday treats as they make their way from my mixing bowl to the freezer. And Yes! We may even attend a banquet or two! As we have been deliberate about acknowledging the Guest of Honor our Christmas is taking a deeper shape than ever before in our hearts and in our home. It works for me!

“Oh come to my heart, Lord Jesus, there is room in my heart for Thee.”

JOY'S NATIVITY COLLECTION

Meagre in comparison to some, my collection, nonetheless keeps the Holy Nativity before us at home. I hope you enjoy my photos. Merry Christmas!