Tuesday, December 13, 2011

God With Us

Our home has been privy to many epic battles. In fact, come by any given morning and you can be thrilled by daring escapades and courageous rescues. Many times I am right in the middle of these adventures. I pass through my living room with the laundry and hear that Tico the squirrel is saving Sophie the giraffe from imminent hurt as she clings to the edge of the couch. Other times I suck up Cheerios right in front of Minerval the stuffed chicken and Iron Man as they duel for the coveted treasure chest. I have even had to politely excuse myself as I dusted around T-Rex and Buzz Lightyear as they worked on a plan to conquer the window sill. The excitement never ends...My son Josiah loves his super heroes. He loves having the good guy overcome obstacles with his super powers. It wasn't long ago that I sat and watched him reenacting yet another battle scene. The morning sun was like gold shining on his bent head and I marveled at how he was growing. And as I observed his little superheroes I found myself praying that he would realize who really was the greatest Hero of all. I prayed that in the time of trouble he would really know Who to call upon. Immanuel - God with us. Christmas is a time to remember that God. Is. With. Us. He is no little plastic friend of Dora who has no power to save. He is not a dollar sign who is useless when our heart is breaking. He is not just a man who will make mistakes. He is God.

All powerful.
All knowing.
Always present.
Always loving.

This Christmas, I pray that you are reminded daily that God sent Jesus, His Son, to be WITH you. God with you. Immanuel.

"...and they will call him 'Immanuel' which means 'God with us'". Matthew 1:23

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hugs From Andrew

Here's Andrew. How's that for cute? He actually looks EXACTLY like his daddy did at that age (funny thing - you do all the work and...). ;) Andrew has the most soul satisfying way of hugging. When I lift him up on my shoulder, he wraps his chubby little arm snug around my neck. It's extra special because he's still so bitty (well...over 16 lbs of bitty at 5 months). Those snuggles are heavenly to any mom.
How much do we love it when our little ones jump in our lap for a squeeze?! Just this afternoon my older boys went running for daddy when he came home for lunch. My middle son squealing; "I want a tiss (kiss) too daddy! I want a tiss!"
We love our children unconditionally and seek to show them in many ways throughout the days. Some days it may feel like all we hear are 'requests'...
"Can I have a cookie?"
"Can we go outside?"
"Can I jump in that puddle?"
"Can I unroll ALL the toilet paper in the house?" (ok., sometimes they don't actually ask...)
So, when, out of the blue they turn around and show a genuine display of affection for mama...it's pretty heart melting.
Just a couple days ago I had lifted Andrew and was delighting in his tiny hug when I thought;
"I wonder does God feel like this when we love Him back? Does He delight in me running to Him each morning and whispering thanks each night? Does His heart swell when I can tell Him I love Him? Have all my conversations with Him today been requests?"
Remember today that as much as God loves to hear and meet our prayers and requests, He also delights in our genuine affection for Him.
1 John 4:19
We love because he first loved us.
Zephaniah 3:17
17 The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Stands Still

As a little girl, the first snowfall of the season was a monumental occasion. The first little puffy flakes floating softly to my face set my mind dreaming of things to come...skating figure-eights, hiking through quiet woods, late evening snowball fights and Christmas. Christmas. Christmas. That first snowflake meant that Christmas was on it's way. And from the beginning, my heart would be torn with not being able to wait for it to come - and not wanting it to come too soon - because then it would be over. No little one wants Christmas to be over. Too soon the wrapping paper would be littered around us, the turkey dinner gobbled and the surprises over. In the midst of the presents and family and carols, my heart would grieve just a little that the season was drawing to an end. A whirlwind of red and green, lights and decorations, new dresses and church, gifts and food.
But one year - Christmas stood still. One night, it paused.
I was a little older now, 17 to be exact. I was on the edge of childhood and verge of becoming an adult. This would be my last winter at home before I left for college. I stood outside our home. Everything was quiet and muted by the blanket of deep snow that had fallen. The Christmas lights were casting a warm glow on the white front yard. Big, soft flakes lazily floated down. And then Christmas paused. A moment full of God's presence and awareness of His hand in my past and His purpose for my future. All is calm. All is bright.
Over a decade later, I sit across the table from two little boys. Two flames flicker and cast a warm glow on their faces, it's light reflecting in large brown eyes like their daddy. My heart aches for Christmas to stand still for them. For their own moments full of God's presence and awareness of His love for them.
So, in this season of Advent, we light candles every evening and make moments. We relish in Christmas - in Christ with us. And we pray we make Christmas stand still in their hearts - stay still in their hearts.