Tag Archives: joy

Merry Christmas! (Conclusion of Advent Series)

How could I forget about the Christ candle?  The 5th candle in the center of the Advent wreath, which we light on Christmas Eve.  We’ve made it to the long-awaited day, the day the Christ was born.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2:9-14

I cannot think of a more beautiful song to leave you with to conclude this season.  “O Holy Night”  Although my husband claims each and every year that Eric Cartman (from South Park) ruined this song for him (sorry if I just did the same for you – you can view it here, although I highly advice against it!), it is still one of the most beautiful and most meaningful songs of the Christmas season for me.

Please enjoy this version and carry with you this knowledge each and every day of the coming year.  On this Holy night, many years ago, a baby was born who changed it all.  Amen and Merry Christmas!

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees

O hear the angel voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains He shall break, for the slave is our brother.

And in His name, all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord!
Their name forever praise we

Noel, Noel
O night, O night divine
Noel, Noel
O night, O night divine
Noel, Noel
O night, O holy night

See the first 4 weeks of Advent here:  (Thanks for keeping up for my very first blog series!)
HOPE
PEACE
JOY
LOVE
And one last favorite Christmas song!

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Love this Christmas (Advent Series Part IV)

There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Love.  So much to say, but I’ll keep this short today.  All we need is love, according to the Beatles.  And there is truth in that, God says it himself, it’s the greatest!  It’s mentioned anywhere from 500-700 times in the Bible.  So I’d say it’s pretty important.  It’s what we all seek, it’s what we all want to give, without it, life just wouldn’t be worth living.  And God showed us the greatest LOVE at Christmas, and it is the candle we light today for the 4th Sunday of Advent.

I picked a sort of unlikely song to represent LOVE, but I keep coming back to it, “Little Drummer Boy.”  The lines that get me are “I have no gifts to bring.” and “I’ll play my best for him.” So this little boy plays his drum and he plays his heart out, for the KING!  And then the song concludes with “Then he smiled at me…”  Those lines sum up so much.  Especially this time of year when everything is about presents and stuff,  all God really wants from us is our LOVE, to give the best with what we have, even if it is just a drum.  The little drummer boy simply had just that and was asked to play for our new Lord, so he did, and did it proudly.  AND it made the Lord smile.  Isn’t that all that should matter?  And isn’t that love at its core?

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
Number 6:25 (NLT)

To me that struck a chord this Christmas.  I’ve mentioned in my other posts, and I’m just as guilty, but it is so easy to get lost in the shopping, presents, baking, parties, whatever it is, and forget about why we are celebrating.  We are celebrating simply because God loved us, the world, so much to send us the best gift of all, His son (sounds familiar – John 3:16?).  So love him back with everything you have.  Love your family, friends, neighbors, everyone as God loves us.  Love truly is a gift, so embrace it, share it, and thank God for it!  Amen.

Enjoy a fun, A Capella version of this beautiful song here:  (by Pentatonix)

See my first 3 messages and songs here:
HOPE
PEACE
JOY
And one bonus one and a last one coming for Christmas!

And once again, a few pictures of LOVE in my world: (Although to be honest, every picture I take of my family is LOVE to me, so it was hard to just pick a few – good problem to have!)

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Joy for Christmas (Advent Series Part III)

Joy: a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.  Who wouldn’t want that?  Joy is another amazing gift and one that I’d have to say makes everything else worth it.  Don’t you live for those moments of pure joy, for me it’s through my children.  And as they get older, the JOY in Christmas is even clearer.  (Stay tuned for my post about meeting Santa!)  And here is my LL when I told her to show me joy this morning:

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Then the angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid, for behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luke 2:10

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk 3:18

Joy is mentioned so much in the Bible, it’s hard to narrow it down, so I picked a common Christmas verse and another great one from Habakkuk.  I try not to do “too much” research when composing my posts, I don’t want to ever be guilty of stealing anyone else’s thoughts and ideas.  I try to pour out my raw emotion as I pray over and think over each topic, song, or verse I choose to include.  But I came across this article that includes tons of scripture and thoughts on JOY.  The author hits the nail on the head when he mentions that true joy cannot be fabricated and can only come when we feel secure, have direction in our life, are honest with God and ourselves, and live each moment in God’s presence.

I know I try to thank God and praise him even more in times of JOY.  Don’t get me wrong, I praise Him through my storms too, but it’s hard when you’re in them.  But the joy that will come will be amazing.  Time and time again, God comes through.  And it’s in those moments of JOY that I feel free, I know my God came through and I feel His presence and loving arms around me and I want to shout it to the world.  My goal will be to keep that joy in my heart always.  If not the JOY, but maybe the HOPE for it, or the PEACE that may precede or follow it.  Three beautiful gifts (and spoiler alert – the best one comes next week!)

It was hard for me to pick a song this week as so many songs exemplify JOY to me.  I did go with the most obvious, Joy to the World.  I’m sure it’s becoming overplayed, but not to me.  Chris Tomlin has a way with songs, that I can just never tire of.  He took this song, in a similar way that he took Amazing Grace (My Chains Have Gone), and added the catchy “Joy – Unspeakable Joy”, that has me singing as loud as I can when I hear it!  (A close second and one for you to check out as well is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” by Barenaked Ladies – LOVE this version!)

Enjoy this song.  Sing it out, LOUD, to our GOD, who wants us to experience JOY, during the Advent season and throughout the year.  It will have to be earned, much like peace, but it will be so good.  Amen!

Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy)
Chris Tomlin

And like last week – here are a few glimpses of JOY in my world:

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See first posts in this series here:  (and stay tuned for LOVE next week!)
Part I – HOPE
Part II – PEACE

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I will follow – will you?

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
Mark 8:34

Happy Sunday!  Today I wanted to share a song that I have heard a few times this week that I really feel God has placed on my heart as I am trying to listen.  It is Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Follow”, and as always I have included the YouTube video below.

I’ve been feeling restless lately.  As the kids are getting older and a bit more independent, I’m trying to figure out what to do with my [free] time.  Part of that was starting this blog.  I am hoping that by organizing how I spend my time and documenting trips, activities, and whatever occupies our time, maybe my true calling (purpose) will appear.  At least that is my prayer.  God speaks to me through music, as each Sunday I have been posting a song that either goes along with that days sermon or one that God has laid on my heart.

This week it was “I Will Follow”.  I always hope and try to follow the desires God places on my heart, but as I am entering a period of unknowns and possibly some tough choices (nothing serious, I will elaborate at a later time), I need to, now more than ever, place my trust in God and follow.  Where HE goes, I go, where HE stays, I stay, where HE moves, I move…you get the point.  I know things are not always clear – but I’m praying for a clear answer right now! (Wouldn’t that be nice!?)  I know in time, it will come, so I pray for patience in the meantime (something I pray for daily)  I will TRUST in HIM, SEEK HIM, and my joy will follow.

Recently, I’ve enjoyed reading stories behind songs, and found this article here with Chris on the meaning behind this song.  It comes from the story of Peter.  Peter was a follower of Jesus, but also a man of the world, and while he wanted to follow wholeheartedly, he was hoping for a different version of the story.  Sound familiar?  (It does to me!)  Following Jesus means setting aside your own wants and obeying.

“Isn’t that still what it means for anyone to follow Jesus? It means that we lay down our own agendas and hopes and dreams, and faithfully obey day by day. It’s a daily dying to self—the crucifying of our own petty and self-centered desires so that we might more clearly reflect Christ to the people around us. In the end, it’s not about bravado and bold statements. It’s about simple, ongoing obedience to the words of our Lord. To say “I will follow” is really not so different from saying “Help me every hour to die to my own desires, Jesus, so that you can live more fully through me.”” [Excerpt from article linked above with Chris Tomlin]

I pray this week (and always) that I can set aside MY expectations and MY agenda and fully open up my heart and mind to the word of God and follow HIM with my whole heart, while trusting HIM, and praising HIM always.  In HIM I will be free and find my joy, if I will just follow.

Amen – have a great week!  (Looking forward to a fun and God filled week here as we host VBS at our church!)

I Will Follow
Chris Tomlin

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