Monday, December 26, 2016

Good News...Great JOY

Though it feels nothing like Christmas, due to a random Kentucky heat wave, I've been full of holiday spirit for days.

We've had our windows open and fans blowing, but I've lingered beneath the tree, resting in the glow of the lights and pondering on the magic of the season.  It's been a beautiful weekend and I just wanted to savor Christmas a bit more.

Life moves so quickly, children grow, parents age.  The older I get the more I find myself dwelling on the passing of time.

We kicked off the festivities on Friday with our annual craft day.  This marks our sixth year of spending the day with our kids focused more on the presence of each other than presents under the tree.  From toddler to teen, they each look forward to the day.

My baby was such a help this year, from set up to clean up and all the places in between.  He led our first craft, his idea, making hot chocolate spoons.  Several weeks back, I'd asked him about his favorite Christmas memories and craft day was among them.  I would guess it's a favorite memory among all the kiddos.

Although my body ached from head to toe by the end, my heart was full from the memories we made.  
Christmas Eve was packed with our typical traditions from beginning to end, though with a working teen we needed to jam a lot into a little time slot.

He was a trooper though, waking early on the weekend to have appetizers for breakfast.  We managed to squeeze in a holiday movie,a long game of dominoes, a visit from Santa and even a nap.

Thankfully, Noah got out of work early enough to go with us for our favorite, fairly new to us tradition of attending the candlelight service at our church.  In fact, that service is what inspired the title of this post and has me feeling well within my soul.

Preparing my heart, I began to lift up prayers of thanksgiving for all that God has done for us this year.  And suddenly, the pity party I had in my last post seemed very petty.

Life is going to have hills and valleys but we can't lose sight of God's love for us when we're in a lull or a pit.  That's exactly what the enemy wants.  In fact, it is in those trying times His love is never more present.  And truly, the health hiccups of 2016 are nothing compared to what we've already endured and survived.

In the quiet, simple service my heart swelled with remembrance of His many blessings.

Darkness will never cease trying to stop us from shining.  But light always overcomes.  As our church began to glow in increasing brightness, one candle after another, it was a visible reminder of the difference we can make in this gloomy world.  We must keep sharing the light.

That light, pure JOY, carried with me into the birthday of our Savior.  It is my prayer that Christmas will remain in my heart throughout the new year.  And also my prayer for you.

The best "gift" under our tree


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