Archive for the Category »christmas «

Honest Words from a Pastor’s Wife – Christmas on a Sunday
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This year Christmas came on a Sunday, which has not happened since 2005.  If I am going to be completely honest I was not excited about this occurrence.  Although I love going to church I do not enjoy getting this family of 6 ready for church.  If we could just go in our PJs that would be glorious, although totally distracting and strange to say the least!  When we are home for Christmas it is a pajama kinda day.  Last year I remember thinking how strange it was to be sitting down to Christmas dinner served on our fine china along side family heirloom silver all the while wearing PJs!

My thoughts about this started before Thanksgiving.  Our church has a Thanksgiving Day service, Brian was there.  I was not too excited about that one either.

Then came Christmas.

Brian was to be at both the Christmas Eve service and the Christmas day service, there would be no getting around that unless we left town and he took a vacation day.

A week before Christmas, I got a text message from the husband/pastor/creative ministries guy that informs me my two oldest children will be singing in both the Christmas Eve service and the Christmas Day service.  Well it looks like I am loosing this one!  All I could think was, this must be what the Lord wants them to do.  It is not so much about me.

It is important to always be checking my heart and listening for what God might say in every life situation…
Speaking to my Mom around Thanksgiving gave me the first viewpoint/heart change that was needed.  My Mom was in a new town away from family and was informing me how neat it was to go to a church service on Thanksgiving Day.  My heart that had been set on, “can’t we just be a family on Thanksgiving and Christmas and hang out at our house” began to change as I realized the blessing a service can be to others.  Others who do not have family, others who have guests in town who only go to church on holidays, others who need the encouraging words of Scripture in song and word all are encouraged by a Thanksgiving or Christmas service.  In reality I am encouraged as well, but that was not my concern at the time.  I just wanted my loves home in their PJs.

The girls were delighted to find out they would be singing in the Christmas services, I believe there were even screams of joy when the news was told.  However, on Christmas morning when it was time to put the newly unwrapped presents down and dress for church the delight wore off a bit.  I had to give the pep talks while placing the curlers in their golden hair.  “You have the opportunity to bring joy to others by singing and encouraging their hearts.  You never know who will be in the audience.  Someone may really need the encouragement this service will bring.”  I was speaking to myself as well as to my girls.  The Lord always teaches me as I try to teach them 🙂

They went, they sang, they came back all smiles!  They ended up with their picture on the front page of the newspaper, singing so sweet.  I received word from several who went to the services how encouraged they were by the service and the girls’ involvement.  The Lord knows what He is doing!

To finish it all off they were back in their PJs with in 30 minutes of coming home, back to their new unwrapped gifts!  Christmas dinner was still china, crystal, silver and PJs!

Mandy’s Monday – Don’t Forget the Marshmallows! (Making December Count Idea #2)
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Welcome back!  How was your first week of December?  I hope it went well and that in the craziness you were able to snatch a few moments with your loved ones to focus all of your hearts on the true meaning of Christmas.

Our family started the reading plan I referred to last week.  We quickly learned it is best to take a look at the additional content available to understand why the particular reading is chosen for that day.  It is not a chronological reading, so knowing the main point before reading it out loud to children is helpful (today it was about giving is better than receiving).  Our family has enjoyed passing the iPhone around the breakfast table having different people read each day.  We have had a few bumps in the road, but we have kept at it and the older girls as well as Brian and I are enjoying it.  My two younger children, ages 6 & 3, are not getting as much from our reading time.  If you have given it a try, keep going!  If you want to jump on board start today!

Now it is time to give you a second idea.  I will remind you that my purpose is to give you an idea of a simple activity that does not take much time or prep and you most likely do not have to go buy anything; yet it will provide a special family moment that you can soak up as much as possible!  This week have all the family members get in their pajamas then gather the following items:  Christmas story books, hot chocolate and don’t forget the marshmallows.  Not too difficult, but a set aside time and an excited attitude from Mom and Dad can turn this into a fun family moment.  Last year this happened spur of the moment and if I remember right was really the kids idea.  I grabbed the camera and captured the moment 🙂

A little discussion on Christmas story books might be needed here.  I love books!  I love to read!!  You probably already know this about me.  Therefore, it is no surprise that I have a collection of  Christmas story books.  I try to pick up one or two each year.  We leave them out for December, but the rest of the year I have them tucked away in the basement.  It is always fun to see the kids spend time just pouring over them each year when I bring them out!  If you do not have a collection I would encourage you to start one, however the library is a great resource.  Check your local public library as well as your church library.  If your church does not have a library there is a chance a near by church does and would allow you to check out from them.

I have one Christmas story book that is my all time favorite!  I would HIGHLY recommended getting a copy of One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham.  Amazon says it is temporarily out of stock, I am hoping that does not mean it is out of print.  Graham lays out the story of Christmas starting in…Genesis!  This book is actually a condensed story of the Bible itself.  I just love it!  My kids and I have read through this since they were really little, it is a family favorite!

So send the kids to get their PJs on, grab some hot chocolate and a stack of Christmas story books and don’t forget the marshmallows!  Enjoy your family and Christmas this week!

Making December Count – Personally and as a Family
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Happy December 1st!

If you have been holding off on declaring it Christmas time, there is no more waiting allowed!  It is December, time to decorate the house, buy some gifts, plan for parties and events, and get STRESSED OUT with all you wish you could do but can’t… Wait, did I just write that?  I did!  Let’s just be honest, many of us get stressed about the holidays and one of the reasons is because we see it as yet another time we will fail at having life all together and running smoothly like we assume every one elses lives run.  Let me just dismiss the myth, no one has it all together…no one!  Not even the mom you know who looks like she has got it all under control.  She doesn’t!

I love quick simple ideas that I can put into practice with my family.  Sometimes I have time to embellish them, sometimes I don’t; but I love getting ideas.  I thought I would share a few with you this December.  A few ideas that do not take a lot of time or prep, but just might provide a wonderful Christmas family moment!  I will post a new idea each Monday in December, and we will all see if we can put them into practice this holiday season.

The first idea comes from YouVersion, a Bible reading website where you can find all different Bible reading plans.  After signing in and getting a user name you can access tons of reading plans.  I found a December plan called “Rediscovering Christmas” that lays out a plan for December 1- 25 that takes you through the Christmas story.   If you have an iPhone grab the free App, select the plan and read it at the breakfast table with your kids each morning.  If the breakfast table does not work out, hand the phone to one of your kids and ask them to read it out loud in the car.  No iPhone, no problem…stop by the website during the day and grab the reference, place a Bible on the dinner table and ask one of the kids to read each evening.  Is your home computer located in the same room as your fireplace, ours is :), gather everyone around a warm fire in the fireplace, hit the website each night find out the reference then go back to the home page and select the option for the audio drama and listen to the passage being read.  The options are endless.  Don’t try to make it big and glorious, just try to make it happen!  There is time for embellishing once it is happening!  Ideal this plan starts today, so sign up and start reading 🙂

Mandy’s Monday next week will feature idea #2.  These are simple and doable ideas that I hope you and your family can put into practice with the result of turning your hearts toward Christ this Christmas with out getting stressed.

Merry Christmas!

the god of Christmas
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The subtle, yet poignant message in this commercial screamed out at me this morning while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the family.  Watch below and see if you can hear what I hear:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TMwBFK2qHI

Did you see it…not only have we overtaken the real reason for the Christmas celebration, Christ the eternal, the Messiah taking on humanity for the salvation of the world, but we have further replaced God with today’s image of commercialism, Santa Claus!  Coca-cola has created Santa as a god-like figure who controls the events of humanity through his snow globes, to bring happiness to all (and a Coke and a smile).  I realize that this is a mythical and flawed view of how God works, but it subtly indoctrinates our society and bumps God the Father and the Son out of the Christmas celebration.  Maybe we should start calling the holiday season Santamas?  Merry Santamas to all…yikes!

Those of us who know the reality of God in flesh appearing need to keep Christ as the center of Christmas, help our children discern and understand the lies of society around, and celebrate that true joy and life only known through the Christ of CHRISTmas.

I Love Coke…but this ad campaign doesn’t bring happiness or a smile to my face.

Mandy’s Mondays – Learning about God on Black Friday
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This Thanksgiving Brian and I decided to join the masses of individuals and families who woke at drastic hours in the morning, the day after Thanksgiving, to head to the stores to spend money on those great deals that were suppose to be happening – and mostly were!  Brian and I are not big shoppers, it is not like we decide to head to the mall to look around and hang out whenever we have free time.  But there is just something about Black Friday that we enjoy 🙂

Our babysitter arrived at 5:00 am and we were out the door by 5:30 with coffee travel mugs full and lots of anticipation for getting our shopping done and having fun doing it.   We were out until lunch time and the morning was really enjoyable.   There was the crazy long line at Circuit City where people were just waiting to get IN the store – we decided to not stop there!  We shopped around Old Navy, Children’s Place, and Kohl’s finding all sorts of fun things.  We took a break for Cinnabon and Starbucks and went in a few stores that were beyond our spending desires, just to look around.  I saw a group of ladies wearing black T-shirts that had simple white letters on the front that said “Friday” obviously this Black Friday shopping is a tradition for them.   It was a great morning and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

So what was it that I learned about the Lord on Black Friday?  I got to experience what I think He must feel in giving gifts just for the fun of it to His children!  I found myself seeing things all over the place that my children would love, and many of them I wanted to buy just to see the joy on their faces.  We bought a Dora doll for Isabelle and I think this thrilled me the most.  We had already planned to buy the older girls American Girl Dolls  and were not sure what to do for Isabelle.  When I saw the Dora doll I knew we did not need to think about it any longer.  Isabelle loves Dora!  And she know loves her Dora doll.  So while I was out shopping I got to thinking about how none of these gifts I was getting for my kids were they truly needing or could they not go with out, however I desired to give them to them for the sheer pleasure of my kids delight.  Is that what God does for us?  Does He give us things in our life just to see us in delight?  Does He receive pleasure from my joy?  I think He does!!  Now how cool is that?  I think it is pretty amazing!!

Then my second thought was do I show God my delight?  Do I do a good job of thanking Him for the gifts He gives, especially the ones that are not truly needed.  On Christmas evening Addie said to me “Mom, I could just never tell you how much in my heart I am thankful for my doll.”  And that made it all worth it, having joy in her delight!

So I am striving to be actively thanking God for His gifts and delighting in Him!!

Family Fun With Christmas Gifts
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After Christmas is always a fun time to play with new toys.  This year the Moore family is playing with new dolls, cell phone, bird feeders/bath, books, artistic stuff, coffee press, and much more.  Just recently we got together to play with some hand-made toys from Mandy’s Dad aka “Grampy”…watch the fun below!

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