Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Nativity

I just finished watching the movie, The Nativity with Steven. I love that movie. What a great thing to stop and pause and watch this time of year. On KSBJ today someone said, "You wouldn't go to someone's Birthday party and bring everyone there a birthday present but them. However, that is what we do at Christmas. We buy everyone a present and neglect presenting our very selves (His greatest gift) to Jesus, the man of honor." A good and true word. I reflected on that, amongst many other things, while watching The Nativity. It really hit me (as I watched the story I have heard and read so many times played out on the big screen), the theme of humility and opposition. Jesus chose a humble girl, a righteous man, a humble manger, and a bunch of humble shepherds all to be a part of this beautiful story. For it is through the unlikely that He shows Himself strong! And not only that, but then I got to thinking about all the opposition that they faced. I grew up thinking that if things didn't work out "perfectly," then you must not be in God's will. But that is so far from the truth. In reality, if you are facing opposition, then most of the time you know that you are in God's will. That is Jesus Himself's story! Now don't get me wrong, sometimes we face opposition due to our own sin. And also, there is a peace that comes with being in God's will. However, His peace usually comes with a sword. Take Mary & Joseph for example...they were considered humble, righteous, highly favored, yet if you really think about it, I'm sure they faced much ridicule, gossip, slander, judgement, etc. They couldn't even find a place in which to birth Jesus in! And they had to flee from their own home town. And all b/c Jesus chose them to carry Him. But that is true of us. We live in a world that doesn't even understand morality, much less the choices we make for the "much more" of God, to live like a George Bailey. But as I previously blogged, if we endure the opposition, we will gain Jesus. And that truly is the greatest gift that we have. I pray and hope that you un-wrap that gift this year my friends. It will require humility, sacrifice, righteousness, and probably some opposition, but it also comes with the "much more" of our Savior. Trust me, it's worth it! :) Nothing good ever comes easy! Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life

I love watching Christmas movies this time of year. And now Steven is forced to be a part of it. :) One of the ones that we watched (and he had never seen) was, It's a Wonderful Life. A classic. I've seen it before but this time it really hit home to me and made me cry. What I noticed was that the constant theme of George's life was sacrifice. He was always sacrificing in order to help someone else out. And at times, he would get bitter for it and lose he did at the end of the movie when he was ready to take his own life. I love it when the angel comes down and shows George what life would be like without him in it. People are worse off and it grieves George. And then the angel explains that it's amazing how one man can affect so many peoples lives. Thats so true. We are here for a purpose. And sometimes I don't think that we realize what we do really matters. Our sins don't just affect us, they affect everyone around us. Just as our obedience. There is fruit all around us. Since my fast, I have grieved for the body of Christ to take their stands in the Kingdom of God. I think that it is sadly safe to say that most of us aren't. I felt Jesus grieving over me about that during my fast and I have decided to step up to the plate. Although far from perfect, since that decision I have seen a change and now I grieve for the rest of the body to do the same. So many un-touched lives b/c we are choosing not to be "displays of the Glory of God." I pray that the Church rises up in 2011! I pray we see our wonderful inheritance in Christ, and live for it here on earth so that others may see and want it themselves. Otherwise, eventually we will find ourselves like George Bailey and that's a sad place that too many are in. We'll either be at the end of ourselves, or realize we had no impact. Let's sacrifice instead. Lose ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom, and therefore gain the Kingdom. That is why Jesus came this time of year after all, right?! As one of my favorite Shane & Shane Christmas songs states, "He was born to die!" May we follow suit and die to ourselves, that we may truly live and shine His life to those around us to catch onto!

In conclusion, I wanted to post some pictures of the rest of my fun December thus far since my last post... :)

A true Christmas evening with our friend's, the Park's, over egg nog and chestnuts roasting on an open fire (people really do that what the song states...ha!)

Another Christmas evening out with our friend's, Jarrad & Crystal. What started out as a sushi dinner out and looking at Christmas lights in River Oaks, turned into crashing a Christmas party at a random person's house in River Oask...hillarious! :)

But here's lights really here! :)

Letters to Santa! :)

Steven and I watching Christmas movies as earlier stated (see here the enthusiasm that Steven and Linus have for doing this...ha!)

many days at my friend, Aimee's house as we chat and are entertained by her new puppy, Piper!

YL's last events of 2010...Our All area Red Neck Christmas tradition...

And our annual YL all area Christmas party (Steven was practicing & marking his territory) :)

And the rest of Red Neck Christmas (see if you can find my man's normal background poses in pictures...lovely!) :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My December thus far...

*Watching my nephews football games...always with my sidekick, Abi (that is when she doesn't find someone cooler that day!) :)
*Many walks with Jesus as HE constantly delights me! :)

*Several date nights with my man (this one was to Cirque de Solei)

*Christmas jammies!

*Lazy nights watching Hallmark movies with my crew (very few & far between but so cherished!)

*Time with family

*My first, own big Christmas tree! :)

*Young Life!

*Many holidays drinks!

*My new stocking that Steven's mom made me! :)

*Making Gingerbread houses

*One of the best days ever with my YL girls: Rachel, Gabby & Mallory (at church, Korea Gardens Restaurant, & a Korean Market-all in honor of Rachel who is from South Korea!) What yummy food!

*Fun times raiding my nephews closet and relaxing in my parents hot tub while they are away at Disney! :)

*And lastly, watching my man graduate from fire school. He is now a fireman and I am so proud of him! Congrats, Steven! :) I feel better, esp. as my crew and I were recently just evacuated from my apt in the middle of the night due to a fire. :/ All is well now though!

As usual this time of year, it's been busy. But so much fun! I've cherished so many great times with friends, YL friends, family, and Steven that I wish I had more pictures of, but I think that these are enough for now. :) However, mostly I have cherished my sweet times with Jesus. I know that I wanted it to be true before, I thought it was true, it was partly true, and in my head it was true; however, I don't think that I have ever been able to say this from my heart before, but I really mean it now...Jesus truly is my gift this year...and boy do I ever praise Him for that! Hallelujah! :) The story of Mary has come alive to me this season, but in a different way than normal. God recently revealed to me just how hard it must have been for Mary. I think we overlook the fact that people surely must not have believed her that the Holy Spirit put Jesus in her. I'm sure there was ridicule, judgement & gossip and that it hurt her deep. Scripture says that even Joseph had in mind to leave her until an angel visited him and assured him of his mission. In return for Mary's obedience, she got pain. However, she persevered, obeyed and what did she gain...JESUS! Not just for her, but for us. What a picture of what the Christian life is truly all about. If we choose the Kingdom of God vs. the Kingdom of this world, it will be hard. We will be mis-understood. Worldly living is easier. However, in the end, we who pursue the Kingdom of God gain a greater reward (Jesus) and our life has purpose while the rest of the world misses out. I have lived for the world and know first hand how un-fulfilling it in fact is. How purposeless. But now, as I choose to try and live for the Kingdom of God, I have found that it is hard, but it is SO FULFILLING!
"Greetings you who are highly favored!"
"Who me, Jesus?"
"Yes, you, Child."
"I don't feel highly favored. Things are hard."
"But you have gained the greatest gift of all, my Child."
"What is that, Jesus."
"You have gained Me. I am more than enough. And my life looked no less 'rosier.'"
"Enough said, Jesus."
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas friends! :)