Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent 4

Today we continued decorating the Christmas tree while remembering to keep Christ the focus of our decorating.

We sat in the kitchen listening to Christ centered Christmas carols while creating the nativity out of clay.

Once the ornaments were molded by our hands (which reminded us of when God created Adam and eve in the Garden of Eden) we baked them in the oven.

After the ornaments were finished baking they were carefully hung on the tree for all to see.

First we have the gentle donkey that carried Mary to Bethlehem. (This is actually not noted in scripture. Mary could have walked for all we know. But history shows that the donkey was a common mode of transporting things during this time. So from this Man kind has decided that this is how she traveled.)

Luke 2
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them

Luke 2
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

Mark 2

Magia]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a]from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”...

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Sing Praises to Your King!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Advent 2 & 3

This year during the Advent/Christmas season I decided that I wanted to make sure that Christ was the center of everything we do. So instead of decorating my tree with the purchased decorations at the store we decided to hand make our decorations. What does this have to do with Christ. Read on to find out.

Since advent is a time of waiting for Christ to come we decided to create beautiful strings of cranberries. Why cranberries you say? Well their color reminds me of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.

"Though your sins are like scarlet", Isaiah 1:18a(1)
"Though they are red like crimson," Isaiah 1:18b(1)

We also chose white popcorn to string into garland. The white reminds me that our sins are washed away and that we are perfect in God's eyes.

"They shall be white as snow" Isaiah 1:18a(2)
They shall become like wool" Isaiah 1:18b(2)

Now each time we look at our tree it will be a reminder of the sacrifice that our Lord and Savior made on our behalf.

Come Lord Jesus, Come!

How are you making Christ the center of your Advent/Christmas preparations and celebrations.

Sing Praises to Your King!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent Day 1

We are now entering the Time of Christmas in the Church year. This is one of my favorite times of the year. Christmas music is every where proclaiming the birth of our King and many of the decorations that we use serve as reminders of his holiness. All to often we find ourselves getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the season and allowing the secular celebrations to overtake what this time of year is really about. Over the next few weeks I will be encouraging you to make Christ the center of this holiday.

I would like to start by talking about the tradition of using the Advent wreath. Many homes have one but do you know why? What does it stand for and should it remind us of? And how should it be used?

The following information came from the following website. http://www.kencollins.com/question-10.htm

Martin Luther had a number of ideas for things that people could do at home to teach the catechism to their children. He certainly didn’t invent the wreath itself, because that goes back to ancient Roman times, and probably even earlier. People used wreaths as an Advent decoration long before Luther, but Luther may have used the wreath as a Christian-education device and thus popularized it. I suspect he had a hand in it because the Advent wreath in its present form started in Germany as a Lutheran family custom. Since Advent wreaths were originally used in the home, most of the ones you find for sale are small. They didn’t become popular in churches until the middle of the twentieth century. Now they are nearly universal.

You can make an Advent wreath with either four or five candles. Just a note some churches use blue candles instead of Purple.

First Candle
Color: Purple
Theme: Hope
First Sunday in Advent
Second Candle
Color: Purple
Theme: Love
Second Sunday in Advent
Third Candle
Color: Purple or pink
Theme: Joy
Third Sunday in Advent
Fourth Candle
Color: Purple
Theme: Peace
Fourth Sunday in Advent
Optional Center Candle
Color: White
Theme: Christmas
Christmas Day

Now how are we to use the Advent wreath? Each day during our devotion time we light the candle or candles that go with that week of Advent. For example tonight we will light the 1st purple candle and read our devotion then snuff it out at the end. We will repeat this each night. Then on week two we will light two purple candles and so forth. Many churches offer advent devotionals that you can use during this time. Our family is currently using the Treasury of Daily Prayers book for our devotion time.
Let us go forth and Prepare for the celebration of the birth of our heavenly King.

Sing Praises to Your King!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Being Thankful at Thanksgiving!

This year I would like to talk about giving thanks to our Maker and Redeemer. If you are like me there are days when you look around and you find it hard to be thankful for anything. You argued with a spouse, your child is being disobedient, there is not enough money to go around, your house needs cleaning(or fixing) or plans that you had made needed to be changed due to extenuating circumstances. It is easy to focus on the sour parts of our lives but it takes some effort (at times) to find the good.

The Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Through out scripture there are many verses that tell us to Give thanks and praise to the God of Gods, The God of Heaven, Lord of Lords, Lord God All Mighty..... (select verses in Psalms)

When you look at these passages they all have something in common. Many of them end with one of these two phrases For he is good and His love endures forever or for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

We need to ask Christ to open our minds and our hearts so that this Thanksgiving we can be truly grateful. I would like to encourage you to give thanks before your meal while you are sitting down with your family. Take a little bit of time to read what God says about giving thanks and have each person offer thanks for something. Perhaps they could have a list of things they ware thankful for already prepared. Have them sit a day or so ahead and create their list to bring to the table. Younger kids might need some help with this.

Here is my list:
  • A Warm House
  • Food on my table
  • The air I breath
  • My family
  • God fearing parents
  • The freedom to Worship my Lord and Savior!
  • The opportunity to witness as a family to my father-in-law during his sickness.
  • A great church home.
  • Gods Word
  • And best of all The gift of salvation
  • The opportunity to give a safe loving home to children who need it.
  • My health and that of my family
  • Even my crazy pets who keep us entertained
  • My Good Morning Girls Group who help me to stay in God's word each day.
  • My Friday Bible study.
  • Friends who will laugh with me and cry with me but most importantly that will pray with and for me.
My list could go on and on as I take time to sit and think. Any way I pray that as you enjoy this holiday with your family and all the food you can eat. You will remember that it is because of Christ that you can do so. Let us give All Glory, Praise and Honor to our King.

Sing Praises to Your King!