Friday, November 25, 2011

One Month to Christmas...

It's exactly one month to Christmas, folks! Wow... how exactly did that happen? How'd it come so very quickly already?!?

As I start to reflect on Christmas... this year, like many previous ones... our family is determined to have a simple Christmas. One which focuses on its true meaning... not harried, not consumed by the *hustle and bustle* of the season. But... this year, unlike the many previous ones... I sense change... because our family has been changed.... hearts broken for the things that break God's heart!

And, I have a feeling that this change will be reflected in how we celebrate Christmas this year. For starters, my kids said they didn't want anything for themselves this Christmas. Wow! I am truly One. Proud. Mama! Instead, they asked their aunts {my sisters} to contribute towards this:

{Please pause the Playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch the video.}

Can we do it? Can we successfully fight *that middle ground* which is always pulling us to just go with the flow and do what everyone does... after all, it's just *normal*... right?

Today, my thoughts go back to this quote by Ann Voskamp...
The world, your community... even your family — they are going to try to push you back to the middle. North America feels pretty comfortable in the middle. Balance, everyone says. I don’t know what Jesus is going to say to you... How He might direct your life now… just don’t assume He wants you to live in the middle. Be open to the possibility… Of something radically different.
In light of these thoughts... today, I'm making a list... a radically different list, and checking it twice! ;-)

First off... our family will be giving gifts that will keep on giving. Here are some of the places we will be shopping at:

{Please click on the images to visit the websites.}

We're also involving our family in a few activities which address social needs both locally and globally through Christian organizations whose mission/vision is to provide help and give hope to those who are marginalized.

To name a few of those activities...
:: Packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, of course!
:: Packing hygiene kits for homeless youth, via Yonge Street Mission.
:: Making and serving dinner to the homeless, with Out of the Cold.
:: A toy drive for UrbanPromise Toronto's Camp Freedom, and
:: Volunteering at their Christmas Party.

My thoughts have been filled with the truth from Isaiah 58 lately... especially after just seeing Scott Todd's interview on 100 Huntley Street this week. It really is a recipe of how we, as Christ-followers, should live!

Let me close with words writen by Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts {Chapter 10, Empty to Fill, pages 196-197}... about the words written by the prophet Isaiah:
Feed the hungry,
    and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
    and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The LORD will guide you continually,
    giving you water when you are dry
    and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like an ever-flowing spring. (Isaiah 58:10-11)
It's the fundamental, lavish, radical nature of the upside-down economy of God.
Empty to fill.
While the Deceiver jockeys to dupe us into thinking otherwise, we who are made in the image of God, being formed into Christ's likeness, our happiness comes, too, not in the having but in the handing over. Give your life away in exchange for many lives, give away your blessings to multiply blessings, give away so that many might increase, and do it all for the love of God. I can bless, pour out, be broken and given in our home and the larger world and never fear that there won't be enough to give.
Spend the whole of your one wild and beautiful life investing in many lives, and God simply will not be outdone. God extravagantly pays back everything we give away and exactly in the currency that is not of this world but the one we yearn for: Joy in Him.
Come join us!
Let's do Christmas radically!!!

I have a feeling that this year... when our family sings "Joy to the World, the Lord is come!" it will be packed with a lot more meaning... all because of the "wonders of His love" becoming even more real to us this year. Grace, pure grace!

It's a Merry Christmas... all because LOVE came down, LOVE was born!

Unwrapping more of His love in this world.
Act justly.  Love mercy.  Walk humbly with God!


  1. wow... you are right. My heart is so pulled. I have seen you quote that snippet from Ann .. another time and it spoke to me then.. and now again.

    I am not good at putting my thoughts down...

    this new way... so many do not understand...

    thank you for your words.

    much love,

  2. Teena... thanks for your comment. Yes, this new way... this radically different way, many will not understand. It's not an easy road to travel, but it's a fulfilling one.

    As it says in God's word... narrow is the road... and few will find it.

    Blessings to you, friend! I am thankful that we can be on encouragement to each other.