1It seems like my life has been filled with messages about gifts recently. In August and September multiple family members have birthdays. Then, in September I started a Bible study of the book of Romans where we have been reminded every week of the manifold gifts that God gives to us. Suddenly it was time to begin preparing for Christmas, and once again, gifts are in the forefront.

True confessions, Christmas has never been my favorite holiday. Of course, I loved getting things as children, but still, I liked Easter and Thanksgiving more, and still do. Working in retail for many years did not help me enjoy the Christmas season. I envy people (or I would if envy were not a sin) who love the season, and have beautifully decorated homes, 2and gorgeous trees with brightly wrapped packages while I struggle to find those personal gifts and get them in the mail in time.

How could I not be overjoyed that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to live and die for us, giving us the gift of faith through grace, saving us from our sins and giving us entrance into the Kingdom of God? This amazing gift far outshines any gift we could make or buy here on earth. It makes me wonder, what birthday gift could I possibly give Jesus to celebrate His birth as a human, forever joining us to Himself and reconciling us to the Trinity?

There is only one: worship from my heart, accented with constant praise and thanksgiving, demonstrated in absolute trust and obedience.



Kindness Countdown

I have been on the hunt for several years to find the “perfect” Advent calendar that did not involve chocolate candy. Don’t we get enough sugar this time of year, do we need more? Okay, don’t answer that out loud. I have bought several toy kits in which there is a toy surprise for every day of the month. They are really cute but what do you do with all the toy pieces when the 26th arrives? You can’t play with them all year long because you may lose a few pieces, especially if you have small children or sneaky cats in the house. You just might have to put them right back in the box for next year. Those toy kits only take up more space in your garage or closet. The crafty ones also sit in some container or tote for 364 days of the year. As of now, I have no calendar.

The best ideas come to my mind when I am not thinking of a solution. The Lord has this clever way of dropping an idea in my head. It’s like finding an unexpected dollar bill in your pants’ pocket. Here is what I received today.Love your neighbor as yourself

Kindness Countdown

Advent Calendar

Mark 12:31-

“Love your neighbor as yourself”

Goal: You and any family member must perform one act of kindness each day for anyone you know or meet. Animals are included. It can be as simple as giving a hug to a friend or sharing a recipe. Teens can do an extra chore or read a book to a younger sibling. You can buy a stranger a muffin. Discuss ideas with the family.

Be creative and make it as personal as possible.

**You can challenge each other to see who can do 1 thing for all 25 days ending with Christmas or even go to 31 days. Give a prize for completion.

Colossians 3:12 alt [widescreen]How:

1. Make a blank calendar for December and decorate it. Use stickers if you can’t draw or let the kids do it. Make a tree or snowman shape.

2. Here is a website for a free printable calendar.

3. Put that calendar on your fridge or in a central location. Each day put a star or sticker and the person’s initial next to it when a deed is completed.

4. Everyone can share what they did at dinner, right before bedtime, or even at breakfast the next day. Find a time that works best for all of you. Talk in the car on the way to the grocery store if that’s all you can manage.

I want to celebrate Christmas, my favorite holiday, with more compassion and kindness. I hope this will encourage your family to discover creative ways of loving others and sharing Jesus.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year! Michelle,NC

Micah 6:8 [widescreen]