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Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

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1,500 women gathered in a chapel. Outside, snow flurries danced in the bitter wind. Inside, the warm glow of the chapel’s soaring wood ceiling. Chocolate covered pretzels, and coffee, and light. Smiling faces, and candle-lit carols, and friends. And the speaker had so much to say–so many good things to inspire and help us on. But there was one thing that struck me–sat like a burning weight in the deepest part of me. She spoke of the Armor of God, and of the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17). THIS is how we do battle with all that threatens to undo us. THIS is the weapon we must take into our hands when darkness starts to close in. The Sword of the Spirit–the Word, which is Light, and Love, and Truth. I took up the challenge this morning, and this is the passage to which I was drawn–

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

This is the picture I’m holding with me as I go through the day–the picture of my Father, who is Ruler of the Universe, yet who has stooped to hold onto my hand.

HOPE

Avonlea xo

happylittlesigh.com
Finding beauty in the everyday ❤

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In honour of my former home,

and on this Monday after the first Advent Sunday,

I bring you a little taste of a Scottish Christmas past . . .

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Heap on more wood!–the wind is chill;

But let it whistle as it will,

We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.

~ Sir Walter Scott

 

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This was the Sunday to light the Advent candle of HOPE.

Hope because of that child.

The One the world heard about,

the One promised,

long, long before He was born.

Wonderful,

Counselor,

The Mighty God,

The Everlasting Father,

The Prince of Peace.

Unto US

He was given!

He was given

unto US!

Hope.

Hope for everyone.

Everyone

who drops whatever else they’re holding onto

to take this gift.

Isaiah 7:14, 9:6-7

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It’s not too late to re-focus your Christmas

for yourself

for your family.

Not too late

to bring others

reason to HOPE . . .

 

Avonlea xo

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Join me on Facebook & Instagram @avonleaqkrueger

See you there?

happylittlesigh.com

Finding beauty in the every day ❤ 

 

 

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 I sit and hold him,

cradled warm and snug against my chest.

Trace with my eyes the curve of his ear.

Run my finger along the plump softness of his cheek.

My son. My baby. My last.

A smile tugs at his lips.

“He’s dreaming of angels,” they say here in Scotland,

of fluttery newborn smiles.

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In the background the voices of the boys choir of Kings College Cambridge

pour out The Holly and the Ivy,

one of my favourites, though I never knew it till I came here.

And I thought I’d have girls. Lots of them, born in the summer.

And yet this is the third Christmas I’ve sat with a newborn, a son,

(the Professor came in the spring)

wondering at this new life given to my care,

as I also wonder about the other baby,

whose birth we celebrate this time of year.

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What brings more wonder than a baby,

a new life?

Nothing.

Nothing at all, I would say,

except the life of that baby,

the one born in a stable,

who lived not only his life,

but because of his God and man-ness

is able to know intimately the minute details of the lives of each one of us.

A baby. A man. But also God.

A God who sees.

A God who knows.

A God who cares.

Cares enough to live among his creation,

and here face death

to give each of us the chance

to live again.

Imagine!

A new world, a new life,

through him.

Imagine.

Your life,

mine,

made new through him.

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I’ll have plenty of time to drink it all in tomorrow.

The carols, the mince pies, the sweetness of my newborn’s breath,

and the wonder of the birth of my Saviour.

But you’ve been kept waiting,

and so let me introduce him to you,

my newest wee manie.

We’ve called him Charles.

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Wishing a merry,

the VERY merriest,

of Christmases to you.

And enjoy this gift of music from The Piano Guys.

If you haven’t ever heard them then you really, truly must.

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The darkest day.

I always remember.

The least sunshine. The least light.

Winter solstice.

December 21st.

And after this, I’m counting minutes–approximately two each day–until the hours stretch to bring the golden light of the summer sun. But for now, when I feel more than a little sorry for those Narnians and their ever winter never Christmas. When even the icicles hanging outside the kitchen window, and the layer of ice coating everything else, when even they can’t shine, my brain can feel as cloudy as this murky winter light.

Because it’s been a year since I slept right through the night. An entire year of being just a bit too tired. The Admiral is a happy baby, but teething didn’t suit him well, and his habits are bad. Waking every few hours. A snack and cuddle, and if I’m lucky, a sleepy smile for my troubles. And so mornings start later than I’d like.  A little voice, a little cry, The General’s black olive eyes blinking into mine from the side of my bed, and the day begins.

Still, sometimes I see it–the beauty of eternity that begins today. These little souls, my little men, and the treasure that they are.

Other days I hit the floor running,

some crazy dance from room to room,

glancing occasionally at the clock,

and imaging the utter shock

my friends would feel if they ever stopped

and saw the state of this house.

On those days I find myself, at least once,

pausing,

the whirlwind of Cheerios and bibs and Lego and foam swords  and three little men swirling all around me, a now cold cup of tea in my hand,

wondering,

what oh, what is going on?

There must be something, something I’m missing,

or it wouldn’t be

like this.

But what?

A little sleep, to be sure.

An intentional effort to count blessings

and sing praise

and speak truth.

Yes.

All that.

All that, and just a little more time

with Jesus.

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Because though I have 2 million distractions, though the crumbs, and the laundry, and the children cry out to my clouded, foggy, weary brain, though the weather is bleak, and though I carry sorrows and disappointments in the deepest chambers of my heart,

none of it

none of it

should be an excuse.

An excuse to raise my voice or declare my dissatisfaction or remain in a dark, murky mood.

Because eternity begins today.

Our eternity began the day we were born.

And for those of us who love Jesus

that means counting those blessings,

speaking those truths,

and no matter how we’re feeling,

choosing to live like Christ.

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The new year is coming.

Isn’t that a shock?

And what sort of year, I wonder, is it going to be?

I have my hopes and have my dreams,

but I realize that what I need

more than anything

is to spend more time with The Word.

With Jesus.

Pouring over His commands,

reading and re-reading his life

until His words and His ways and His will,

which are all Him,

become more of who I am, too.

For there is no better to know what we’re missing.

There is no better way to bring into the darkness of our lives and minds

His perfect light

than to live and love like Jesus.

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As you light this final candle for Advent, remember not just the manger but the cross. The purpose of Christ’s arrival on our planet. The depth of His LOVE.

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For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.   ~ John3:16

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Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Happy Little Sigh is now on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Join me there?

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I’ve heard it before.

So often that my eyes glaze right over.

A stable, not a palace.

A manger, not a throne.

Yes, I know.

The King of the Universe.

Our God.

Here, on earth, in a human body.

A small one.

A cuddly bundle,

all silky skin and baby breath.

With his big brown eyes

and his wee legs kicking.

A little baldy.

Or maybe an absolute

mop of curls.

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But reading the words,

writing them down,

my mind still can’t grasp it all.

Because there’s a door, and though the Light shines through all around it, 

it’s black, and it’s shut, and I can’t seem to turn the handle to see what’s inside.

And you wouldn’t think that anything could blind it,

make those beams seem a little less bright.

But somehow, the twinkly lights and inflatable Santas,

somehow, they all just DO.

Because after all, the whole world’s singing it. Belting it out like it’s no big deal.

Silent nights and angels singing.

Little towns and receiving our King.

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And so of course, of course, it’s hard to awe.

It’s hard to grasp.

But what I can see, with those golden beams shining,

when I cup my eyes to shut out the rest,

is the wonder, absolute wonder

that God would care

at all.

That He’s in love,

so in love,

with us, with the world,

that no matter what we say

or do,

no matter how hard and fast we’re running

in the opposite direction,

He’s there.

Eyes waiting to catch ours,

hand outstretched.

That He doesn’t just sit there

high on His throne,

calling, whispering

into the moments of our lives,

but He came down to join us mortals.

So close He could cook us breakfast

(like maybe toasted fish on the beach?),

so close He could kneel down in the dust

to wash the sheep dung from our feet.

He went to those lengths

because for some strange reason

He loves us that much.

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Now that is something to wonder over.

Something to feel happy about.

That is a God we can worship.

A God who deserves our very selves,

who deserves our hearts.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him:  give my heart.

~ Christina Rossetti

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRobryliBLQ

Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.
~G.K. Chesterton

There’s still time to give to those who really need it this Christmas. Consider partnering with a local charity to deliver a Christmas dinner to a family in need.

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You might also be inspired by “A Narnia Christmas” https://happylittlesigh.com/2012/12/21/a-narnia-christmas/

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We arrived late morning, just in time to see the tail end of the die-hard Black Friday shoppers toss another piece of plastic in their over-laden carts before struggling to maneuver them to the check-out.

I couldn’t help but wonder,

did they even like that stuff?

Did they need it?

Or had they been tricked?

But I was there, too, of course.

I was there, or I wouldn’t have seen it.

I was there, and armed with the page from the paper that showed the great deal on the bathroom set I was after. Bathrobe hook, hand towel loop, toilet paper holder, plus a few more.

And wasn’t I excited to keep the hand towel off the floor, where the children always leave it, and keep the toilet paper roll out of the toilet (or so I hoped).

But of course those items were just one of many on the long, long mental list of things I’d like for the house.

And of course once we’d stopped at the mall to let the children burn off some energy at the play area, and I took a stroll past H&M, I began think about my other list. The list of things I’d like for my wardrobe.

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It’s intoxicating, you know, the mall is.

Every sense assaulted from every side.

Starbucks coffee, cinnamon rolls, perfume drifting from the department stores. The feel of silk, and faux fur, and leather. Nat King Cole crooning, and the Salvation Army bell jingling. The displays of clothes and furniture all looking so perfect, so much better than anything we have at home.

Couldn’t a person just get lost in it?

Caught up in the frenzy of buying

and trying

to fill the hole inside.

And while I went home looking forward to the giving

of the few gifts I picked up,

I also went home aching,

asking,

feeling anything but PEACE.

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Because I know, though I never quite believe it,

that I am blessed beyond measure,

and that the more I have, the more I will want.

And though I tell it to my children,

what Christmas is all about,

and though we’re finding more ways of giving,

more ways of loving this year,

I find it’s still easy

to miss the point.

To miss the heart.

To miss PEACE.

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I love the Christmas season.

Love it more each year.

Love the baking,

and the making

of sugar cookies,

paper snowflakes,

a wreath for the door.

Love candles glowing bright,

and singing Silent Night.

Love spotting a red cardinal

perched on a branch of lacy snow.

Or holly berries, and their leaves of thorns.

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But what I needed on that day,

and what I need on this,

and what I desperately want my children to see,

is that the point of Christmas,

the heart of it all,

is found in His heart.

In the heart of Jesus,

and His love for us.

In His love we can let go of all the trappings,

all our unwritten lists,

all that haunts us in the wee hours of the night,

and we can simply rest.

Cling to Him, and be at peace.

“For He Himself is our peace.”

~Ephesians 2:14

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As you light your second Advent candle this Sunday, remember the PEACE we have through Jesus. Hear Him whisper, “Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid.”

Avonlea xo

happylittlesigh.com

Finding beauty in the everyday ❤

“The Holly and the Ivy,” King’s College Choir, Cambridge University, England

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Find me on Facebook & Instagram @avonleaqkrueger  See you there?

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