SLOW DOWN …

Gratitude Day 390

Mon., Jan. 20, 2019

Psalm 107:1: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

It should not be a hard transition … but it has been.

This new decade, 2020, has started slowly for me. Shortly after the beginning of the year, Hubby Rick and I went on vacation. It was a gift to be away for over a week and spend time with family.

But I’ll be honest. Transitioning back to real life since getting back as been, well, not as easy as I thought it would be.

The first few days were jam-packed full. We’ve had a distraction in our lives and my heart has needed time to process this. And the words just have not come as easily as I would like. Words for this very blog. Words to describe how I feel. Words about what and where I should focus this next stage of my life.

Sometimes, I just have not been very efficient with my time. Normally, I’m planning and mapping out and thinking and doing. But quite honestly, I just have not felt like doing this.

It’s so unlike me.

Maybe, just maybe, what I need to do is give myself a bit of grace.

A bit of space.

Permission to explore and be OK with this.

In my Bible, I often keep little things that have struck a chord with me. This is where the following prayer has been kept for years. I don’t know who wrote it … I didn’t. But I wish that my heart, and your heart, can hear these words today:

Slow us down, Lord.

Ease the pounding of our hearts.

By the quiet of our minds.

Steady our hurried pace

With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give us amidst the confusion of our day

The Calm of the Everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of our nerves and muscles

With eh soothing music of the singing streams.

Teach us the art of taking minute vacations

Of slowing down to look at a flower …

  To chat with a friend … or pat a dog

  … to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind us each day of the fable of the hare and the tortoise,

That we may know that the race is not always to the swift;

That there is more to life than increasing its speed.

Allow us to look upward into the branches of the towering oak

And know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well.

Slow us down, dear God,

And inspire us to send our roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values,

That we may grow toward the starts of our greater destiny.

Amen.

If you need to hear these words today, I pray you find peace in them.

For permission to slow down, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – thanks for the words of this prayer and the person who wrote them. May I embody them today. Amen.

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Are You Listening?

Gratitude Day 389

Sat., Jan. 18, 2019

Matthew 13:9: Are you listening to this? Really listening?

This is how I closed my last e-mail: See you in a week or so.

So, hmmm … how did a week stretch into two weeks?

It just did.

I could tell you all the excuses I can find that are for real. Like, how it took us one-and-a-half days to get home because of bad weather in Chicago. Bad weather = an unexpected flight to Key West AND an overnight in Dallas. Or how about an hour after we finally got home, we held our last Christmas celebration. For real. In very Martha-like fashion, I pulled together a meal with a help from the local deli. Two long travel days ended with windshield time taking grandkids home and visiting family. Thank goodness Hubby Rick took last Sunday night off!

Yes, a week off means more time at work the following week. And unexpected distractions that well, took more of me than I care to admit. It was Wednesday before I finished up the vacation laundry. Seriously. I walked around laundry baskets for days before the last clean piece of clothing was finally put away.

In the midst of this, I made one little change that has made a difference in my spiritual life. As 2019 closed out, I shared a 2020 Bible Reading Plan which takes you through the entire New Testament in 2020. I tried to make it realistic by only including scripture passages for five days a week. A chapter a day for five days per week, and YOU can read the entire New Testament! (Plus a few bonus passages.)

Determined to follow my own plan, I packed the smallest Bible I have for vacation. Trying to take less baggage, you know. When I got home, I decided that I wanted to use a different translation than I normally do. For years, I have used the NIV translation in my personal devotions. Wanting to switch it up, I pulled out my copy of The Message written by Eugene Peterson. The Message is the Bible in contemporary language. It’s not so much a literal translation of the Greek (New Testament) or Hebrew (Old Testament). Rather, it’s a personal message written in words we can all relate to.

One of the first days, I used The Message, I ran across this in Matthew 13:

(Jesus says,) “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”

Yikes. I stopped dead in my tracks.

Matthew 13 includes a well-known parable in which Jesus tells about harvesting seed. Some seed falls on the road, which doesn’t take root. Some seed falls on the road, which is a metaphor for a person who hears God’s word and responds enthusiastically. But when the emotion wears off or something difficult happens, well, faith dies. Some seed gets enveloped by weeds. This person lets worry and wanting more strangle what is heard. Once again, faith falls to the wayside.

Finally, Jesus tells how some seed falls on the good earth and produces a huge harvest. This person takes the News they have heard and shares it with others.

Are you listening to this? Really listening?

Of course, we always see ourselves as the seed that falls on the good earth with a hearty harvest. It’s someone else whose faith doesn’t take root or turns away when something difficult happens in their life. Even if there are weeds in our life, well, we can name a lot of other people who have way bigger weeds than we do.

We focus on the seed. But …

Are you listening to this? Really listening?

I think of the Verizon guy who spent a couple years traveling around the U.S. asking people if they could hear him now. Today, the Verizon guy is no longer the Verizon guy. He’s the spokesperson for another cell phone company. I’m not sure why he jumped ship. My guess is some other company got his attention and he listened to them more than he listened to Verizon.

Who do YOU listen to?

If I was truly honest, I would admit that there are way too many other things in my life that I listen to … before I listen to God. Sure, every once in a while, I stop and listen. But too often, the clamoring noise of “the urgent” occupies me. Or the distractions that lure we away from what I know should be my focus wins out.

Today, I am committing this day to listening to God. Will my life be dramatically different at the end of the day? I have no clue. Will God speak to me in a profound way? Not so sure. What I do know is this:

I have spent way too much of my life listening to all the other voices in my life and ignoring the voice of God.

It’s time to take back listening. Listening to God. Whether I receive a profound message or even some little small message from God today, it’s time for me to use my two ears more than my one mouth. It’s time to really listen to God.

For new reminders out of a different translation of the Bible, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – I’m a little ashamed at how seldom I truly listen for You in my life. Forgive me for letting all the other noises drown you out way too often. Speak to me today. Quietly or loudly. In a still, small way or with a demanding voice. I pray I hear You in my life today. Amen.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

Gratitude Day 388

Sat., Jan. 4, 2019

Hebrews 4:9: So, you see that a sabbath rest is left open for God’s people.

There will be a time today that Hubby Rick and I will be leaving on a jet plane.

Yep, we’re getting out of the Wisconsin winter and going someplace WARM!

And we are excited! We’re going with family and cousins and will be enjoying sun and water and all things that make a vacation great.

I already know it will be fabulous!

Truth? A little secret?

I almost feel like it’s a little extravagant that we get to go on such a nice vacation. It’s not like completely over-the-top. But it will be nice. Fun. Warm. I can almost feel the warm of the sun on my face … and we are still in the cold!

Honestly, there’s a bit of me that feels guilty. Not everyone gets to take a vacation this winter. Some will trudge through the snow and cold ALL. WINTER. LONG. While here we are, jetting off somewhere south.

Should I feel guilty that we get to go on vacation? It’s a mixed bag for me. It certainly makes the winter feel less oppressive when we get to spend some time where it’s warmer.

Do I wonder whether it’s a good utilization of our resources? No … and yes. Rick loathes winter and a week away always puts him in a better mood for the rest of the winter. Yet, I also know it makes the rest of winter more bearable for both of us.

I also know this will be a great opportunity to spend time with family and cousins. Growing up, my family didn’t spend much time with our cousins. It just didn’t work out. As adults, I think it’s so cool that we CHOOSE to do things together. And I think we are all the richer for it.

So, I’m thinking of this time away as Sabbath. Time to recharge. Refuel. Refocus. Rethink. Relax. Reconnect.

I am a huge promoter of Sabbath. For me, Sabbath isn’t just a day of the week when we worship God. It’s time when we slow down our normal schedule and be. It’s Mary time. Yes, it will be filled with fun activities and good food and great laughs. But it’s also an opportunity to listen. Be. Get filled.

Whether you are able to get away for several days this winter or not, YOU can create Sabbath in your life. Spend an afternoon doing something that fills your tank. Create moments each day to read or meditate or be. Take an activity you love to do and turn it into time you spend with God.

We all are a little better after Sabbath. We all need time to decompress. We all need a fresh look at life.

See you in a week or so.

For the opportunity for Sabbath this next week, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – thank you for the example of Sabbath. Even You carved out space to be and recharge. I pray we discover ways to do this in our own lives. Amen.

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January's Word = KINDNESS

Fri., Jan. 3, 2019

Zechariah 7:9: The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: Make just and faithful decisions; show kindness and compassion to each other!

My mission during the month of January is very simple: SHOW KINDNESS.

Sorry if it feels like I’m yelling at you. But please. Can we all just be a bit more kind to each other?

I’m tired. I’m tired of people nit-picking and thinking only of themselves. I’m tired of the world looking only through the lenses of ME, ME and some more ME!

Can we stop wanting to make sure that WE get something first and please, just please, think of someone else BEFORE we think of ourselves?

The hurtful things often said make my heart sad. The way we react before thinking how our words and/or actions will affect someone else disappoints me. Why is it when we are hurting, we want to make sure someone else gets hurt as well?

Can this all please just stop?

Full disclosure. I know that I have hurt people. I have said things that should not have been said. My actions have not always been kind.

This is why the word I’m focusing on every day in January is very simple.

KINDNESS.

Can we please be kind first? Then, we don’t have to make apologies for what we say and do.

Can we please be kind first? And see how much good we can spread around!

Can we please be kind first? And be AMAZED at how easy it is?

What would happen if we poured love into the people around us, as well as the communities in which we live … even when we don’t feel like it?

What would happen if we INTENTIONALLY chose to be agents of kindness every single day?

What would happen if we chose kindness before criticism? Grace before judgement? Love before hate?

I don’t think we ever outgrow the need for kindness. We don’t ever stop needing kindness ourselves. Therefore, wouldn’t everyone else love a little kindness as well!

Will you partner with me? Find one teeny, tiny way to express kindness to someone everyone day throughout the month of January?

Hold the door open for someone.

Smile at someone who seems grumpy and upset. Try to make them smile!

Listen before you speak.

Take in the neighbor’s mail. Shovel their sidewalk. Sit and chat with them for 30 minutes.

Pick up the phone and call that person you have been meaning to call … and haven’t.

Pay for the treat the person in front of you is purchasing … just because.

Turn off your phone and be present.

Just be kind.

Just love them.

Kindness breeds kindness. Happiness breeds happiness. When you extend some smallest little form of kindness, this person is more likely to be kind as well. Instead of fretting about someone’s imperfections, be kind to them. You aren’t perfect either. Grant them grace. Behavior is often mimicked, whether we see it or not.

Avoid letting someone else steal your kindness. No matter what, stay kind. Yes, you may name how someone is trying to hijack your kindness. Then, gently move on. Let’s be kindness givers … not takers.

Be aware of how you treat other people. Kids, grandkids and others hear how we talk to each other. How do you respond to the people you love the most when we first see them? Are you excited and happy? Or do you ignore them? Being kind is simply an extension of how much we value someone.

When there is a disagreement or anxiety or a rift, what words do we use? We can still be kind even as we express our opinion.

Kindness is not just a special event treat. It should be part of our daily arsenal that gets used over and over and over. How we choose to use kindness in our every day life speaks loudly about how we view kindness.

Train yourself to be kind. Find ways to be kind in your speech, conduct, love, faith and purity.

I would love to hear your examples and stories of kindness: ways you discovered how to express kindness. Or examples of how kindness was extended to you.

If we want there to be an alternative to the rhetoric we so often hear, see and witness, it is up to US to set a new standard. Create a new barometer. Become the kindness police.

For the opportunity to be kind every single day, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Dear God – It’s really very clear in Your word: show kindness. Rather than expecting someone else to model kindness to us, may WE choose to exemplify kindness in every possible situation that we can through this next month. Amen.

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Jesus' Role in Your Life

Gratitude Day 385

Thurs., Jan. 2, 2019

John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Understanding YOUR role is pretty important.

As an employee, a spouse, a parent, a volunteer, a grandparent, a caretaker … each of these roles has different responsibilities.

Right?

Right.

Sometimes, how we view our role … and how someone else views our role may not be the same.

One of the joys in my life is getting to help regularly with three of our grandchildren. Sometimes, their Dad, Hubby Rick’s son Darran, will not be home from work when the kids get off the bus. My role is to be there when the kids get home, see if they have homework that needs to be done, and take care of anything they might need some help with. Usually, I make sure they are fed, or supper is ready when Dad gets home from work.

I view my role with the kids as part of my responsibilities of being a grandparent. Often, grandparents step in when parents aren’t able to be available for their kids. They fill in the gaps or pick up the slack. We take grandkids to practices, attend their games, plan a special activity, make cupcakes, take them on adventures, make sure they have a special outfit for the Christmas program and bless them with treats.

At least this is how I view my role as a grandparent. This is what my grandparents did with me. It’s what I want to do with our grandchildren.

A few weeks ago, when I was with the kids, 8-year-old Dylan wanted me to agree with something. I nixed the idea as I felt this was something he should not be doing. He came back with, “Dad would let me do it.”

I replied, “Dad’s not here, so we’re not going to do this.”

Dylan quickly replied, “But your Dad’s assistant.”

Hmm … my role was now defined as an assistant. Based on my experience, assistant’s can have a whole bunch of roles. Often, they take care of details for someone else, which in reality, I often do. Yet, I also hope my role as a grandparent means something as well.

Fast forward a week or two. Again, Dylan and I were discussing something. This time, his reply went like this, “You’re just Dad’s babysitter.”

This immediately received a reaction from the other two siblings. Older brother Waylan quickly said, “She’s more than our babysitter.”

I get it. Sometimes, roles can be confusing. Challenging. Unclear. Thank you, Waylan, for understanding that I want to be more than an assistant or a babysitter. I want to be their grandparent.

We’re in the midst of the Christmas season which runs for 12 days after Christmas Day. On the eighth day after his birth, Mary and Joseph presented Jesus at the synagogue for official naming. They follow the instructions given to them in advance and name him Jesus.

While his official name is Jesus, his role is often reflected in a variety of names: Messiah, Savior, Christ, Wonderful, Counselor, the Word, Redeemer and others. Each of these names reflects a slightly different nuance of Jesus’ role and purpose on earth. Sometimes, we get hung up on how one man, Jesus, can have all these roles and purposes. We get confused on Who Jesus was and What his purpose was.

Just like Dylan and my role.

Take a minute. What roles does Jesus have for you? In your life, how do you see Jesus making a difference? Who do you want Jesus to be for you in this year? This decade? Today? Tomorrow?

Write those words, those roles on a sticky note. Place this note someplace were you will see it EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. May it become a reminder of Whose you are and Who you long for Jesus to be in your life.

On those days when you struggle with who Jesus is? Take Waylan’s advice. God is more than your babysitter.

For discovering Jesus’ role and purpose in my life, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

Holy God – sometimes, we aren’t clear of Your role in our lives. We want to assume roles for ourselves beyond our capacity. Help us pick words that reflect how we want to view you for this next year. Amen.

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A Prayer for 2020

Wed., Jan. 1, 2019

Jeremiah 29:11: I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.

Happy 2020!

As we begin a new year, it’s a time to pause. Reflect. Ponder. Think.

And the best way to begin a New Year?

Simple. Prayer.

John Wesley began a movement over 200 years ago. Eventually, it became known as the Methodist movement, which are the roots of the United Methodist Church. Wesley believed in the covenant of prayer: the connection between God and a person. The opportunity to humans to connect with God in a deep and personal way.

Exactly what I believe as well.

He used a prayer at the end of the year to inspire him for the upcoming year. Today, I encourage us to pray this prayer at the beginning of a new year as an opportunity to begin things in a spiritually connected way. Please, let’s pray Wesley’s Covenant Prayer together:

I am no longer my own, but thine.

Put me to what thou wilt,

Rank me with whom thou wilt.

Put me to doing, put me to suffering.

Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,

Exalted for thee or brought low by thee.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and heartily yield all things

To thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, I glorious and blessed God,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Thou art min and I am thine. So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

Let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.

Maybe not a bad prayer to use at the beginning of EVERY day in 2020?

For the opportunity to covenant with God today, I am grateful.

Blessings –

Dianne

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2020 Bible Reading Plan

Gratitude Day 383

Tues., Dec. 31, 2019

Psalm 119:105: Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.

Often, not having a plan is a plan to fail.

While we can have great intentions and grandiose ideas, unless we plan for achieving a goal, well, most often, it just remains a dream. A cool idea. Something we hope someday will become a priority.

At the beginning of 2018, I planned to read through all four gospels of the New Testament. My plan was very simple: read through a chapter a day until I finished all four gospels.

By last spring, I had accomplished the plan. While I didn’t have a target date by which to finish this, I kept plugging along until I had read all four accounts of Jesus’ life. I missed some days … but gave myself grace.

It was a wonderful experience.

So often in the last number of years, I read scripture because I was preparing a message. Or teaching a class. Or researching something. This time, I committed to read these four different stories about Jesus life purely for my benefit and enjoyment.

And I rediscovered things I had forgotten or quite honestly, didn’t observe in previous readings. A picture of who Jesus was, why he came to earth and his purpose in doing so became clear once again.

I enjoyed this experience so much; I plan to do it again in 2020. With a twist. This year, I want to plan to read through the entire New Testament. So, I put together a plan for myself.

Then, I realized: maybe, just maybe, someone else might like this plan. So, I’m making my 2020 Bible Reading Plan available for anyone who might want to read through the New Testament as well.

I also want to keep this plan realistic and doable. That’s why I incorporated these guidelines:

  • There are five readings a week, on Mondays through Fridays. No readings for Saturday and Sunday! This gives me an opportunity to make sure I am always caught up by Monday morning.
  • I LOVE to read through John’s Gospel during Lent. So, I planned it this way. I also like to keep Luke and Acts together because they were written by the same author. The problem child is Revelation. It’s at the end of the year, during Advent, which I am not sure I am thrilled about. But when is it best to read Revelation?
  • Using this lay-out, there were a few extra days than chapters of the New Testament. I purposely found Old Testament passages that fit into the church calendar at specific times of the year to fill out the calendar.
  • My experience is that I can read through a chapter of scripture in less than 10 minutes. PLEASE DON’T SPEED READ. Take your time. Savor each chapter. I like to have a journal where I write down things that caught my attention. Maybe a verse that especially is meaningful to me that day.

Honestly, I feel reading scripture is one way that my faith has grown significantly. As I read God’s word to God’s people, I discover more about who God is for me. Are there parts of the New Testament that are confusing and possibly contradict each other? Yes, if you see it this way. Another way to think about scripture is these are God-inspired words written at a very different time. They can speak to us today as well if we allow them to.

It is my plan to read through the New Testament in 2020. Here’s my plan so I will not fail. Please join me on this journey and together, let’s see what God is saying to us this next year. I invite you to share this plan with others. Together, let’s do this! Here is a downloadable PDF of my 2020 Bible Reading Plan:

For the opportunity to discover more about God and my relationship with God in 2020, I am grateful.

Holy God – I am so looking forward to letting the words of scripture light my path and life in 2020. Together, may we discover a deeper relationship with each other, inspired by words that help me know you more. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Reaching Maximum Capacity

Gratitude Day 382

Mon., Dec. 30, 2019

Proverbs 30:1: The words of Agur, Jakeh’s son, from Massa. The man declares: I’m tired, God; I’m tired, God, and I’m exhausted.

I had reached my maximum capacity.

While my brain wanted to think differently, my body knew better.

Last week, Hubby Rick and I came down with awful yucky colds/flu/bugs that hung around for several days. I started to feel yucky on Christmas Eve. But I wasn’t going to slow down for Christmas Eve worship (my favorite!), hosting family at our house, spending time with friends and helping with our grandchildren.

Nope. Planned events would go on.

When I got home Thursday night after a long day, I was ready for bed. For the next oh, 48+ hours, I spent most of them in bed.

On Saturday morning when I wasn’t up by mid-morning, Hubby Rick came checking on me. He has NEVER seen me spend this much time in bed; even post-surgery.

It just seemed like my body could not move. It just wanted to stay wrapped up in warm blankets and do nothing. Or almost nothing.

The whole situation is a little ironic. Just weeks earlier, I launched my first book, The Mary Experiment: When Doing and Being Collide. In the book, I share how I have tried to slow down my Martha tendencies and build more Mary-ness into my life.

Quite honestly, the last many weeks had been full-on Martha will barely any Mary-time. More than once, I felt a little hypocritical. I’ve let people into my life and tried to convince others and myself that I had changed. But had I really changed?

Not as much as I would like others to think.

And then, my body got a bug that didn’t go away. For days. Soon, I discovered that all I wanted, no, needed, was some Mary time.

I had reached my maximum capacity. And if the only way I would slow down was to physically become ill, then, this is what my body would do.

Ms. Martha-pants would be required to slow down. Let her body recharge, regroup and replenish. Whether I liked it or not, my body was saying, “I’m tired. I’m exhausted.”

Thankfully, I did not have much planned those days. As much as I was looking forward to a couple quiet days when I could do some planning and catching up, there was a different plan. And I needed to discover and follow Plan B.

Folks – we each have a maximum capacity that is unique to us. Your maximum capacity is different than mine. And when you reach your maximum capacity, how your body responds and forces you to slow down may be different than how my body responds. Often, I get sick. Congested. Run down. Tired. Exhausted. My chest is filled with junk. My body aches all over.  And there is only one prescription that really heals me: rest.

So, when I don’t respect or honor my maximum capacity, Plan B gets rolled out. I can will myself to keep going. Often, I do. But there comes a point when it’s best to stop. Surrender. See the larger picture. Rest.

These days between Christmas and New Year’s are often get days to SLOW DOWN. Rest. Enjoy. Savor. Get filled with the right things. Before you reach your maximum capacity and something happens that causes YOU to shut down, I encourage you to make sure YOU don’t reach your maximum capacity.

Instead, fill yourself with the best things that inspire you and give YOU joy.

For days to lower my maximum capacity into a more manageable range, I am grateful.

O God – too often, we think we know best … when really, we don’t. Help us respect and honor our maximum capacities. Encourage us to stop flirting with overload in our lives and slow down and savor the things that fill us. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Telling Stories

Gratitude Day 381

Tues., Dec. 24, 2019

Luke 2:6: While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.

I love to tell stories.

This is one of the main reasons I blog: so, I can tell stories.

Often, the stories are about what is going on in our little Vielhuber world. Something that’s happened to me, Hubby Rick, our grandchildren. Someone we’ve encountered. Or something that has happened to someone that we know and love.

The stories maybe funny, sad, touch your heart or maybe, even make you think. I tell the stories from my perspective and often wonder if others who have experienced the story would agree with my observations or not. But then I remember: this is my story and my perspective.

Likewise, your stories are told from your perspective.

One challenge with stories?

People don’t remember them the same way.

Hubby Rick and I can recall the same event. Often, our details are slightly different. Of course, we think our version and details are right. And sometimes, we just have to agree to disagree.

Christmas is based upon a story. The story of the birth of a baby named Jesus Christ. We are told he was God’s son and born to a teenaged girl named Mary. This is the most retold story of all time. Think of all the children’s Christmas programs. The musicals and plays and movies and dramas that have been created to tell this story over and over. And the details? Well, they aren’t all the same.

Sometimes, we take liberties with this story. We envision how we think the story might have played out. Or we create details that make the story more interesting. It’s hard to relate to a culture from 2,000 years ago, so we adapt the story to accommodate today’s culture and perspective. Is it wrong to do this? Depends on who you ask!

Tonight, we remember and celebrate the birth of a baby. A baby named Jesus who came into this world to change the world forever; which he did. No matter how you see or read or experience the story being told, it’s the basic story that is most important.

And however, you celebrate and remember this story, I pray we let this story make a difference in our lives. Not just for one night or one day. But every day.

This story is the story that has changed history for all time. I pray it’s a story that changes how you view this world, your life, our call and your purpose.

Have a most blessed Christmas, my friends. And thank you for reading along with the stories that I tell here in Simple Words of Faith. I value and love every single person who reads along. I only pray that sometimes my stories encourage you and your story.

Now, one more way to tell the story:

https://www.dvidshub.net/video/embed/311061?fbclid=IwAR2K5TNNgYSfSG1Ie6nD15jRs_4X5oNrQRDRkboHF8xTrK-Fy3K-mDMYgyI

For stories that change us and make us truer to our calling as Christians, I am grateful.

O Holy Night – I pray we celebrate the story that changed the world tonight. Speak to us once again, Most Holy God. Thank you for creating a story that is so special we keep telling it over and over and over. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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Making Room

Gratitude Day 380

Mon., Dec. 23, 2019

Luke 2:7: She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

Oh, how I wished that I would have come up with this statement.

But I didn’t.

I don’t know who did.

I’m just going to “borrow” it from you today.

On Sunday, I tried to get things ready for Christmas. Baked cookies, shopped for groceries, cleaned the house, packaged up cookies to give to co-workers, visited the neighbor. You get the picture. My dream was to have everything ready for Christmas before I went to bed.

There are still some presents to wrap. A few cookies to finish decorating. A few other things.

My goal wasn’t quite met.

Here’s the deal. Am I going to be SO BUSY preparing everything … that I miss the baby’s arrival? Like the innkeeper, will I choose to keep myself occupied with things of the world rather than reflecting again on whose birthday we celebrate?

If you think about all the things we do at Christmas, many seem rather silly. Cut down a tree and put it in your house? Overspend on presents? Increase your sugar intake significantly over the course of one or two weeks of the year?

Here’s the deal. So many of the things we do at Christmas draw us back to the Christ child.

Present? Reminders of the magi who eventually visited Jesus.

Tree with lights? The baby is the Light of the World.

Sugar intake? The sweetness of knowing a God who loves us unconditionally.

I could go on. Hopefully, you get the point. We all pick what we make room for today. Tomorrow. Christmas Day. Every day. Like the innkeeper, do we sometimes make some poor choices? You bet. I make poor choices every day.

But once in a while, I want to get it right. I want to look at the tree and see Light in the world. I want to attend Christmas Eve worship with a heart ready to greet the Savior of the World. I want to celebrate a special day with family and friends because it’s a birthday worth remember 2,000 years later.

Will you make room this Christmas? What will you make room for this Christmas?

For inspiration from an innkeeper, I am grateful.

Holy God – As we approach a big birthday, I pray we make room for the things You long for us to move to the top of the list. May these be the most important things we celebrate this week. Amen.  

Blessings –

Dianne

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