So We Don’t Miss Him:  Advent Ideas

So We Don’t Miss Him: Advent Ideas

A Season of Anticipation

Christmas. It has always been a season I anticipated. My eyes soak in the beauty, I listen as my heart gets lost in the songs, and I delight in all the pleasing aromas. There is no other time of year that brings about such a “merry” feeling for me. Nostalgia is at its peak and I revel in all the old and new traditions I now get to share with my own family. Traditions that I hope they will remember even when they are grown; traditions that will always leave them in anticipation of the specialness that is Christmas.

Here at my house we love to bake. We sing everything from “Frosty the Snowman” to “Silent Night” and snuggle with a warm blanket while we watch all my childhood favorite Christmas TV specials. Our family loves to read Christmas books, and of course, decorate as much of the house as we possibly can. We soak up as much of this magical month of Christmas as possible. This year, as we go about enjoying all the beauty and sipping hot chocolate while singing about mistletoe and holly, I want to make sure we don’t miss it…that we don’t miss Him.

Celebrating Advent for the First Time

So, to best prepare our hearts for this season, I decided we would participate in Advent. I have never done Advent before, so trying to decide where to begin and how to move forward with planning was a little daunting. There are so many ways to participate in Advent–millions of ideas on Pinterest and gobs of calendars out there, even the ever-popular edible kind. Where to begin?

Thankfully, some very sweet friends shared their Advent family traditions and pointed me in the right direction. I didn’t want just another “fun” activity that my children might remember more than the words I read…yet I wanted something that would be special.  For our Advent activities, I wanted to do something that would lead us to embrace and fully immerse our hearts in the wonder of a God who loved a sinful and broken world enough to send it a Rescuer, a Rescuer who was born in a lowly manger and who now reigns seated at the right hand of God.

I wanted us to revel in the wonderment of this story of rescue that began in a faraway garden. And I wanted us to approach in great anticipation as we get closer and closer to the morning where we celebrate the birth of He who loved us, He who came to earth to save us, and He whose death and resurrection makes us new…makes us His.

Christmas is Something that Happens in the Heart

As the years go by, I am slowly learning that Christmas is something that happens in the heart. I have found that it is less and less about what is happening on the outside–Christmas jingles on the radio, a “Happy Holidays” greeting rather than “Merry Christmas,” or a hyper-focused fascination on a red-suited jolly man who makes an annual appearance to those who have “been good.”

When we start to let those things be our Christmas experience, then we ourselves have lost true focus. I want my family and myself to experience the fullness of Christmas, no matter what the world around us is saying about it. Christmas is not about the world or how they choose to celebrate (or choose not to celebrate). It’s about our hearts rejoicing in His. Christmas is our own special Hallelujah moment. It is we whose hearts have drunk full from the cup of truth, grace, and mercy; it is us reveling in awestruck wonder of the moment where our own rescue began.

So this Christmas season, enjoy your hot chocolate while cuddled on a warm sofa watching your favorite snowman or red-nosed reindeer on TV.  Enjoy all the magical traditions you and your family share. This Christmas season, I would also invite you to enjoy Him. I invite you to open your hearts and let the full reality of grace upon grace envelop you…capture you…awe you…humble you…and to let His story bring you even closer to His heart.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Advent Ideas

So, maybe you are where I was and are not sure where to begin. Maybe you have already done a few things and want just a little bit more, or maybe you just want some fresh ideas. Perfect! I will gladly share some Advent ideas that dear friends shared with me.

1.  Bartholomew’s Passage: A Family’s Story for Advent by Arnold Ytreeide.
  • This is an engaging book that follows a young boy named Bartholomew as he travels across Israel in search of his family. We will see how even being held captive through slavery will not stop him from reaching Bethlehem…and it will be just in time for a special birth. There are readings for each day of the Advent season; it is a family story and devotional that aids in preparing your family’s heart for the miracle of Christmas.
  • It lets you know every week which candles to light and there is a daily reminder before each day’s reading to light the candle.
  •  We plan on reading this book as a family every evening. 
2.  Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp.

“In the beginning is when the greatest story ever begins. The story of Christmas begins in the very beginning–because Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus’ love, which has been looking to hold you close since the very beginning of time.” – Excerpt from Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas.

  • From Christianbook.com: “Trace the epic pageantry of humankind from Adam to the Messiah! Revealing God’s unconditional love for us all, Voskamp’s guide will help your family recapture the sacredness of the Advent season. Each day, you and your children will read a Scripture passage, engage with an easy-to-understand devotion, and participate in suggested activities. Beautifully illustrated. Families with kids ages 3 to 18 will love celebrating Christ together!”
  • I plan on doing this with my children every morning, as we prepare our hearts daily for the joy and expectation of His birth.
  • Here is a link to free coloring pages and printable tree ornaments to go along with the daily readings.
3.  The Jesus StoryBook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

“Every story whispers his name. A Bible like no other, The Jesus Storybook Bible invites children to join in the greatest of all adventures, to discover for themselves that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation–and at the center of their own story too!” – Christianbook.com

  • Here is a suggested Advent plan for The Jesus StoryBook Bible from FreeHomeschoolDeals.com.
  • I plan on using this, especially with my little one- and two-year-olds. Although my almost six-year-old will enjoy it, this one will be closest to my little ones’ level.
4.  Aside from reading:
  • I plan to play this album that a friend recently shared with me: Waiting Songs by Rain for Roots.

    From website: “These songs are about making time for waiting. The King is coming and He is already here. So we practice listening, quieting ourselves, celebrating, whispering good news, and yelling shouts of joy. In the Rain for Roots family, we practice most of all by singing to ourselves, to each other, and to our children about true things. He is coming–the Joy of Every Longing Heart. Our longing hearts. Grown-ups and children; we are the same in this. Through these songs, may God call us closer into conversation with Himself while we wait and hope with expectation. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

    • It will be perfect background music while we are playing, doing school, baking, or even while in the car. (There is also an instrumental only version.)
5.  Then, if you are looking for a fun game to do, you should try The Christmas Star From Afar.  It might make a great alternative to the Elf on the Shelf.

Here is a snippet from the website: “It encourages children to go on a hunt for their Star, similar to that of the Wise Men. Everyday the Star is hidden and the children participate in a fun hide-and-seek game to locate it. Once they have found their Star they move all Three Wise Men to its location. On Christmas morning the Three Wise Men reach their final destination when the Star is found at the stable with the newborn baby Jesus. The activity book includes a wooden Star, a full wooden nativity scene that matches the artwork of the book, and optional scripture to use throughout the month.”

  • This is available on Amazon or at your local Mardel store.

I hope you have found some helpful tips and/or ideas for your Advent season. I pray that the joy and anticipation found in our Lord and Savior overflows this Christmas season for you. May you experience the overwhelming love from the One who reached down with grace and mercy and provided a rescue—a rescue that began with a baby lying in a simple manger.

All for His glory,

Melissa W.

(Chronicles of a Keeper)

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Moist & Delicious Crock Pot Dressing

Moist & Delicious Crock Pot Dressing

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Excitement fills the air. Anticipation starts to grow.  It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and then Christmas is soon to follow.

For me this is a wonderful time of year filled with family, friends and lots of delicious food!  Growing up I remember sneaking into the kitchen to steal deviled eggs for my dad and I.  I’m sure my mom knew but she always acted surprised when her eggs went missing.

Sitting down to the table, I couldn’t wait for the mash potatoes and dressing to be piled high onto my plate.  Hmmmm!  Just thinking about it now has my  mouth watering.

Because I had always grown up with delicious, moist dressing, I didn’t realize it could be created any other way.  But apparently there is a dry and somewhat tasteless version that floats around out there.  My preference is definitely moist and full of flavor!

If you like moist and flavorful dressing but don’t want to spend the hours it can take creating the delicious masterpiece, then you must try this crock pot version.  My mom has used it for years upon years and gifted me the recipe she received from a friend. Since great recipes are for sharing, I’m excited to share it with you.

It’s simple and easy.  And the best part is that your oven will be available for other delicious creations.

 

Crock Pot Dressing Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 8-inch pan cornbread (which is about 4 – 4 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pkg stuffing herb mix (about 4 1/2 – 5 cups)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cans/boxes cream of chicken soup
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 2 tbs. butter

Homemade Cornbread Recipe

Of course, you can use a packaged mix but homemade cornbread tastes better!

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk – If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, no problem. Simply put 3 tablespoons of vinegar (white or apple cider) into a 2 cup measuring cup, then fill up the cup with milk.  (So you use almost 2 cups of milk.)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt (I limit the salt here because the herb stuffing will have some salt as well.)
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes

Easy Steps

1st Step – Bake Cornbread, then crumble it up.  I have found that using a hand mixer, after initially breaking the cornbread apart, helps make the crumbles finer.  Just be careful not to turn the handle wrong or cornbread will go flying!

2nd Step – Lightly grease a large crock pot with butter.

3rd Step – in a large mixing bowl mix all the ingredients well except the butter.

4th Step – Put all the mixture into the crock pot and then place the 2 tablespoons of butter on top of the mixture.

5th Step – Cover and cook on high for  2.5 – 3 hours or on low for 3 -4 hours.  Half way through, stir the mixture so it doesn’t stick to the sides and to  make sure the stuffing gets heated all the way through.

6th Step – Enjoy!

Now, isn’t that the easiest recipe you have ever seen.  May you enjoy more time with your family this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!

What are you most looking forward to this season?

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Gift Guide for Your Family

Gift Guide for Your Family

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
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Gift Guide for Your Family

The Christmas season is just around the corner, which means families will be gathering. It’s the best time to make the most of the time we have together, so we wanted to share with you some of our favorite gifts for sharing experiences with your family.

Art & Bible Journaling Supplies

The creations that swell up from inside us when gifted art supplies are so fun to witness. There are so many fun tools available that it’s difficult to choose only a few, but here are some of our favorites.

(This post does contain affiliate links.)

Water-Soluble Pastels are a great way to introduce kids and adults alike to the world of water colors. Simply use the crayons (dry or wet) to color on the page. If a dry crayon was used, then use a water brush to create delightful watercolor pictures. (Water brushes are one of my favorite gifts for toddlers because they can paint without spilling the water!)

Couple the Creative Lettering and Beyond book with the Platinum Art Supplies Micro-Line Ultra-Fine Point Ink Pens that contains 16 vibrant colors and watch the beauty of God’s word arise from the pages.

Use cling stamps and an acrylic block to create fun, faith-filled artistic letters and drawings without having to draw them yourself.

       

Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to get the family to work together when it’s too cold to play outside.  There are so many fun puzzles available from round puzzles, to 3D puzzles to classic 1000+ piece puzzles.  Which ones do your family enjoy the most?

Games for the Whole Family

Here are some great games for the whole family to enjoy, especially if you can’t stand another round of Candyland or Go Fish:

Sequence for Kids (several variations to choose from) or even older kids can pick up quickly on the regular Sequence game.

International Playthings Honey Bee Tree – plastic tree and “branches” make this game durable. The honeybees make it cute!

Gobblet (wood version) – Kind of a cross between tic-tac-toe and Connect 4, this is simple to learn but adapts to all ages with the strategy that comes with the game. It’s a hit from ages 6 to adults!

Sleeping Queens card game was invented by a homeschooled girl one night when she couldn’t fall asleep. Great for kids but fun enough for adults that they won’t hide when the game comes out.

Zeus on the Loose card game – haven’t given this yet either, but it’s educational in disguise…teaches kids to do mental math.

Ticket to Ride is such a fun strategy game that will help you and your kids become more familiar with the countries of the world. There are many different versions

  

 

Cozy Up with Hot Beverages

Winter is the perfect time to cuddle up and enjoy a nice cup of tea, but even when are we are on-the-go the FORLIFE Uni Brew-in Mug and the Tea Forte KATI Single Cup Loose Tea Brewing System make it possible to enjoy a fresh brewed cup of tea and get to where you need to go.

But if the preference is to make multiple cups so many can enjoy, then these two options are exciting.  With the Blümwares French Press Coffee & Teapot many can enjoy the fresh brewed coffees, espressos & teas in their home or by the campfire!  

For tea lovers, the Artcome Glass Tea Pot with Infuser makes brewing tea stylishly, convenient.  Use it on the stove top or in the microwave to enjoy loose leaf tea, flower tea or tea bags.  

 

Understand God’s Word in a Whole New Way

Have you ever read a Bible story and just scratched your head wondering what in the world it means or why Jesus said a certain thing?  When we put the Bible story into the historical, cultural and religious context of the time when Jesus walked the earth, it brings a new understanding to Jesus’ words.  There are many different resources out there that help us understand this context like Ray Vander Laan’s Faith Lessons video series, and Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg’s books.

      

Camping & Emergencies

The GARMAR Camping Lantern/Flashlight is no normal lantern. It can be solar charged or plugged in to an adapter. It can charge most mobile phones and is the perfect lantern to have when camping or if stuck in an emergency situation like a blackout, tornado, etc. Our family has several like this and use them often.

Gather around the fire to roast marshmallows or hot dogs with expandable roasting sticks!

Gaze at the constellations without getting bits by bugs before falling asleep in a comfy single hammock.

Having LifeStraws on hand in your emergency kit or in your backpack is the best way to make sure you always have

  

Toys for the Littles

No, gift list would be complete without toys for the littles.

Check out these fun Creation Stacking and Nesting blocks. The littles will learn the days of creation while playing. Or let them play with the Stackable Snowman without having to get cold!

God

God Knows All About Me by Claire Page and Clare Fennell, The Itsy Bitsy Snowman by Jeffery Burton, and  Our Little Deer by Sandra Magsamen are great books to wrap under the tree or in the stocking.

The Gorilla Gym and 3′ trampoline allows kids to play and work off that energy when they are stuck in the house.

   

 

Gifts of Presence & A Prayer

These are all fun things to give to your family this Christmas, but above all may you each bless each other with your presence.

Lord, we thank you for giving us the best gift of all – Jesus Christ!  We pray as this season of giving starts that we don’t overlook this most precious gift.  May we freely share this love and message with all we come in contact with.  This truly is the season that many are more open to knowing about why Jesus came to Earth in the form of a baby.  Let us share the rest of the story and let you turn it into the best gift of all!

 

 

Tis the Season for Peace, Rest and Christ-Centeredness!

Tis the Season for Peace, Rest and Christ-Centeredness!

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Tis the Season…well technically, it’s almost the season.  I know we haven’t even had the chance to enjoy Thanksgiving but I wanted to help us all prepare our hearts to center on what is most important during the upcoming Christmas season by sharing a system that I recently found and am really excited about using!

Ever since having children, my husband and I have started rethinking how we celebrate holidays.  Especially in regards to what we want our kids to treasure about each holiday.  Growing up the Christmas season was the most beautiful, wonderful time of the year. Filled with wonderful smells and sights.  All my Christmas memories seem to have a dreamy quality to them like no other holiday memory has.  I want these type memories for our children as well.

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Tired of being stressed during the Christmas Season

Maybe I’m alone in this, but I don’t think so. The Christmas season can be STRESSFUL!  But it doesn’t have to be.  By re-centering our hearts and minds on Christ, we can have peace during this beautiful season.

The first several years we had kids, I did the typical Christmas overload of activities.  And although fun, we were worn out!  Trying to check off the Christmas Bucket list can be unnecessarily stressful.  Instead of increasing the activity in our monthly calendar, the last few years we have taken a step back and enjoyed focusing our thoughts on the greatest gift of all – Jesus!

This year, I found the Christ-Centered Family Tradition System, and I am so excited to use this with our family to focus our hearts and minds on Christ during the Christmas season!

 

Customizable, Stress Free solution & Christ-Centered!

Finally, a flexible family Christmas traditions guide that will keep our family focus on Christ during this season!  I love that it is customizable to what our family needs. It is a collection of 143 printable resources that is so easy to use! It actually comes with a video and a how to guide so you can easily pick and choose what you want to use. My favorite part is that I can use what I want without feeling overwhelmed or guilty for missing something or not using it all.  There are so many wonderful choices and ways to focus on Christ using the Christ-Centered Christmas Family Traditions System but the four parts that we are the most excited about implementing are:

  • The fun 30 Day Countdown to Christmas Bible Study. Love this!
christ-centered-countdown-calendar

It’s a 30 day countdown but you can modify it to however many days you choose!

  • The 30 Christmas Acts of Kindness (we will only be doing 10 so we don’t feel overwhelmed).

  • A Birthday Gift for Jesus, who truly is the best gift of all!

  •  The oh so cute decorations! My kids are going to have so much fun preparing the banner and the ornaments for our front door Christmas tree.
  • And there is much more including a Merry Christmas banner that will be given as a bonus to those who purchase the system before next Thursday.

Click here to see all that is included!

It’s Currently on Sale!

If you are looking for a way to have your family’s heart beat for Christ during all the Christmas celebrations, then this system is for you! I wanted to let you know about it now, because now through next Wednesday it will be on sale!  I love sharing when I get things on sale, don’t you?  Today is the best day to purchase it because it will have the greatest discount and then rise incrementally til it hits full price next week.  Here is the schedule.

  • Day 1: Friday, 10/28: $19.99 (plus bonus banner) (about 45% off)
  • Day 2: Saturday, 10/29: $21.99 (plus bonus banner) (about 38% off)
  • Day 3: Sunday, 10/30: $23.99 (plus bonus banner) (about 32% off)
  • Day 4: Monday, 10/31: $25.99 (plus bonus banner) (about 27% off)
  • Day 5: Tuesday, 11/1: $27.99 (plus bonus banner) (about 22% off)
  • Day 6: Wednesday, 11/2: $29.99 (plus bonus banner) (about 16% off)
  • (LAUNCH OVER) Thursday: 11/3: $34.99 (BONUS GONE)

Are you ready to re-focus your Christmas and enjoy a season of peace, rest and Christ-centeredness?

Lord, you are holy and worthy of praise!  You have blessed us in so many ways and have given us the greatest gift of all – redemption through your son and our Savior, Jesus Christ!  We know you love to celebrate!  As we celebrate this Christmas season, we ask that our hearts will not forget to focus on you.  We ask that with every beat it will be reminded of the true peace you have given us and that we don’t have to be stressed and overrun to make the most of this season.  Help us to refocus our minds, our hearts and our families on Christ during this wonderful time of year.  Let us revel in your might works, your amazing love and your absolute marvelous ways.  It is in you we trust and we look forward to unpacking your truth throughout this season.  In the One who is the true peace giver – Amen!

400 x 400 In-post or Instagram Ad

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Confession: I used to think Jesus’ sacrifice was NBD

Confession: I used to think Jesus’ sacrifice was NBD

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
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We are a week a few days away from Good Friday. The day we somberly, with thankfulness in our hearts, bow in awe of the love of God toward us. At least that is how I approach Good Friday now.

I have a confession to make to you: I used to think Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf was NBD or No Big Deal. 

I’m going to tell you what truths I was forgetting to make me that indifferent to what Jesus did for us on Good Friday. Then I’ll tell you what brought me out of my forgetfulness and how I react to Good Friday now.

Friends, I used to think about Jesus dying on the cross and be very thankful. But while I was thankful, I was not particularly impressed.  

It seemed to me that sacrificing your life was kinda common. I remember reading stories of war heroes who valiantly gave their lives for their fellow soldiers and country and being so grateful. I remember hearing about how the Secret Service would jump in front of the President to save his life at the expense of theirs. As I got older, I would read about the courage of Christians who were killed for their faith. In all of these stories, I would think, “They did what Jesus did–sacrificed their life.”

And yes, it is true, they certainly did sacrifice their lives and I still am always moved and amazed at the courage of people when faced with incredible circumstances.

But I forgot one thing. Jesus was not just human.

It is true that Jesus was fully human, but he was also fully God. He is Emmanuel, God with us. This is the truth I was shamefully forgetting.

He is God and God allowed himself to be killed and tortured for us humans. 

A few thoughts brought me back into remembrance of this fact. When thinking about this incredible, astonishing, shocking, humbling truth of Jesus’ sacrifice, I like to go back to where the sacrifice all began: Christmas.

(If you don’t know about why we needed Jesus to be the sacrificial lamb for you and me, click here to learn more. It’s crucial to your life. I guarantee it’s worth your time. And if you have questions, please feel free to comment below  or send your email to us via our contact page and I’d love to chat with you.)

At Christmas, Jesus left heaven to come to earth so that he could be the sacrificial lamb for us.

Jesus left heaven!

That right there alone is enough of a sacrifice! Friends, I can’t even leave my bed on a cold day! Think about the perfection of heaven and what comfy, cozy place Jesus left for us.

We all know life here on earth is no cakewalk. We all get sick and tired and cold and hungry and… Jesus got those things too. He didn’t in heaven. Plus, he was mocked, beaten, spat upon, and betrayed by his closest friends. Not a cakewalk for sure. This alone is a huge sacrifice. I now always think about this sacrifice at Christmas and this sacrifice alone now leaves me in awe.

Second, Jesus is God. We are human. 

This seems obvious but for years it escaped me. I was knocked back into remembrance when my husband was talking about something he had heard someone say about humans, dirt, God, and how they all relate.

It starts with a question: Would you die for a pile of dirt? 

Probably not. I’m wagering almost every person would say that would be so crazy! And they would be right. But that is exactly what God did.

Genesis 2:7 (NIV) says, “And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Yep, we are dirt. From dirt we came and back to dirt our bodies will return when we die. The only thing that gives us any value is God himself because he breathed his life into us, gave us a soul that will live forever, and values us as cherished children.

I had forgotten that I am dirt and God is the Creator of the Universe whose very words have the power to bring galaxies into existence… 

…and yet he came down from comfy, cozy heaven for me and you to be tortured, betrayed, sick, and eventually killed.

On top of all of this, Jesus died for a pile of dirt that sins against him. For “all have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:12 (NIV)

We have sinned against you Lord and yet you died for us.

Oh friends, how I have asked God for his forgiveness for my being so prideful and forgetful of his immense mercy, grace, and love toward us. Who can “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ?” Ephesians 3:18b (NIV)

I didn’t. And the truth is I still can’t.

Because I’m a human sinner I don’t think I can ever grasp how perfect and unselfish God’s love is toward us. I’m incapable for “who has known the mind of the Lord?” Romans 11:34 (NIV)

So for me, Good Friday now is a remembrance of who I am and who God is. This fact alone throws me into worship of him. Then, on top of that, to remember that he has died for us and that I know the depths of his love toward us is far greater than I can fathom–it’s overwhelming. I’m overwhelmed.

Have you ever felt this way?

Let me know in the comments. I’ll be glad to hear from you.

Happy Second Coming Day! Never heard of it? Read on.

Happy Second Coming Day! Never heard of it? Read on.

Hello, there!  I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation.  The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana.  However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool.  I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between.  Thanks for reading!
Latest posts by Meredith P (see all)

Hello! I hope you and your family had a very happy First Coming Day last month! Or as December 25th is more commonly called, a very Merry Christmas. Yes, Happy Belated First Coming Day/Merry Christmas to you!

For the whole month of December, most of us prepare for the big day when we celebrate Jesus’ first coming to this earth and it is awesome! I delight in the decorating, buying gifts, singing carols, reading about it in the Bible, and more. In fact, there is usually so much to do, one of the most common questions I am asked as December 25th approaches is, “Are you ready for Christmas?” Or using my other name they might say, “Are you ready for First Coming Day?” Hopefully I can say ‘yes’ when asked or else I might find myself in a bit of a pickle. 🙂 But here is another question for us all, “Are we ready for Second Coming Day?”

Allow me to back pedal a bit. I’d like to share with you three things about our family’s journey with God and how He is leading us to celebrate a Second Coming Day. I’d like to tell you how the idea came about, why we find it to be so crucially important to how we walk out our everyday lives, and how we celebrate.

I once read something about Billy Graham that kinda changed my life. According to what I read, his mother would say to him every morning something like, “Look to the east, Billy. Do you see Jesus yet?” So he’d lift his eyes to the east and look for Jesus.

His mother’s question comes from Matthew 24:27 (NIV) “For as lightening that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”

I read that this simple question asked by his mother each morning gave him a daily awareness to the truth that Jesus could actually come today. I read that this set in him an eternal perspective that led, among other things, to his becoming what we know of Billy Graham today: one of the greatest preachers of the gospel in our time. He wanted to spend his days before he saw Jesus coming in the east telling as many people as possible about it.

As a mom, this has resonated in my heart over and over for years. My heart cries out to God to use me to give my children the gift of this eternal perspective. So like the good Father He is, God is giving me, one of His children, the gift of a mind shift toward this eternal perspective so that I, in turn, can teach my children as He teaches me. Like I mentioned above, it has been years since this heart cry of mine to God started and honestly I’m still trying grasping the magnitude of it! Thank you God for being a patient teacher!

This is what I am learning and why keeping Jesus’ second coming in the forefront of my mind is so crucial:  I know the end of the story.

Allow me to use an illustration to explain. This past year, I was reading aloud an interesting book to my children. It was suspenseful! My oldest, 12, was so invested in the characters that he couldn’t take it. It was truly bothering his heart seeing all the trouble the character was going through. He had to know what happened to the main character so he read the very last page. I am telling you, this boy of mine was so much more relaxed while I continued to read the book over the week following. He was even telling his brothers, 9 and 7, “Don’t worry. I know what happens. I read the last page. It is going to be ok.”

Friends, don’t we know the end of our story? Can’t we read the last page?

We can.

Happy Second Coming Day!

It’s called Revelation and here it is:

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea… And I heard a loud voice saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:1-5 (NIV)

“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”  Revelation 22:12-14 (NIV)

The above is from the last two chapters in the whole Bible. These words are the end of the story.

Jesus is coming back again.

He is going to make all things right.

Jesus wins. No questions. No close calls. 

He wins and we win through Him.

I am praying right now for you who are reading this and your families (and for myself and my family!) that the truth in these last pages will produce in us the same type of reaction that it did for my son as he read the last page of our book. 

That we would relax. 

That we would tell others, “Don’t worry. I know what happens. I read the last page. It is going to be ok.”

This is why remembering the second coming of Jesus matters. It gives the Christian, those who have as Jesus says above in Revelation, washed our robes in His blood through His sacrifice, this proper eternal perspective that should revolutionize our entire outlook on life.

(If you are not a Christian and are interested to know why in the world you need to have your robes washed in Jesus’ blood, please, read about it here. It is crucial.)

Isn’t it easy to get caught up in the temporal stuff of earth? In things that don’t really matter? I now categorize things that don’t really matter as anything that does not have to do with the eternal souls of people. Anything that won’t last on past Jesus’ second coming in many ways isn’t really worth a second thought.

I’m not trying to trivialize the grind of struggles on earth. I am not naive to the fact that terrible and unthinkable things happen down here. But so often, especially in America, we get upset at things that don’t really matter for eternity because our minds are down here on earth instead of set on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God and in control.

Friends, in Paul’s letter to the Phillippians he says, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 (NIV)

This verse kinda wraps this point up. If you are a Christian, earth is not your home. So its no surprise that things don’t go as planned down here. No fear. We are eagerly waiting for a Savior’s second coming to bring us home.

So think about whatever difficult or troubling situation you might be dealing with at this time. Ask God to give you an eternal perspective on your struggle. Ask Him to show you what portion of your struggle is eternal and what portion is temporal. Focus on the eternal and let go of the temporal. He will help those that earnestly seek His assistance.

So what does Second Coming Day look like in our house? Over the years it has taken many forms. The first year it was full of activities like waking up to a trumpet blast (1 Thessalonians 4:16)and building our heavenly rooms (John 14:2) gingerbread house style. The year I had another baby it looked like just a talk over dinner. And this year, I think it will be somewhere in between.

The point is not to have yet another thing to do, but to create in our homes an eager anticipation to the reality that the day is coming when the trumpet call is real, any problem we have is eclipsed by His glory, sin and death are gone forever, and we are taken home.

To look forward to and celebrate the victory that is His Second Coming as much as we look back and celebrate the sacrifice of His First Coming. It really does change everything.

I’ll end with this. By far my favorite and most enduring way to celebrate is when we take the Lord’s Supper as a family. Each time we are huddled as a family over the bread and grape juice, we remind ourselves and our children not only of Jesus’ sacrifice at His first coming, but also we remember to look forward to the victory of His return.

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26 (NIV) emphasis mine

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’

Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Revelation 22: 20-21 (NIV)

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