Waiting…

Advent …what a season of waiting. It’s the time of preparing our hearts for the truth of God made man, Immanuel.  It’s the time of preparing our lives for what God’s living Presence with us truly means.  It’s the time of preparing our homes for Christmas and all the joys the season brings.  At our house this year, it’s also the time for preparing for our 4th child’s arrival, now 5 days overdue.

As this season of Advent has coincided with our own season of baby expecting, I’ve thought a lot about waiting.  I’ve thought about those in the Bible who were told of the Savior’s arrival hundreds of years before He came.  Many people in that time period died waiting to see a Savior… And they never saw Him with earthly eyes, yet many still hoped and expected.  In several Biblical accounts, those of faith waited well.  I’ve also thought about several people I now know who are waiting…waiting on that job, waiting on that test result, waiting for deliverance, waiting for restoration, waiting for healing, waiting, waiting, waiting.  And I’m right there too – waiting for labor, waiting for delivery, waiting for our son.

I’m just not sure I wait so well.  Each day overdue feels like an eternity, increasing the pain, anxiety, and discomfort of the situation…much like it feels for so many who wait in their own situations.  But the truth is that even if our eyes do not see the end come true, God is still faithful.  Abraham, Moses, Job, Esther, Isaiah…they never saw their Savior, yet the Savior still came.   Their believing did not come through seeing.  A college friend of mine died last week from cancer, at 32 years of age, leaving a husband and 3 young girls behind.  It’s an earthly tragedy too great for words.  And with our earthly eyes, it seems that prayers for her healing were not answered.  Yet as her faithful family believes, their prayers for healing were answered in her home-going to perfect Heaven to see perfect Jesus where she has been made perfect in Him.  Again, believing does not come through seeing, and that truth changes the way we wait.

What if we believed that God’s promises to us were already done?  What if, in the midst of waiting, we praised Him for the deliverance that is already finished for us, whether our earthly eyes see it or not?  What if we claimed the truth of God’s goodness toward us and believed that even right here, in the midst of turmoil and pain, He is acting out His good intentions toward us?  Just, what if?

A wise woman once told me that waiting is the most active time of our spiritual life – for it is then that we continue to go back and go back and go back to God, until He calms and assures us. Here are my current verses for our waiting period…”Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4) In my time of pain and anxiety, I say aloud, “I rejoice in this exact thing.  You are faithful God.”   I also love Phil. 4:5-7…”The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  This verse speaks of the repetition of going back to God.  He is close and because He is close, we don’t have to be anxious.  And He even knows that we still be anxious, so when we are, He has given us prayer and praise which ushers in peace that we cannot understand.  And that peace acts as a guardian to our very hearts.

Praying this guarding, calming. and heavenly peace for all of you who wait.   Praying that the reality of Christ’s constant presence changes your faith, your mind, and your soul this Christmas.

Waiting in hope,

Betsy

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Christmas Countdown

I put together a little list of daily activities to help our family countdown to Christmas. So far, it has been super fun and has helped our kids remember others, not just themselves.  After all the fun we’ve had in just the first 5 days, I wanted to share it with you.   I sewed some grocery sacks together (yes, you can sew paper), wrote our activities on little scraps on paper, and taped them all to the paper in a Christmas tree pattern (clearly, I was unwilling to spend any money on this – ha!) .  Each day we flip up a card to read that day’s activity. (I geared the activities toward the ages of our kids – 5, 3, and 1.  Adjust accordingly to fit your family.)

Here’s our display…20131205-214930.jpg

Here’s our list…

  1. Deliver lollipops to friends and strangers.  (This ended up being hilarious.  I gave both boys big bags of lollipops to distribute as they pleased.  D took them to his Sunday School class, stepped one foot in the door and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Hey guys!  I brought lollipops for everyone!”  I’m sure his teachers were filled with love for me. 😉  C took his lollipops to Costco for distribution.  He rode around in the cart, saying, “Free lollipops here!”)
  2. Set up the Christmas nativity. (I personally love how they did this.  Jesus is in the middle and all the people are as close to Him as they can possibly get – shoulder to shoulder.  Can you see the little baby at the bottom of the pic?)IMG_1205
  3. Buy a Kroger card and give it to someone in the store. ( We prayed that God would show us who to give it to before we went in to the store.  We walked around the store a few times until they spotted an elderly lady who was the one they chose.  She was precious and gave the boys big hugs.)
  4. Have hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows.
  5. Do a service for someone in the family.
  6. Cut out paper snowflakes.
  7. Visit the Living Nativity.
  8. Go to the Church Christmas Program.
  9. Get donuts and take them to the Fire Station.
  10. Make Grinch Punch.
  11. Make Reindeer Cookies.
  12. Deliver Cookies to a friend or neighbor.
  13. Watch a Christmas movie.
  14. Eat at a drive thru restaurant and pay for the people behind us.
  15. Snowball fight with socks.
  16. Donate toys and clothes.
  17. Go Christmas shopping for dad and siblings.
  18. Wrap presents and put them under the tree.
  19. Get Christmas books from the library.
  20. Send a Christmas card to far away family.
  21. Deliver gum to all the people who give us gum (my kids are gum hogs).
  22. Drive around and look at Christmas lights.
  23. Have dinner with someone special.
  24. Make Christmas pancakes.
  25. Eat birthday cake for Jesus!

I hope that you and yours have a wonderful time expecting our Savior’s birthday!