Spend Christmas in the Word

I have been so sporadic, but have to let you know... I have not stopped studying John! We've had to take several weeks off with the students, so I've taken several weeks off sharing here as well... I'll be back to sharing weekly gleanings from John VERY soon.



We're just five days from Christmas!! And I'm looking at this as a perfect opportunity to share this little Christmas booklet with y'all!

If you've been journeying through the Gospel of John with us, you can expect the same format for the Christmas booklet, as it will guide you through select passages in the Gospel of Luke. Click below to download!

I pray that your family's time in the word leading up to Christmas day will be fruitful, filled with growth and a deeper understanding of who He is, what He came to do, and just how much He loves you.

Merry Christmas, Friends!

The Christmas book you'll be reading all. year. long.

Oh hey, strangers!

Truth... my (emotional) life has been a little out of whack recently. I'm slowly getting it together (you know, in a "who really has it together, though?" kind of way.) Here's a quick snap shot into the December moments that are reminding my heart to smile BIG this season:


That's our Advent Wreath from JoyWares, and y'all... it's my favorite Christmas tradition. This is our third year walking Mary and her donkey around this circle of light and each year has been sweeter and sweeter. 

And then there's The Christmas Promise.

Y'all, I realize it's December TWELTH and at this point it's a little laughable to recommend a book to read with your kids before Christmas... but y'all... ORDER THIS BOOK TODAY.

It's the perfect Christmas addition to the Tales that tell the Truth series, and again, beautifully illustrated by Catalina Echeverri. It's fun to read, it's engaging, easy for little listeners to grasp and love, and written with the same repetitive methods in The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross that keep my two SWOOSHING (obviously) and remembering the amazing truths in these pages about their Forever King... and since my face and my voice cannot stop doing bizarre things every time I open this book, I'm just gonna go ahead and copy and paste the excitement from this post: Alison Mitchell "has successfully achieved the telling of this story in the style and language that spirited parents use when we talk to our spirited kids. Excitable little family that we are, that just makes it so. much. fun. to read! You cannot read these pages without TONS of animation on your face and in your voice."

Probably going to be a year-rounder at our house (sorry Chris [not sorry]). It will live by our year-round nativity and I'll just keep trying to read it to the kids every. single. day.

DISCLAIMER **I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Thanks for supporting this blog and my family!**

A Thrill of Hope

I met my son for the first time two years ago today.

I'm not going to share the details of the how and where of that moment, but I will share this...

It was dark when I peaked in the back driver's side window of a social worker's car and the words that came out of my mouth still come out daily.

"Oh my goodness. His cheeks!"

His. Cheeks.

...and they have only gotten better and better.

It was a uniquely perfect day. The day we met the baby who would become our son.

I remember it like it was yesterday. The drive to pick him up, my phone call to my aunt on the way, the way I felt when I saw him, peeking back at him the whole drive home, introducing him to Mercy, the way she instantly fell in love with him, what we had for dinner with our good friend who stayed with Mercy, giving him his first bottle, and the snuggling that first night...

But one specific memory stands out when I think back... Grabbing him out of his carseat, kissing those amazing cheeks for the very first time, pressing his eight pound eight ounce frame tight against me... and that moment when my life fell together at the very same time that somebody else's fell apart.

Right in that second, our need for abundant HOPE became more clear than ever before. He needed hope, we needed hope, and his mama needed hope more than anything... because it was nine days before Christmas and she just lost her newborn son, and that had to feel pretty hopeless.

This year especially, as we approach our first Christmas with Jaiden as our son, having seen our hopes for our life with him come alive, I think I'm understanding the gift of hope in a new light.

The hope we have for Jaiden's life... It's not just there, something we pray about and experience peace through.... Our hope is thrilling. And it is every synonym of thrilling... Breathtaking. Exhilarating. Electrifying. Inspiring. Mind boggling. (merrian-webster.com) It's exciting, it lights up our hearts and fills us with joy. He has given us hope and made us understand it in a brand new light. In His light.

Because many years ago on a starry night in Bethlehem, He brought a newborn baby boy into the world. His boy, His only son, and that baby boy gave this weary world hope.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." (Ephesians 1:3-10, emphasis added)

When I read Paul's words about our adoption through Christ, I hear him defining the thrill of hope. And in a year and month and day that so many feel weary, down, depressed and hopeless, how we need the thrilling hope that He gives us! Hope for every spiritual blessing. Hope that He chose us before the creation of the world. Hope that because of His Son Jesus, we will stand before Him one day, holy and blameless. Hope that we were predestined to become His children, adopted out of our sin, out of this weary world and into His glorious grace. Hope for the redemption found in the blood of His son, who He gave up, forgiving our sins and lavishing His grace upon us. This was His will, His perfect purpose for us, to unite His children to Himself for all of eternity, and friends... how thrilling is that??

Today I am praying the thrill of hope for my son's first mommy, even on this day that brings devastating memories and loads of guilt and regret. That she would look to Christ for the hope of redemption and that when she does she would experience His grace flowing over her, her soul feeling it's worth and knowing her position before Him. Holy. Blameless. Guiltless.

Today I am praying the thrill of hope for my son. That as he grows he will become acutely aware of his need for the riches of God's grace. That it would be God's will to adopt him into His eternal family, lavishing His grace upon him and making him an heir of the King.

Today I am praising God for showing us the thrill of hope through this child He brought to us two years ago. That he gave us an earthly experience of adoption so that we would understand on a deeper level how great our adoption into His family is. Completely undeserved, granted by the blood of His only son, and sealed for eternity. Redeemed, forgiven, adopted. And I'm praying that when we're weary we would remember this thrill, that our hope would become alive again, that Jesus would continually remind us of the eternity of hope that He provided for us on the cross.

Would you pray with us today and in the days leading up to the celebration of the thrill of the hope the Jesus? Would you pray for renewal in our hearts and yours? Would you pray that the thrill of hope would be found and clung to in the hearts of the children and families affected by foster care this Christmas?

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
— O Holy Night

Merry Christmas, friends!

Thank you for all you do for us and how you have loved our family so well!