Advent

Reflections on Winter: the Lessons We Learn in the Cold

An Alabama winter’s day can move from warm sun to snow in a matter of hours. Last week, my kids enjoyed a snow day because of the threat of sleet and snow. Central Alabama shut down when sheets of ice covered our roadways. This morning, I enjoyed my coffee and prayer time sitting on the deck. My kids walked to the bus stop without a jacket. The temperature is 73° as I write this. All of [Read more...]

The Gift that Promises Forever

It wasn’t the gift I expected, but it promised forever. On our second Christmas as a couple, I held a secret wish in my heart as I sat beneath the Christmas tree. David and I planned to walk the aisle in August of the coming year. In my mind, Christmas seemed like the ideal time for the question and the ring. I opened my gift, a rectangular-shaped box wrapped in thick red paper. Inside the [Read more...]

Christmas Joy #FridayFive Style

When #FridayFive started, it was a place to share favorite things—memories, books, links. It took on a life of its own with writing prompts to challenge us to think a little deeper and write a little more consistently. I love reading your different takes on the weekly themes. As I turn “joy” around in my mind, it seems like a good time to go back to my #FridayFive roots and [Read more...]

The Carol of Traveling Sounds

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” ~Marjorie Holmes The sound of travel thrills me. My earliest memory of this auditory obsession dates back to the early 80’s. I remember walking up and down the dirt drive in front of my grandparents’ old chicken house just to hear the gravel crunch beneath my Jordache sneakers. Besides listening to my grandmother read, it was my favorite thing to do at [Read more...]

The Light of the World Brings Hope at Christmas

Don’t you just love this time of year? As soon as the turkey is cold, many people rush to the attic for the red and green boxes full of Christmas decorations. They tack lights to the eaves of their house and hang treasured ornaments on the branches of pine-scented trees. The smell of cinnamon and sugar plums rise from strategically placed candles. Ceramic Baby Jesus rests safely in an [Read more...]

The Word Became Flesh

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” ~John 1:14 ESV One of my favorite movies of all time is Sleepless in Seattle. Sam Baldwin is a widowed father whose eight-year-old son calls a radio talk show on his behalf on Christmas Eve. Annie Reed is listening. Hearing about the deep love Sam had for his wife stirs her heart. Annie sends Sam a letter, asking him to meet her on top of the [Read more...]

The Birth of Hope

The A newborn baby inspires hope. The earthy, metallic smell of birth mixes with the sweetness of Johnson & Johnson’s baby lotion. It reaches your heart through your nose. A smile tickles your lips just as you start to talk in a silly voice that you wouldn’t dare use in an adult conversation. Babies are a phenomenon of hope and expectation. My sister recently gave birth to her [Read more...]

Mary Remembers: A Story of Light and Hope

Today, as darkness tries to swallow me alive, I find myself reliving the first days of this incredible journey. It is the only place I can find light. Light. Light is how it all began. I remember the light. How it started small and then grew so bright. I had to look away and shield my eyes for fear I would go blind. Once my eyes adjusted, I saw something or someone. I felt instant peace in his [Read more...]

A Joy-Filled Makeover

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to [Read more...]

Five Reasons to Choose Joy

As I try to get my heart and mind prepared for Christmas, I find myself sitting with sweet Mary. I wonder about her life before the conception, her visit with the angel, and pregnancy as an unwed, Jewish teenager. I consider her thoughts on the donkey, the tears in her eyes in the stable, and the way she must have looked at Jesus when he played in the dirt. It never stops there, though. I follow [Read more...]