Recapturing the Christmas Spirit

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This post was originally published at A Writer’s Reflections on December 16, 2015. (Link below)

Recapturing the Christmas Spirit | A Writer’s Reflections

Manger Scene

Photo credit: “Shepherds 25” by Waiting for the Word: https://flic.kr/p/aGS9ZB

 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

                                                                                           (Luke 2:10-14)

 

Recently I mentioned to my mom that for some reason, I haven’t been able to really get into the Christmas spirit this December, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I wasn’t around when my family decorated the house and the tree, maybe because I’ve been distracted by a whole host of other things going on.

But I just haven’t been in the festive Christmas mood as much as I normally am this time of year, despite the fact that I started listening to Christmas music back in the middle of November and have gotten all my Christmas shopping done. It just hasn’t felt completely like Christmas.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what that “Christmas mood” or “Christmas spirit” is defined as, but I think you all know what I mean. It’s something that can’t easily be put into words; a feeling that often involves excitement and goodwill and a sense of unity with those around you.

But thinking about that made me wonder: why does that Christmas spirit matter, and what causes it? And is that even an important thing to be focusing on during this season? Does it really even matter whether I’m in a “Christmas mood” or whether it “feels like” Christmas?

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How to Stop Feeling Alone in a Room Full of People

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Check out this amazing post by Brandon Adams about how to stop feeling alone. Honestly, this is one of the biggest things I’ve struggled with all my life, and the only thing that has truly been the answer to that problem is what Brandon talks about in his post. So I hope you are encouraged like I was.

Brandon J. Adams

We all can feel alone even when surrounded by our greatest fans.

You probably know how this goes. Moments come where we feel something unshareable, something that seems to set us apart from the gathering. It might be a pain, or it might be a joy. Whatever it is, we know the others aren’t feeling it. It’s stuck inside us.

It’s the worst feeling.

Finding someone like-minded to us is cause for celebration, along the lines of finding a vein of gold on your property. But they seem few and far between. Our struggles pull us toward isolation.

This is often our God-shaped hole. There are parts of us that are just too deep for any human to reach. Those needs belong on the broad shoulders of God.Lost in a crowd?

However…God Himself did not intend for humans to live alone. In a stunning act of humility, He designed us to need each other as well. (It’s also one of His tools of sanctification…

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Asking, Seeking, Knocking: Why Don’t We See Answers?

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Cottonwood trees along the Rio Grande in autumn, New Mexico

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

~Matthew 7:7-11

Matthew 7:7 may be one of the most quoted verses in the Bible, and yet, ironically, one of the least to be actually understood and carried out in a believer’s life.

Why do I say that? Well, in my limited experience, I’ve heard that verse quoted and seen it engraved on plaques and statues, hung in churches and homes, and adorning jewelry and pictures to no end. But very rarely have I heard a Christian talk about the concepts of that verse as being real and true in their life, about how God has been rewarding their diligent practice of asking, seeking, and knocking. Continue reading

Ask, Seek, Knock | From The Life Project Blog

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Hey everyone,

I apologize for being so silent lately on my blog. I promise you I’m still alive and well–more busy than usual actually. Work, travel, random stuff. All of that.

I have been working on several posts recently; I just haven’t been spending enough time to perfect any of them…lol. Anyway, my aim is to change that and actually start getting regular posts out again.

I’ve been working on a post about this well-known verse: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).

But recently I also saw this post by Don Merritt on The Life Project blog talking about this same topic and thought it was a really good summary of what Jesus was teaching here. Check it out below!


“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if […]

via Ask, Seek, Knock — The Life Project

Quote of the Week | Living Out Your Fears?

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jason-blackeye-217162 copy

Too many of us are not living our dreams, because we are living our fears.
~ Les Brown

I’ve touched on this topic of fear more than once, but I think it really bears repeating.

I’ve been held back by my fears more times than I can count, and I know how detrimental it can be to one’s life and confidence. But because my confidence is not founded in myself but in the One who is the very essence of peace, courage, and confidence, I know that it’s very possible to reject those fears and truly live out my dreams and the purpose God has for me.

And if it’s possible for me, one of the most timid Tim’s out there, then I know for sure you can do it, too.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1.7

 

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Hope you enjoyed what you read! Please feel free to add your personal thoughts in the comments below. If you haven’t already, check out my About page, and I’d love it if you subscribed to my blog as well! That way you won’t miss any of my future posts, and you’ll completely make my day.

Thanks for stopping by!

14 Things About Life I Wish I Could Tell My 14-year-old Self

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I think out of all the awkward teenage years, fourteen is one of the most awkward. It’s just the worst. It’s right in the transition stage between childhood and adulthood; you’re still feeling like a kid in many ways, but your mind and body (not to mention your family, friends, and culture) tell you you’re not one anymore. So you shift hesitantly into “adulting mode,” but the minute you do, you start skidding out of control and bumping into anything and everything with the klutzy grace only a teenager can manage.

Yeah. You need some serious help. You probably have parents waiting to impart a wealth of wisdom and advice, but sometimes there are things about life that just can’t or won’t be learned from parents. Sometimes a true grasp of these things will only come through many years of trial and error in the classroom of life.

At any rate, don’t you wish 14-year-old you could have reached into the future and had a nice chat with your mature, responsible grown-up self? You’d probably have a better chance than anyone else of actually jolting some sense of seriousness into yourself.

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When God Reveals Himself in Simple, Unexpected Ways

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If you’re like me, you may have wished more than once that God would reveal Himself to you in a grand, thunderbolt-like, voice-in-the-sky gesture. Maybe you’ve told Him that, too.

“Lord, I just want a sign from you; just reveal yourself to me in a clear, undeniable way so I know you are here with me and that you have a great purpose for me.”

Maybe you then turned away resigned to silence, in fact, not really expecting any sort of response at all. In reality, perhaps you were just venting from a long, hard day and weren’t directing your words toward God seriously.

But whether or not you realized it, He did respond to you. Continue reading

Quote of the Week | Do Extraordinary Things

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People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.

~ Sir Edmund Hillary

I just have to say, the guy who said this quote accomplished an extraordinary thing to come up with something this profound.

It’s really true. Maybe if we really understood this concept, we would all stop pushing ourselves and others to be so good and then beat ourselves down when we fail.

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How Traveling Has Shifted My Perspective on Life

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Have you ever had one of those experiences in which your whole perspective suddenly shifts and you now see life in a new and fresh way?

Most of us probably can look back to something in our lives that we consider a defining moment or event. A book, a trip, a conversation, a song, or even an imperceptible moment of change that we really can’t put our finger on.

Sometimes defining moments in life are not even a single moment in time. Continue reading

Crossing Over the Great Wall of Fear

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First of all, uh…no, I did not get this post out when I was planning. Here’s an apology for being over three weeks late. But in my defense, in those weeks, I’ve started a new job, or maybe two new jobs, if you want to get technical; I’ve been planning and preparing for a two-and-a-half week long trip to Europe with my sister that we are leaving for on Tuesday; and just a lot of other stuff thrown in there too. In other words, I’ve been busy.

However, I’ve also spent a lot of time laying out my thoughts for this post, so I really hope it will be an aid and encouragement to you! Winning the battle against fear is a topic that I believe we as Christians need so badly and seems to be often overlooked in our circles as a legitimate problem to address.

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