Wednesday, December 5, 2018

North Pole Letters: December 5, 2018

Bethlehem

December 5, 2018

Good morning, Lovelies!  Here’s a Christmas acrostic poem (sort of) for you to start the day.

B: A baby named Emmanuel is born surrounded by filthy animals in a town that means “Bread of Life.” Christ is our bread. He’s a daily need that we cannot ignore. He craves a personal relationship with us. It’s a relationship that fulfills and inspires us and reminds us we are loved and adored.

E: Eternal life. This is something that is promised to us. All we have to do is accept Him into our hearts. With Him in our hearts, we should feel awakened and more alive than ever. This inspires us to seek out and take hold of any opportunity that glorifies Him. Just think how wonderful it will be to engage with loved ones in heaven.

T: Time. It took a long time for people such as the wisemen to reach Bethlehem. Jesus may not have even been in Bethlehem when they arrived. He was not however, in the manger when they arrived. The wisemen presented Jesus with gifts in a house. At the time, some say Jesus was at least a year old.

H: Herod. Ugh. Yes, he was called “Herod the Great,” but when it came to the birth of a child that would be king, Herod’s ugliness came out. He was a barbaric, horrible man and became very jealous at the news of our Savior’s birth.

L: Our Lord Emmanuel. Our Lord King of Kings. Our Lord the Savior. Our Lord Fighter for the Least, the Last and the Lonely. Our Lord full of Love, Mercy and Grace.

E: Evergreens. I fragrant symbol of Christmas. They stay green just like God’s unchanging, everlasting love and grace stays with us. Every day. All year long. Our entire lives. 1510 is the first written record of a Christmas tree. It was decorated with roses, danced around and then set ablaze. Thank goodness some things change.

H: Heavenly riches. ‘Tis the season for wish lists. A lot of sentences spoken where “I want” are the first two words. There’s nothing wrong with wanting things as long as we don’t ever put our earthly possessions before God and our responsibilities as Christians. But while wanting toys, dolls, balls, games and books, it’s the heavenly riches that should be in the forefront of our hearts. If our hearts are truly hearts of Jesus and our hearts were to make a wish list for Christmas, the list would be: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

E: Eve of Christmas. Yes, it’s only the fifth of December, but you know how time flies. It’ll be here before you know it. We start singing more loudly. Our hearts pump joyously in anticipation of the birth of the magnificent and humble light that we call Jesus.

M: Many blessings. We are blessed, aren’t we? It’s easy to take all the things we have for granted. It’s easy not to appreciate that we have so much more than far too many. I pray tonight that you girls have a Merry Christmas, but that the least, the last and the lonely are able to find a sliver of joy so they too can feel merry and bright.

Have a wonderful day and be sure to stop and thank God for all that we have because let’s be honest…we have much more than we need.

Merry Christmas, girls! We love you!

Your Elves,

Cookie (Yep, I’m back and coming back again and again!), Poinsettia and Knuckle

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

North Pole Letters: December 4, 2018

Everyone and Everything Has a Story

December 4, 2018

When I entered your home tonight I heard something very peculiar and strange. It wasn’t jingle-jangle of bells on a sleigh (because why would you have a sleigh in your house) and it wasn’t music, but yet it was melodic and sweet at the same time.

I searched around. All over. Until I put my ear right up against your Christmas tree. At first I thought it was feisty ‘ol Indy preparing to jump out and scare me. When I realized it wasn’t your cat, I leaned in even closer. What I heard was astonishing. It sounded like whispering. A conversation or something. But who would be talking in your tree! For a moment I questioned the egg-nog I drank just before coming here. I thought I was losing my mind.

It kept drawing me in and then I realized it was coming from…an ornament!

It wasn’t having a conversation, but rather talking to itself. From the looks of it, it didn’t appear to be a wind-up ornament. Knowing not to judge anything by its looks, I removed it from its branch just to make sure. No wind up. I held it my ear and did what sometimes I’m not very good at doing. I listened.

The ornament was a miniature toy soldier. His hat painted blue and his coats and boots red. He is holding a drumstick in each hand playing what I like to imagine The Little Drummer Boy. His clownish nose made me smile and I had to touch my fingertips to the white fuzzy hair on the sides of his face.

As he continued to whisper I sat down to listen more closely. Soon I realized he was telling the story of how he was uniquely made.

The fog was thick on the cobble-stone street. The thickest West Germany had ever seen. An old wood carver sat by candle light struggling to think of something new to carve for that year’s Christmas. He had been known to carve several toy airplanes and trains and give them to the local orphanage. He loved to see the children out in the streets playing with the toys he had made. Their smiles wide enough to push away any trace of sadness.

Peering out his candle lit window, he hoped to catch a glimpse of the children through their own windows. Theirs however, did not have a candle on the sill. He enjoyed, as much as they enjoyed, the friendly wave they’d often give each other. Not tonight. The fog was too thick. The old man cracked open his door hoping to see something. Anything. Anything that would inspire him.

Drops of rain tip-tapped his wrinkled forehead. A clattering came from further down deep in the fog. Turning his head to look, he only saw outlines of objects he could not identify. Then for just a moment a small breeze seemed to push a pocket of fog further on down the street leaving a blurry silhouette of a man holding a bucket.

Probably another beggar the old man thought. Reaching into his pocket and slipping out from his front porch, he grabbed the remaining of his loose change. Upon reaching the beggar holding the bucket, the old man realized his eyes had played tricks on him. It wasn’t a man at all. It was a lamppost with sign tied to its bottom half. A sign that was withering away with every drip, drip, drip that bounced off into the puddles beneath it.

Disappointed, the old man turned back towards home, but couldn’t help to turn and look one more time. He thought for sure there was something else there. He was right. Looking again, he saw the lamppost as a man and the sign not as a beggar’s bucket, but a drum with the raindrops playing a song of hope and joy. Of a Savior’s birth.

Inspired, the old man lit more candles in his shop and work until the wee hours of the morning creating and carving a wooden toy soldier. With a blue hat, red coat and boots and a clownish nose.

The toy paused and seemed to be done with the story of how he was made and what made him unique. Placing him back onto the branch I had removed him from, I was filled with an overwhelming joy that stretched from my pointed shoes to the bells on my hat.

I thought to myself, everybody and everything has a story to tell. I wonder how many stories we pass by in our day-to-day lives. I don’t know about you, but the next chance I get, I’m going to find a story that someone wants to share. And then I’ll sit and just listen.

Girls, every day we get to write our story. It may feel like a rough draft with lots and lots of errors and someone might be standing over you yelling, “Show! Don’t Tell!” But it’s those words of wisdom that launch us into what He meant us to be. The best version of ourselves.

Never be afraid to write and share your story. You are amazing girls. Beautiful inside and out and we are very proud of you and love and adore you.

Merry Christmas!

Your Elves,

Rumblebuffin, Blizzer Blobber and U Knee Corn

Monday, December 3, 2018

North Pole Letters: December 3, 2018

Caught in the Hustle and Bustle

December 3, 2018

Good Morning, Ladies of Lake Ridge!

New days are like New Year’s Day every day. Don’t you feel the same? I take it as an opportunity to thank the Lord for a new chance of becoming a better person. I thank the Lord even when I feel troubled. Sounds kind of funny to thank Him for troubling times, but that’s what He’s there for. And I know that those troubled times are preparing me for something. One thing I thank Him for is for being there.

One thing I want you girls to know and believe with all of your hearts is that God is always, always, always alongside you. He puts His arm around you and even lifts you up when you feel too weak to muster another step.

I was troubled just yesterday in fact. I got myself carried away with the hoop-la of the season, forgetting all about the reason for the season. I woke up with a fury. A fury for shopping. I flew out the door so fast I was three blocks away before I realized I didn’t even have my shoes on. I just bought some instead. That may have been my first mistake. My next mistake was me going shopping. All day. Have you heard of the phrase, “shop till you drop”? Well, that’s exactly what I did. I dropped money here and money there at this store and that store. My trunk was stuffed and my roof practically was caving in. But I was all smiles because that’s what it’s all about, right? Nope.

You see, in all my hustle and bustle there were things I wasn’t thinking about. While I thought I was being generous by buying so many gifts I had walked past by a homeless woman that shivered in the brisk air. I failed to help a family that was stranded on the side of the road. I didn’t even talk to my wife about how much money we had in our budget. To top it all off, I got a phone call when I arrived home and had unpacked all the gifts. Turns out I was supposed to be at work. My day off wasn’t until the next day.

It’s easy to get caught up in things and to forget the reason for the season. Christ came as hope incarnate. Hope for us that we would be saved, released and freed from our sins. Not everybody believes that we are freed, that Christ and His grace broke the chains that otherwise would keep us from becoming what He meant us to be. It is the truth whether everybody believes it or not.

The first candle of advent symbolizes hope. Hope is the expectation of something. It also gives us the confidence that no matter how troubling our troubled times are, we will get through every storm. And through every storm, God is there.

Another weekend over and a new week ahead. Girls, I pray for wisdom, health, peace and confidence for you this week. Be like the moon this week. The moon uses light from the sun to shine. We need to do the same. We need to take light from the Son and use it to shine for others to see.

Sophie, thank you so much for your note. You are quite welcome for the gifts. We will certainly say hello to the big fella and Mrs. Claus for you. Thank for the candy too! We will definitely “shair” 😊

We love you, girls! Merry Christmas!

Your Elves,

Kit-Kat McGatt, Wilky May, Snicker Doodle and PB Reece

Sunday, December 2, 2018

North Pole Letters: December 2, 2018

Turbulence or Flatulence?

Good morning, girls! 

I’d ask how your beauty sleep was, but in case you haven’t looked in the mirror yet, you don’t need any! My, my, you three are stunningly beautiful. Don’t ever forget that. I’m not just talking about the beauty you see in the mirror either, but the beauty that mirrors the love of our Savior as well.

Sure, there’s some yuckiness. Always has been, always will be. There’s no denying that. It happens in every household. Not just yours. It doesn't always seem like that, does it? I encourage you to realize not every household has parents that teach you the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus and the importance of shining His light for others to see. Don’t let the yuckiness make your forget all the good things. 

I think it’s always important to make a list, no, not a Christmas list – although that’s fun too – but a list about all the good things in your life. Your blessings. Satan wants us to think and focus on the bad times. The times where the flaws of others are front and center. With the light of Jesus, we can outshine the whispers Satan tells us and smother them into the ground. Thinking of when you step on acorns on your walks with your daddy and you squish them into the sidewalk.

Even with our yuckiness, we are all beautiful because we are all created in His image. He loves us no matter what we say, do, think, behave, believe or act like. I don’t know about you, but I keep that little tidbit of truth close to my heart. It makes me feel like, well, like I have a superpower or something. In way I guess I do. We all do. We have the super power of Christ in our hearts. 

You want to know something? I almost, for the briefest, tiniest moment thought we weren’t coming tonight. Not that we didn’t want to because you know by now how much we love your home and love you. No, we were well on our way and then things got bumpy. Really bumpy. Something happened that rattles the reindeers' bells and shook our sleigh (modes of transportation are voted on nightly. Sometimes we take a sleigh while other times we parachute in. One time, Santa launched us into the sky from his Elfinator B.Y.E. - B.Y.E. 3000 and we caught on to a shooting star and rode it all the way here…getting back was quite the journey let me tell you). Being an elf is quite the life.

No one can agree on what really happened, but my elf-life flashed before my eyes and while it was quite entertaining and popcorn-worthy, it was flat out the scariest moment I ever experienced - even scarier when Santa tried a goatee and buzz cut look. Comet said it was just normal turbulence (we use Santa’s reindeer to get them into shape for the big night). Prancer said he may have caused it because he had an itch he just had to scratch. To be honest, most of us don’t think it was itching or turbulence at all, but instead it was good ‘ol flatulence. That’s right, somebody tooted and almost knocked us out of the sky. I blame Vixen. I keep telling him to lay off the beef jerky-flavored sugar cookies. That’s stuff does some nasty things to your digestive track.

And you thought your uncles smelled. Woo-wee! Probably not what you needed to hear as you head off to church today, huh? 

You know what I love? I love how you girls pray. Did you know prayer reveals ones heart? It shows what is truly important to us. When you girls pray about being thankful for church and school and the beautiful day God created, you are telling God that those things are important to you. I think it’s amazing that you girls do that. I thought it was especially sweet when you prayed for your cousin Livvy after her bunny, Honeybun, died. I’m sure she felt those prayers and felt better because of it.

Show love and kindness today. To each other. To strangers. One sliver of light can change someone’s whole day.

We love and adore you. Merry Christmas!

Your Elves for the Evening,

Cookie, Rocket and Grizzly

Saturday, December 1, 2018

North Pole Letters: December 1, 2018


Rough Edges & Perfect Love

December 1, 2018 

(Just a tick or two past midnight.)

Hello, hello, hello, Graybill girls! Wait! Was that too creepy? It was wasn't it? Too Count Olaf-ey? No, it’s okay. I get it. My feelings aren’t hurt…to badly. We elves like tears rolling down our  pinkish cheeks. Just kidding 😊 We are all smile tonight.

So, how ‘bout this…Gooood morning, Madison the slamma-jamma superstar, B the bippity bop beauty and Sophie the super-smiley sunshine!

Better? I thought so. 

Oh, my golly! Is it really? Could it be? Nah! No way! Well, I’ll be! (whatever that means) It IS Christmastime! I don’t think I’ve ever used so many exclamations! Why do I feel the need to use so many?! There I go again! Somebody stooooppp meeeee!!!!

Okay, Snuggle Muffin, take a deep breath…and hold…aaaand release. 

Whew! Much better. Sorry about that ladies, but it’s just not the realization that Christmas is back again it’s being back in your lovely home. Sure, the walls -after 8 years- are still not painted and there’s a divot in the “wood” floor from moving the piano. And the patio door leaks, the outdoor socket doesn’t have juice, the bathroom sink handles are hard to turn, the dryer takes three days to dry and let’s not forget the refrigerator that seems to have a built-in self-dismantling mechanism.

Oh, boy. I think I just gave your dad a conniption. Maybe it’s best he doesn’t read this. The last thing he needs reminded of is all the things that don’t work. He is no Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor. Maybe that's a good thing.

My point however, is this: It’s the rough edges, the things that aren’t perfect, that makes us, well, us. God’s love is a perfect love and he loves us perfectly despite being perfectly imperfect. Despite are nicks and rough edges. We have our flaws, but we still have a purpose because He has a plan for us. His plan doesn't change just  because we mess up or things in our life aren't working the way they're supposed to. He had a plan for us before we were even born!! Now that deserves some exclamation points!!

Our homes are no different. Nobody’s house is perfect and neither are the people that hang their hats there or the guests that traipse in and out. It’s the love that is breathed between the walls and down the halls up the stairs and down that’s important. 

That love needs to be shown through action and words. Even when it’s not so easy to do. Especially when it’s not easy to do.

I like to look at every flaw as proof that I’m growing. Flaws or failure, whatever you want to call it, are necessary for growth. In fact, failure is one of the most important things you can do…if you learn from it. Something to think about as you and your family spend the day together watching movies and taking walks or whatever you have planned. Just love each other. You’re the greatest things that happened to each other so show it in all that you do. Spread that love all around. In your neighborhoods and communities. Even to strangers you pass. Be the light. His light.

It’s so good to be here again. My oh my, you three have grown so much! Not just physically, but spiritually. The fact that you choose to read devotions every night melts my heart. Way to go!

I missed you girls so much. Tomorrow is a day off for us. Although Santa’s version of a day off is working twelve hours instead of sixteen. It’s a busy time, what can I say? At least he and Mrs. Claus give us plenty of cookies! Cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now that's the life!

Happy December and Merry Christmas, girls! We love you dearly.

Until Next Time,

Snuggle Muffin, Chit-Chat McGee and Booty-Scoot

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Madison's 12th: A Basketball Poem


Madison,
Whether you shoot
Dribble
              Pass
Whether you miss, make
Or toss up an embarrassing
0h-my-how-could-she-miss-so-badly
Brick that bounces to
                           Outer space
Or just a simple swish
From the free throw line
You are
You will be
For always (and that’s a long time)
My forever star
Whether posting up for a three
Making a pass
                     Between the knees
Whether you criss-cross,
 cross-over
A win, a loss
It never matters to me
You’re my always and forever
Super-dazzling-dribbling
Star
Off the court
Not just on
Whether you miss, make, pass or shoot
With
5
4
3
2
1 second left
My eyes will be you
Not the rocket you just launched
From half-court
My eyes always follow the important things
The things I love, cherish and adore
A ball through a hoop
Off your fingertips
Will always make me
Shout, applaud
And rise to my feet (even if I spill my drink)
You’re my forever, always, never-ending
Superstar
Triple threat makes the defense wonder and think
Remember off the court (and on too)
Your triple threat lives between the head
              And heart
       On the empty (because He’s not there anymore)
Cross.
He’s the Father,
OUR Father
And the Son
And Holy Ghost
While there, his thoughts were on you
He spilled the blood of grace for you
Don’t forget this
This is more exciting than
An around-the-back-get-out-of-my-way-
Nothing-is-gonna-stop-me-
Drive to the hoop
Now if you dunk
Oh, man, look out
But, it’s the words from your mouth
That speak the heart
It’s the words that uplift
Like the arc on fade-away jump
Or a defensive swat or steal
That says,
No, no. Not on my court. Not today.
That shout out
“Hey, world! Look out!”
Because you’re not just
And will not only be just
A star on the floor boards
Setting fire to the scoreboard
You are and will be
My always and forever
SUPERSTAR
With all my love,
Daddy
Happy 12th !

Monday, December 25, 2017

North Pole Letters: Christmas Day 2017

December 25th 2017 – CHRISTMAS DAY!

Merry, Merry Christmas, Graybill girls! Has it really been a year already?! My how you have grown! It has been a joy and a pleasure watching you right smack dab in the middle of childhood learning, growing and discovering. We talk about the Graybill girls all the time up here. Mrs. Claus always pats her heart when you’re mentioned and says, “Such wonderful sweetness. If only I could bake a cookie that sweet.”

Do you know why we love and adore you so much? Well, one reason is we see the light of Christ shine in and through you. You’re still young and still growing, but we truly believe that amazing things are in store for you. Continue to keep Christ in your hearts. Everything we have and everything that happens to us, we need to express our gratitude to Him.

Thank you so much for you notes. I will certainly tell the elves how appreciative you are for the gifts. I am also appreciative that all three of you seem to know that it’s not about the gifts under the tree (or in stacks on the couch J), but the gift of our Savior being brought to earth to be close to us and to show us and to teach us how to live a life of grace, faith, love and kindness.

There is something I want to share with you that I think you know, but not every child does. Although my face is often associated with Christmas – and I really wish it wasn’t sometimes, or so much anyway – it’s not me that makes it Christmas. All I do is give. And I do that from the bottom of my heart. Nothing makes happier. Giving is Christmas, because, as you know, Christ was our gift. Salvation is our gift for believing in Him. I just try to do my part. You see, I’ve been around a long time. My giving started when I received a lot of money one day. And instead of spending it on myself, I used it to give to the less fortunate. Christ commanded us to extend kindness and grace to the less fortunate.

I do not heal. I do not answer prayers. I am not Almighty. I am simply a man that tries to live every day with Christ in my heart. It’s not always easy. We get caught up in bad choices or find ourselves in poisonous relationships and before you know it, we’re in a rut. And we get comfortable in that rut. Then we make excuses as to why the rut is okay. Girls, please listen when I say, keep the light of Christ on in your hearts every moment of every day. You’ll feel that light every time you show kindness or give something from your heart. It’s a wonderful feeling. Your spirit feels like it’s soaring with the angels. Hold onto to that feeling and spread it around. You are some of the most beautiful girls in the world. The world needs that beauty. Put more love into the world so people can capture it and pass it on.

Keep up the tremendous work in school. Mrs. Claus and I are blown away at how well all of you are doing. We love you with all of our hearts and our hearts are warmed by the thought that girls such as yourself are out there learning to be the light. Praise the Lord!

Don’t forget to take a moment today to acknowledge why it is we are opening and giving gifts. Too many people give out gifts and their hearts are black and cold because they don’t know the child behind it all. That’s where you can make a difference in someone’s life. Believe it!

Have a wonderful day! Say hello to your Uncle Ehren for me. He’s a good giver and a good man. You three are blessed to have such wonderful family.


With love from all of us at the North Pole,

-Santa

Sunday, December 24, 2017

North Pole Letters: December 24, 2017


December 24, 2017

I can’t believe it! I just can’t…believe it! It is actually for seriously for reals the day before Christmas. This is what I call bittersweet. Do you know what that means? It means there’s something both sad and happy about the same situation. I am through the roof (not yours) with excitement that tomorrow is Christmas, but deeply saddened because this is the last letter we elves get to write to you until next year. The Big Guy will write the letter tomorrow. All I can say is, on behalf of all the elves, that it has been a wonderful treat coming into your home these last few weeks. Continue to strive to fill it with nothing, but love, forgiveness, kindness and grace. It should be the goal of every Christian. We are imperfectly perfect, but are loved perfectly.

The smell of all your baking was still lingering in the air when we came into your home. Oh, it made all of us soooo hungry. So, we took some nibbles. Hope that’s okay. Everything was scrumptious. It was hard not to gobble it all up. Self-control. It’s important and not just with food, but with words we speak. Self-control can keep us from saying something that may hurt someone else’s feelings. It can even stop us from saying yucky things to ourselves.

You girls need to keep believing in yourselves. All three of you are amazing girls and God created you so uniquely and with a special purpose. I can’t wait to see what that is. Just these last couple of weeks have left us so impressed. Madison, your pots you made are magnificent. B, your determination with your artwork is wonderful and Sophie, we just your love language of giving. The beauty you all have within is even more breathtaking than your beauty on the outside. You are very special, very important young ladies. Always remember to give glory to God no matter what season of life you are going through.

In parting, I am going to leave you with some of my favorite lyrics from Christmas songs. Perhaps they will inspire you to write a poem or a story. If so, I hope to read it some day.

“It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth…”
“The stars in the bright sky looked down where He lay…”
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King…”
“A thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices…”

Do you know from which songs these are from? There’s your job for today.

Ladies, we love you and adore you and are so proud of you. You are truly blessed with so many things. Take time each day to stop and think about all the good things in your life. Hug each other today. Tell each other that you love them. It’d be nice to see more of that.

Merry Christmas!

Your sad-to-be-leaving Elves,


Cookie, Gumdrop, Skittle, Butternut Squash and Bing

Saturday, December 23, 2017

North Pole Letters: December 23, 2017

December 23, 2017

Good morning, angels! How was your first full day of winter break? Went by quickly didn’t it? That’s the problem with days off. They just fly by faster than Santa’s sleigh. You just have to make the most of every moment and hold on to those memories so one day you can tell your children about your Christmas-time traditions.

I can tell the train track has been in full-use. So glad you’re daddy got that out for you. We played with it for awhile. Hope you don't mind. I love trains. We actually have one up here at the Pole. We can ride anytime we want to. We have to earn our license, but after that, we ride all the time. Even since the Polar Express came out, we have special midnight rides where we sip hot chocolate. We often share stories of hope and we always walk away feeling uplifted…then of course we can’t get to sleep so…what do elves do when they can’t sleep? That’s right! Snowball fight!!

I have a friend in engineering that has helped me come up with the most amazing snowball ever. My team will surely be the champions this year. The grand prize is riding along with Santa on Christmas Eve! I. Can’t. Wait. I’ll be happy for whoever wins though because we were taught from a young age to be happy for other people’s successes. I’m sure you girls were taught the same. However, you can be taught something ‘till the cows come home, but if you don’t apply it to your everyday-life then you haven’t really learned it. Things like that have to be natural. Like manners – saying please and thank you.  I’m sure you girls will continue working on that, right? Because I know you’re parents have spent a lot of time talking about manners and extending gratitude and grace. Now you just need to apply it.

Did your mommy tell you what she did yesterday?! She paid for someone’s meal in the drive-thru. So generous. You have an amazing mommy. I know you already know that, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. J

Oh, no! I just got word that…well, it’s kind of funny actually. It seems like while I was mentioning the cows coming home, they actually CAME home…and they are IN Santa’s home right now! Oh, brother. The last time this happened it was an udder catastrophe. Forgive us, but we need to head back. It is always a pleasure being in your home. Please continue working on those kind words. We love you! Merry Christmas!

Your I-hope-the-cows-used-the-potty-before-barging-in Elves,


Sugar, Sweetness & Icing

Friday, December 22, 2017

North Pole Letters: December 22, 2017

December 22, 2017

Shhh! Listen. Can you hear it?! The sound of wrapping paper being shredded to bits. The pretend fire crackling on the TV. The scraping of the casserole dish being pulled out of the oven. Joy and laughter from hopefully all whose hearts participate in the true meaning of Christmas. All of those sounds are sounds of the best day of the year.

I almost want to say I enjoy the days leading up to Christmas more than Christmas Day itself. I guess because Christmas is just one day and society seems to think the season should end with an abrupt halt the day after. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still my favorite day! But, for me, all the anticipation-filled days leading up to the big day are so exciting. Generally people seem happier and more loving. But I think the music, especially certain songs like “Oh Holy Night,” make you stop and realize there is something bigger than all of us. And that something needs to be celebrated not just once a year and not just on Sundays. You know what I really hope for this Christmas, is for the people that believe – the lukewarm believers - to go to Christmas Eve service and allow themselves to be inspired to then not only to continue going to church, but to live a spiritual-filled life. So when asked, “How are you living?” they can answer, “with a grace-filled heart.”

I’m so glad you got to see the big guy last night! What a special moment! It sounds like you made some new memories while watching all of the lights and walking around despite the chill in the air. Trust me, that was nothing compared to what we endure up here.

Happy winter break! Have fun today watching Christmas movies or playing games or whatever you decide to do. I’m going to close out with a prayer if that’s okay.

Dear Heavenly Father,

We ask that this season upon which we celebrate You, that the hope, faith, joy and love that permanently intertwined within Christmas, evoke strong and powerful emotions within us. May those emotions fill us, inspire us to want to live a better life. May we not forget that a better life, although not a perfect one, not one without challenges, is a life where we see and feel the unending love that you have for each and every one of us. Fill our hearts, Lord, with compassion, with empathy where we are able to reflect your perfect love upon others. May our actions, our words, our thoughts be ignited by your truth. Allow that truth, Lord, to soak into our souls and withstand and fight past the hate, doubt and fear that surrounds us. For it wasn’t just a child that was in that manger, but also your Word put into motion.

In Your Precious Name,
Amen

Merry Christmas! We love you!

Your glad-it’s-winter-break-although-not-for-us-quite-yet Elves,


Rooster, Moo-Moo and Cookie (Yep, I came back!)