Friday, December 20, 2013


It sits under the tree, beautiful, unopened, new.  A gift holds wonder and hope of good things wrapped up inside.  The familiar scent of pine triggers memories of Christmas's past. The photos remind us of how time marches on as children grow from year to year.  Rolls of gift wrap lean against the wall, all silvery and red and white.

Gingerbread cookies with Red Hots buttons and pink frosting smiles sit on the counter.  Carols play endlessly as we go the extra mile to create an ambiance of the season with soft slippers, fires lit in the fire place and a warm cup of something.


There have been concerts and parades and parties; too many cookies and maybe a few extra pounds. 


Christmas cards have been mailed. Anticipation mounts at the thought of gathering with loved ones and the joy on faces as gifts are opened.  It all really is magical.

And then, there.  
Beautifully displayed, but perhaps easily forgotten, waits the Nativity. 

It sits plain and peaceful and calm in stark contrast to the lights and tinsel.  And isn't that what the gospel is?  Simple and beautiful.  It's the love story that began in the garden and continues even now, weaving our names right into it.  What a wondrous and humbling thought!  Wonder.  What is it and how do I get it?

Wonder is the thought that the God of the universe went to great lengths to make a way that I can know Him.  And so you can know Him.  And truly, I am in awe ... when I slow enough to acknowledge it.  That a King left splendor to be born in the most unlikely of places - a barn in Bethlehem.  The wonder of Christmas is EmmanuelGod is with usLove came down to meet us. Here.  Where we are. This is the Gift that has been prepared for us since creation.   

"Wonder and worship can only grow out of smallness ... When I stand before immensity that heightens my smallness, I have never felt sadness.  Only burgeoning wonder. - Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift
Jesse Tree

So, as we enjoy the glitter and twinkle and celebration, let's slow in the next few days to marvel at the greatest gift of Christmas.  Let's not let this Christmas pass without preaching the gospel to ourselves - just listen to the words of the carols we sing:

O Come, Emmanuel
Joy to the World
O Holy Night 
The First Noel

Let's let the true Gift of Christmas cause us to wonder and worship.  O come let us adore Him.

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas.
Love, Liv 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I am looking forward to very special times with friends and family this month.  The calendar is filled with plans and parties.  Our home will soon be lit up with the glow of Christmas lights and candles and the scent of spices and cookies.  All of these things are part of what make the season special and I plan to fully enjoy the festivities!


I defy the rushing and stress and trying to cram as much Christmas as possible into 25 short days, while driving myself and my family crazy.

Here are eight ways I am being intentionally defiant against the maddening pace of the season:

1) THIS Advent devotional:

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
"This, this, is the love story that's been coming for you since the beginning. It is possible for you to miss it.  To brush past it, to rush through it, to not see how it comes for you up over the edges of everything, quiet and unassuming and miraculous--how every page of the Word has been writing it, reaching for you, coming for you."
2) Hold my plans loosely.  I like my lists.  I love feeling organized ... but life happens.  I need to learn to let  my lists be a tool and not a task master.  How often have I become stressed and angry because things didn't go as planned?

3) Only say yes to what I want to.  What is most important to me?

4) Feeling rushed is what makes me stress.  I REFUSE TO RUSH

5) The four gift rule (not including stockings)


6) Rest days scheduled on my calendar

7) Intentionally taking moments to enjoy my favorite things of the season:
    My family
    A warm cup of something
    Candle light
    Christmas Carols
    The fire place
    Fuzzy slippers
    The Nutcracker

Gingerbread men

8) Last and most important:  remembering that it's not about me.  I want to notice the seemingly insignificant.  The needy.  The broken.  The unlovable.  I want to find the beauty in the messy. 

How will you defy the manic pace of the season? 

Wishing you lots of moments of rest and wonder!
Love, Liv