Tag Archives: christmas

He never stops giving

I was resting in bed tonight, head spinning with excitement knowing that our newly decorated tree and Christmas-a-fied house was on the other side of the bedroom door.

Finally I could stand it no more so I returned to the living room, opened all the windows, and now I sit facing the glow of tiny white lights while the rustle of palm leaves outside competes with the symphony of crickets (and a few guest appearances by the odd frog).

Gosh, I love this time of year.

Cliche? I don’t care. I love it. I so, so love it.

Today was a storm of a million emotions. Amidst the merriment of the holidays and the buzz that I get from the decorating kick-off, there’s so much going on in our little world right now that’s vying for headspace. Most of it good, but some uncomfortable.

At one point this afternoon I sat down for a few moments scrolling quickly through emails that I knew I’d not be responding to until later. But curious, I read a few anyway.

The first one I opened had some disappointing news. Understandable, and yet disappointing, deflating.

The second one was from a stranger. A woman who belongs to a people I’ve fallen in love with (PNG) who now lives in a place that I once called my own (USA).

We’ve been writing back and forth this last week and I teared up a few days ago when she told me her family thanked God for me and my family around their Thanksgiving table last week.

I don’t know her. But she knows Him.

And then today her email – the second email I opened – contained news so sweet and so personal and so unexpected I couldn’t control those big, hot tears, from rolling quickly down my cheeks.

You see, He is faithful. He really is so faithful.

And sometimes you think everything’s just fine and then grace comes in a million forms and you realize how much you really did need it after all.

I had grace in many different forms this week – friends arriving at my doorstep to mow our lawn and clean my floors, another bringing us dinner one night, another offering childcare, and now another (who’s face I can only imagine, and voice I do not know) with an offer so simple and lovely it makes me close my eyes and shake my head and whisper, “What did I do to deserve this kindness from a stranger? From anyone?”.

But it’s not a matter of “deserving” anything at all. I receive because they give. And they give because they want to. And they want to because they also know what it is to receive.

Because He never stops giving.

And that’s it – the way I want to start December and the preparation of my heart to celebrate – really celebrate Christ’s birth: I want to see Him around me, recognize Him as he weaves worlds together, hear Him through the noise, and breathe deeply of His of goodness.

I want to receive Him, all over again.

Thank you, dear grace-givers, for helping me to see Jesus. You represent Him so well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How has someone’s kindness been grace in your life lately? 

 

Love,
A

p.s. Forgot to use the timer tonight. Definitely blew the five minutes… probably doubled it, but who knows, who cares.


The present I almost got but didn’t (but might still)

Sometimes, you have no idea what you’d like for Christmas except things that aren’t really in the “Christmas gift” category:

  • a new car (ours is bursting at the seems)
  • a new microwave (we’re on the edge of our seat waiting for our current one to blow up)
  • new chair covers (we have toddlers)
  • a new phone (that doesn’t randomly turn off multiple times every day)
  • or, uh, LASIK eye surgery (so I never have to worry about putting my contacts in the wrong eyes ever again)

But you know those things won’t fit in your stocking (or the budget) and so you say something along the lines of, I don’t want or need anything. Just surprise me.

And then you’re out running an errand for something completely unrelated and you see it – the perfect gift at the perfect sale price andyouhavetohaveit.

So you snap a phone pic and you tell your husband about it, and make sure he knows to hurry because they only have three left….

Only to hear a few days later that he did hurry, but it was too good a gift at too great a price and so now there’s three other happy ladies this Christmas. (And just maybe he didn’t hurry quite enough.)

And he sends you a photo of another one that’s currently in stock, but even though it’s more expensive it’s not as pretty and you say, no thank you… I just liked that other one.

Of course by this time you’re wishing you would have just bought the too-good-to-be-true present yourself when you found it and had given it to your husband for him to give back to you. (But you know that takes some of the fun out of it for him and it’s not really the point of gift-giving and the whole spirit-of-Christmas thing, so… There’s that.)

And yet by now you’re borderline obsessed with the present you’re not going to get and so you google it and come up empty.

Until you find something similar on ebay, which leads you to something even more similar, which leads you to it.

And it’s nearly the same price so you do a happy dance and forward your husband the link and say things like, you’ll never believe what I just found and yeah, I still really want this thing if it’s okay and want me to just go ahead buy it for you for me?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you put in requests for Christmas (or birthdays)? Why or why not?

 

Love,
A


La-la-la-la-la (it’s another profound one, folks)

Oh, hi! It’s you.

I remembered about you. For a few days.

Then I forgot about you again.

Promptly.

I suppose new (renewed?) habits can be hard to find (again).

But now that I’m remembering again, let’s just say la-la-la-la-la, Happy Thanksgiving!

La-la-la-la-la Christmas is coming!

Buddy the Elf says, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”

And you know what?

I agree. Wholeheartedly.

So, la-la-la-la-la I’m sorry I forgot about you! La-la-la-la-la, I might try a little harder.

La-la-la-la-la, but I’m making no promises this time!

La-la-la-la-la, I’m kinda excited about December!

La-la-la-la-la, it’s past my bedtime!

And in case  you’re grumpy today, I’ll leave you with another gem from everybody’s favorite elf that they love to hate or hate to love: “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.” (-Buddy)

The end.

STOP.

Q for you: Do you like singing? Wait, better question, do you like singing Christmas carols? #pleasesayyes 

Love,
A


The “perfect” holiday season

Thanksgiving is in a few days and I’m officially excited for Christmas.

Around here that means higher electricity bills (hello, AC!) and less clothes. It means more sweat and more swimming. It means uglier hair and more beautiful evening walks.

Every year we long for our holidays to be “the best ever” and it’s easy to make ourselves crazy with wanting our homes and tables and gifts and trees to look like something out of Martha Stewart. (And don’t get me wrong, I love prettiness all around.)

But I refuse to pursue “pretty” at the expense of “perfect”.

Because perfect holidays don’t come looking like a magazine spread.

Perfect holidays come when there is enough time and space and energy to enjoy the ones we love.

Sometimes that comes with a gorgeous party spread laid out around a pinterest-worthy centerpiece and other times that comes with a backyard BBQ and impromptu game of cricket while dining on picnic wear.

Either way, perfect is achievable. As long as we have the right idea of perfect. 

 

Q for you: Do you stress about having the “perfect” holidays?

 

Love,
A

 


Every time we take up our cross

“Every time we take up our cross — we take weight off someone else.” -Ann Voskamp

How often do I view the “taking up of my cross” as a burden to myself? And yet really, it’s not a burden but a blessing.

Jesus said, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Anyone who’s ever been a part of a Christmas celebration can attest to the truth of his statement.

And so taking up my cross so that I can bare the weight of someone else’s? It’s not a burden. It’s a gift given to another.

Which is ultimately a gift given to me.

And all of it is a gift given to HIM.

So hard to remember when we allow the daily grind to blur our vision.

I want to take up my cross, so someone else won’t have to.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you been challenged to take up your cross lately? Did it feel like a burden or a gift?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Do you have rules for yourself that you sometimes wish you didn’t?

Recently I found a stack of thank you cards that I never finished. Some are from Levi’s birthday (January). THe others are from Christmas.

Can I just say how devastating this is?

I have a personal value that gifts should always be acknowledged by a thank you card. It’s something I try to always do.

For both of these occasions I printed out cute cards that I made myself. (Put a little effort into it already, you know?)

I have my lists of who needs to be thanked.

And then they got buried under the mounds of other stuff in that one cubby hole in my office shelves that I avoid that’s full of things to be filed and paperwork to sort out…

and never saw the light of day again until… later.

Much later.

Now we are looking at three and four months late.

What do I do?

Chalk it up as a thank you fail and move on?

Of write the cards with a “better late than never” mentality? (Almost more embarassing, I think?)

Would people be blessed to receive a thank you this far down the track? Or is that just weird.

I’m seriously considering moving on… but then there’s this thing. This thing I have about doing them.

Ugh.

Does this happen to anyone else? Do you have “rules” for yourself that you sometimes wish you didn’t but that you also don’t want to give up because you think they;re important? (And was that a long, non-sensical sentence, or what?)

Help me.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What’s one of your personal “things” that you just have to do… but sometimes with you didn’t?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited