Made for another world

"If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Some thoughts...

I hope your Christmas celebration has been restful and satisfying. Our time during this holiday break has been sweetly spent as a family. I've enjoyed my children and the quiet times we've shared. We've appreciated having Chris home, eating yummy food, snuggling down during rainy weather. 


Now in the last couple of days as Chris has gone back to work, and we're telling the Christmas season goodbye, the weather has changed. The sun has come out and warmed us, waking us from our quiet cocoon. Yesterday was spent in the sand and water of the bay, what a treat. Today was spent at the park and library and later making fresh squeezed lemonade, from local lemons.


In this new season of our lives I'm constantly turning my ear to catch traces of the Father's voice leading. I find the need to reflect and quiet my heart, heal from old wounds, catch a fresh vision. Interestingly it seems that quiet time is being enforced by my Parent, to some degree. 


I struggle to let loose the voice I was carving out in blog land, connections I've enjoyed making, lessons learned. It's antithetical to me to be less visible and consistent as I work on completing my book and will need a platform from which to present it. And I will sorely miss the encouragement I find through your blogs chronicling your journey towards godliness, shared with candor and grace.


However, I don't have much choice. My own computer is showing it's age and is unable to connect to the internet anymore. My access will be limited to the occasional use of my husband's computer. So I'm not sure how frequently I will be posting or visiting your sites. Hopefully this situation is temporary, but it's hard to tell.


In the meantime, let me say, may "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace," in this New Year! (Numbers 6:24-26)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Blessing

 Merry Christmas to you my dear family, friends, and cyber sisters!
 As you celebrate the Father's love may you rest on the assurance of his faithfulness.
May joy permeate the corners of your soul, filling your conversation, and quiet moments.

 May the wonder of the incarnation fill you with humble gratitude.
 May peace blanket your days and nights with the reassurance of God's presence.
And may the glorious song of love that rang out over Bethlehem hills so many years ago ring clear across your heart! Good news, your God loves you, he is with you, redeeming you. All at a cost to himself. What kind of love is this?! Wonder, ponder, reflect on such a gift. Love for love's sake!
May your Christmas be a time of worship and your New Year seasoned with undeserved grace!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Father's heart

Things have been quiet around here. The kids and I have nestled down, enjoying rainy days inside together as I nurse a cold. I'm thankful for the quiet time, time for resting, pondering, praying.

Have you ever noticed when something has been drawn to your attention and weighs heavily on your mind it crops up everywhere you look? I've experienced that lately.

I have to confess my annoyance over certain passages in the bible in the past. I'd explain them away or ignore them all together. Perhaps I wasn't mature enough to understand or respond, I should have acknowledged my shortcoming but I argued instead.

One such passage is James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Certainly "look after" doesn't necessarily mean adopt, there are many ways to be involved in caring for the needy. But I'm learning the closer we come to a need, the more we identify with another's brokenness, the more our hearts are changed. 

Instead of arguing I'm learning. I'm learning caring for orphan's isn't a burden, it's a gift. In seeing ourselves as the spiritual orphans we were compassion flows from a grateful heart. I'm learning that the truth of adoption is at the heart of the gospel and is the underlying message of more scripture than I had realized. I'm learning that partnering with Jesus in faith is always better than arguing with him and protecting our own self interest. Scary stuff!

What has God laid on your heart lately? Are you fighting him or joining him? Praise God for his patience and faithfulness as we learn to listen to his voice!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Beauty Through my Eyes: If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking by Emily Dickinson

 "Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."Ralph Waldo Emerson

Taking time for beauty makes us better; whether observing the beauty of creation, being moved by great music, seeing the world through poetry or being transported by a painting. There is joy to be found in the organic rhythm of beauty all around us. The more we open ourselves to appreciating beauty the more we will see it. Let me share with you a taste of the beautiful, I hope it will touch and enrich your heart.
  If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
by Emily Dickinson

Advent - a season of JOY


This week we light the forth advent candle. These candles help us to remember the hope, peace, love, and joy found in God that were proclaimed through Jesus' birth. These weeks leading up to Christmas Day are a great time for reflecting on the first coming of the Messiah and our hopeful expectation of His return.

The shepherds in Bethlehem experienced great joy when the Angel announced, “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David,” Luke 2:10-11. After they had gone to see this small Savior Luke 2:20 says, “the shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child, just as the angel had said.”

Like the shepherds, joy naturally flows out of our hearts when we encounter the saving power of Jesus in our own lives. As we stand in wonder of what we once were and what we are in him today, we have reason to rejoice! Once we were lost and now we're found, once an enemy and now a friend, once brokenhearted and now made whole. And the promise of Jesus' coming again gives us reason to live in expectant joy!

May we make time to joyfully celebrate the gift of Jesus and share the wonderful news with those around us.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Connection

It's time to link up with the Gypsy Mama, today we're writing for five minutes on; Connected. 

Go
On the other side of the world are small children without home and comfort, with needs and hopes. Far across oceans and land, waits an orphan that I long to hear call me mama. Their eyes are tilted almonds, their bodies flexible, their little minds challenged, some with heart problems and tummy problems. Down syndrome beauties. 

Between these little hearts and my fast beating one stretches a cord of supernatural love, connecting us. A cord of prayer, a cord of hope, a cord of life. 

The connecting cord holds strong, not because of my flimsy, stary-eyed love. But because of the great, pumping, rhythmic beat of cosmic Love's song. Sung over you, sung over me. And I'm beginning to see it, our Father's love is so deep and wide, so vast, as to embrace the tiny broken victims, the care givers who don't care, and people like me who for years have walked in calloused oblivion.

"The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

Can you hear his song, singing over you, singing over the orphan, the drug addict, the movie star, the politician, the world? His heart connects us in our great need, in his great love.

Stop 

Chris and I have begun exploring the possibility of international adoption. When I began thinking about adoption months ago I had imagined in-state adoption, due to cost and practicality. However, my heart longs to adopt a child with Down syndrome (DS) and honestly they are hard to adopt in America. The reason being that in America prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome typically results in abortion or the family chooses to keep the baby. There are waiting lists in America for a DS baby. In Eastern European countries children with Down syndrome are routinely placed in orphanages at birth, they are available and needy now.

This is a God sized task, but one I feel him calling us to. To obey we will need help; prayer, funds, support and encouragement. Will you join us now in praying? We would love your prayer for God's direction and confidence in this matter. We will need a new vehicle as our family grows. And of course there's the cost, which is substantial. I'm excited to see God's provision as he answers prayer and gets the glory for rescuing a precious little one! 

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27

Psalm 68:5-6, "Father to the fatherless, defender of widows - this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sister to Sister: Love

Welcome to Sister to Sister! The opportunity for you to write words of truth and honesty that bring encouragement to other sisters. Feel free to link up a story, a lesson, a quote, a song or a scripture that's meaningful to you. Be creative, be expressive, be real.

"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." Ephesians 4:16

Here's how it works:
* Every week I'll share a word I'm focusing on. If you'd like to join me in posting on that topic, wonderful. If not, link up with an encouraging post you'd like to share.

* Link up bellow and spread the love! Visit other sister's posts and let them know what their words mean to you!

*Grab the code for the Sister to Sister link up button from the sidebar to the right, or copy and past the graphic to the left linking this post to it, and invite others to join.

Are you ready? Join me this week in inspiring other women with your thoughts on:
Love... 
Yeah, I know, that's an insanely broad topic for a little blog post. But it's the thorn that's been needling me. God is speaking to me and I'm all ears. For a couple of weeks phrases, blog posts,  bible verses, quotes, "chance" encounters have been tumbling together and forming a message.  

Things like "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:" 2 Corinthians 5:18

Or "The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 

Or "Sometimes I would like to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid He may ask me the same question." Anonymous. 

Or this morning's devotion, "As I prayed I realized  that God isn't the one who is absent in Haiti or any other part of the world. It may only seem that way because so many of us are absent, withholding our prayers because or our little faith, withholding out gifts because of our little love." Immanuel; A Daily Guide to Reclaiming Christmas.

I know about love, I need love, I've received love, I'm thankful for love. But I'm starting to wonder if I live it. If love is just a conversation or if it's worked it's way down into my bones and changed how I act. 
God's message to me is clear, "you've learned now it's time to obey, love isn't love unless it's put into action, follow my example." I'm digging deep and asking Jesus to love through me those he wants to love.  The actions look different for each of us, the imperative is we act. 

It isn't as if I've never shown mercy, bought a meal for someone who's hungry, encouraged the lonely, prayed for the discouraged, sponsored poor children. Those are great actions but I'm sensing a change, a change in lifestyle. 

God is doing a new thing and insisting that I continue to grow up. He's challenging and nudging and calling me to go deeper and live more boldly. He's giving me his eyes and his heart. Instinctively I know that as I push in I will understand Jesus' heart of love more richly than ever before.

Who do you struggle to love? How do you pour out the love that you've received from Christ?


{Linking up with the Grace Cafe. Stop by and read about another kind of love, the devotion of Ruth.}

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Love's heart

Where am I going? What is this journey I'm on? This path marked with challenges, on the way to Love's home, is an unexpected grace. The truth I've learned before has become a link in a chain, leading to what's to come. Grace becomes stale and doesn't store well. It's best gathered fresh.

In the past my blood raced fast in passion for the sisterhood. Finding my place in the circle of women, loving and being loved. And while the truth of life lived together and embracing the sisterhood so that we all "grow up in Christ"(Ephesians 4) hasn't changed, my passion is swirling and shifting and taking on a new form. I'm straining my ear to hear the variation of notes in the tune.

I'm finding the truths of the last season are becoming stones in the altar of worship and sacrifice that God is fashioning in my life. This season will have new stones, new truth, new grace. Lately Jesus is stirring my heart in compassion for some of the most broken and disregarded of the world.

I recently found two beautiful blogs by women weaving stories that move me. First Stumbo Family Story by Ellen Stumbo and The Blessing of Verity by Susanna Musser. I encourage you to visit and be humbled, make sure tissues are nearby!

And I see the link that is forming between sisterhood and compassion, community and action. I was privileged to write a post about Jennifer, my dear friend with Down Syndrome, a few months ago. The novel I'm writing weaves the love of sisters and the journey of a mother with a Down Syndrome child together in a story of sweet grace. The blogs I mentioned above are written by mothers caring for biological children with Down Syndrome and adopted children with special needs. Coincidence? Never.

I boldly asked God not long ago to give me eyes and a heart that sees and values what he does. I didn't know what that would look like at the time, but shapes are coming into focus and I see broken humanity, in need of mercy, becoming beautiful at his loving touch. I hope you'll continue to travel with me on this journey to Love's heart. I'm blessed by so many of you to witness the journey Love has you on as we journey home together! What is God doing in your heart and life lately?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Advent - a season of LOVE

This third week of advent we light the pink candle. These candles help us to remember the hope, peace, love, and joy found in God that were proclaimed through Jesus' birth. These weeks leading up to Christmas Day are a great time for reflecting on the first coming of the Messiah and our hopeful expectation of His return.

The Scriptures tell us in John1:14 and 3:16-17 “So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father… For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it but to save it.”

Every heart longs for love. At just the right moment in the flow of time God sent his Son to express his deep love for us. How can we imagine the sacrificial gift of love that was given when God the Son, in obedience to the Father’s will, wrapped himself in flesh and stepped into our world? His death was in his hands and our salvation was his purpose. Our hearts can be satisfied by his love alone. And we learn how to love one another through his example.

May we thank him today for his generous gift of love that brings salvation and purpose to our hearts.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Color

I'm joining up with The Gypsy Mama this morning to splatter words on a page of delight. What a fabulous prompt she has for us this Five Minute Friday, looking forward to reading lots of great posts on: Color

Go:

I'm ashamed, I turn my eyes away from the red pain oozing from the chest of my fellow man. It is inconvenient and uncomfortable to see the colors of mercy. Colors undetectable with the naked eye of man. Colors only visible through the white hot searing presence of the Holy Spirit.

What could possibly compel me to turn and face a landscape gray with sin, black with despair, red with anger? Mercy, that has painted my life with colors I never imagined existed. Mercy I've received but all too often hold tightly to, choking out the color and life.

Mercy regains it's brilliance as it's released from my fingers, free to flow into a teeth gritted black heart. Can I live in the shadows of indifference, painting with my brush of fear? Will I step into the dazzling kaleidoscope that is flung wide by mercy?

Stop
Too often it's easy to tune the suffering of the world out. How is our heart growing to be more like Christ's if we shut our ears to the needs of our fellow humans, instead of meeting them with compassion? I am so not capable of mercy on that scale, it often costs more than I'm willing to give. But if I believe resurrection power is available for those who have faith, I don't have to be capable in myself. Does showing mercy to broken, needy people intimidate you? How do you deal with that fear?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sister to Sister: Significance

Welcome to Sister to Sister! The opportunity for you to write words of truth and honesty that bring encouragement to other sisters. Feel free to link up a story, a lesson, a quote, a song or a scripture that's meaningful to you. Be creative, be expressive, be real.

"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." Ephesians 4:16

Here's how it works:
* Every week I'll share a word I'm focusing on. If you'd like to join me in posting on that topic, wonderful. If not, link up with an encouraging post you'd like to share.

* Link up bellow and spread the love! Visit other sister's posts and let them know what their words mean to you!

*Grab the code for the Sister to Sister link up button from the sidebar to the right, or copy and past the graphic to the left linking this post to it, and invite others to join.

Are you ready? Join me this week in inspiring other women with your thoughts on:
Significance...

Do you ever feel insignificant? Yeah, me too. 

I had the recent pleasure of taking part in a Beth Moore conference that inadvertently spoke to me about worth. I love Beth Moore, the way she pours out her gift for the good of the church is stunning. It's hard for me not to be amazed by her and wish I had even an ounce of her ability.

At one point she walked up into the audience. I was pretty far away and had a hard time picking her out in the crowd. I used the zoom on my camera to see her better and take this picture. What struck me is how indistinguishable she really is from everyone else at that distance.
She was just a person in the crowd, she could have been anyone, a person just like me. I was reminded that God isn't looking for Beth Moore's, he's looking for the humble, the faithful. Beth Moore isn't more significant than God's other children; she may be more obedient or passionate, but not more important. God takes people who are nobodies, broken and needy, and gives them his power for the good of his church. Beth Moore is significant because God is merciful.

The same power that fuels Beth's spiritual gift fuels ours as well. Significance lies not with us but with God. Of course I know that, I just forget.

And then God reminds me that "there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. However, he has given each one of us a special gift through the generosity of Christ." Ephesians 4:4-7

I'm not called to be Beth Moore, or anyone else, and neither are you. Our significance is unlocked by the power of a grateful heart. A heart that embraces the hope and gifting we've been given, all for God's glory.

Today let's thank God for his generosity in placing us in the body just where he wants us, for gifting us, for living through us, for giving us hope!

{To read about more significant women visit The Grace Cafe}

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas in Heaven - Every Day Worship

“In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back…Day after day and night after night they keep on saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty – the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Whenever the living beings give glory and honor and thanks to the one sitting on the throne, the one who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down and worship the one who lives forever and ever. And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything, and it is for your pleasure that they exist and were created.”” Revelation 4:6b, 8b-11.
In heaven, Christmas is not a special holiday. That may surprise you but I believe it's true. Everyone in heaven does that day what they did the day before and what they will do the day after. They completely and wholly worship the Father, the Spirit, and the Lamb that was born to die. God is worshiped perfectly by his servants in heaven; he can’t be worshiped more or less. As special as Christmas is to us it was not ordained by God to be observed, as communion and gathering on Sunday were.

Christmas is a wonderful, beautiful time to remember the gracious gift the Father sent to this needy world, his beloved Son! However, as we engage in the Christmas season may we remember that every day should be a day of worship to the Father for his gift of love. May we strive daily to worship the Lamb for his sacrifice and offer our praise with our whole selves. Even on earth God is not deserving of praise on one day more than another. So let’s not save our times of special reflection or thanks just for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter. Let's strive to be mindful that we were created for God’s pleasure and we can live in the joy and expression of worship every day of the year. We are most satisfied when God is glorified in our lives!


How do you express worship in your life? Is God worthy of praise every day?
{Reposted from December 2008}

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Enough

Enough. It's a word that rings in my ears of late. Clanging against insecurity, stirring up longing. Am I enough, do I have enough, what is enough?

Quite honestly the answer is no. Nothing is enough, satisfying, or fulfilling; at least not permanently. A quote from a book I love keeps floating to the surface of these messy thoughts. Roughly it says 'life doesn't justify the living, this world is not enough.' It's a concept explored in Mark Buchanan's book "Things Unseen."

Everyday I'm faced with the option of looking in the mirror and pulling on the masks and facades to cover up the lack I find staring back at me.

The question of enough leads down the slippery slope of idolatry. We addictively shove things into the gaping hole of need or pose as savior to those near us with great need themselves.

But Jesus answers with gentle tones of understanding. He offered himself, the only remedy. Believing that anything other than Jesus is enough for our deepest longings and short comings is a ticket to a life of disappointments.

Our marriages, our beauty, homes, children, our relationships, talents, projects, blogs, everything, will leave us disappointed with a gnawing hunger in our hearts and resentment building in our bones.

God is so kind, he uses our hungry dissatisfaction to propel us in search of him. So, in the midst of our restless holiday season, our ever seeking, our not enough, lets call out, "come Lord Jesus and satisfy us today, be our Enough!"

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will - to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves," Ephesians 1:3-6. Enough!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent - a season of PEACE

Today we begin the second week of advent, remembering the hope Jesus' birth brought to our dark world. The longing of every needy heart was fulfilled in that one moment.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen! Isaiah 9:6-7

The Israelites of Isaiah's day were longing for peace, both personally and as a nation. Peace was made possible in the coming of Jesus, the High King, powerful to reign. In our own world today glimpses of peace are fragile and precious. Peace in our own life can elude us. However, wherever a heart kneels in submission to the King of Heaven peace is possible.

May you be comforted by the peace Jesus brings to your heart as he rules as Lord today. While looking forward with anticipation to the day of his final earthly reign!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Remember Me?

{Today I'm thankful to have Shannon Milholland from Jesus and My Orange Juice sharing her heart with us today! I am always refreshed by the words God speaks through her. Her recent posts on prayer, which she has turned into a 30 day Prayer Guide, have so encouraged me; I invite you to visit her blog to download this great resource here! Also, I'm sharing at Shannon's blog, so stop by to hear what's on my heart.}

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness. Deuteronomy 8:2 

Unqualified. Unable. These were the words that rang in my head when God first stirred in my heart to write a prayer guide. Prayer has always been what I felt “worst” at when it came to being a Christian. Why would God ask me to pen a work on which I had no expertise?

So He would get all the glory.

Over the last three months I’ve been writing a 30 day prayer guide. Its format is different than any I’ve seen. Because I couldn’t rely on my instinct, even the structure and layout was something I asked God about.

In fact, I asked Him for every word. I KNEW I wasn’t qualified so I had to go to the One who is. Now don’t get me wrong, I pray at the start of every writing assignment but this was different. I literally asked God, begged Him really, to give me the words for His people. I had no words.

I have spent three months in this position with God. In this place of total dependency my faith has grown deep roots because my heart is firmly planted in Him.

So what now? What if He asks me to do something next that I feel a measure of confidence about? I will remember.

During this busy season where it’s so easy for me to neglect time with Him, I will remember. 

During this time when I have more “to dos” than I have energy, I will remember.

I will remember among festooned trees, frosted cookies, frequent parties and festive wrappings.

Sweet sister, won’t you join me and remember Him too?  
Shannon is the author of Jesus & My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary life. She finds joy among miles of carpools and piles of laundry and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. Join the conversation at Jesus & My Orange Juice where God shows up in her everyday life.

When not writing, you can find Shannon speaking to audiences with a message of hope and encouragement. Straight forward about her own struggles, Shannon is a compassionate advocate fighting for victory in the lives of her audience. Read more at www.shannonmilholland.com.

You can also connect with Shannon on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sister to Sister: Anticipation

Welcome to Sister to Sister! The opportunity for you to write words of truth and honesty that bring encouragement to other sisters. Feel free to link up a story, a lesson, a quote, a song or a scripture that's meaningful to you. Be creative, be expressive, be real.

"He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love." Ephesians 4:16

Here's how it works:
* Every week I'll share a word I'm focusing on. If you'd like to join me in posting on that topic, wonderful. If not, link up with an encouraging post you'd like to share.

* Link up bellow and spread the love! Visit other sister's posts and let them know what their words mean to you!

*Grab the code for the Sister to Sister link up button from the sidebar to the right, or copy and past the graphic to the left linking this post to it, and invite others to join.

Are you ready? Join me this week in inspiring other women with your thoughts on:
Anticipation...

I love sharing the joys of the Christmas season with my children. Nothing tickles me about this time of year like watching an old tradition come alive through the window of fresh eyes. Sharing memories and making new ones strings our hearts together like a line of twinkling lights and for just a moment I'm eight again.

I recall the feeling that washed over me in delicious tingly waves as a child, anticipation. It felt as if my skin would burst with excitement I couldn't contain. I know I asked my mother a hundred times "how long 'til Christmas?" The month that seemed to crawl along now comes and goes in a blur.

My children's same delighted anticipation causes me to pause and wonder. What do I anticipate now? In this holiday season their whole focus is on the coming day. Maggie writes letters to Santa and sings Jingle Bells, endlessly. Max talks about what will be in his stocking and where he'll sit to open presents and makes a list of toys. They're preparing for, savoring, anticipating what they know is ahead.

And again I ask, what do I anticipate? Emmanuel, God with us. Is there a more beautiful name? That's what I anticipate. The day when this homesickness will find it's cure and I'll see my Emmanuel, God with us face to face. I let the anticipation of that breathtaking thought wash over me as I celebrate His first coming and long for His next. Even so Lord Jesus come! (Rev. 22:20)

There are many wonderful things to anticipate in our lives; the birth of a baby, a much needed vacation, the purchase of a home. What are you anticipating?