The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

grinchIt’s wonderful and fun and smells like peppermint and cinnamon. You can’t help but be in a good mood! After all, it’s Christmas, right!?

This may seem pessimistic, but more than likely, there’s something hiding under that cheery holiday smile. Maybe it’s disappointment or pain. Spending¬†Christmas without a loved one. It could be any number of things.

I want to talk today about one of the “Grinches” that can easily steal away our Christmas spirit and how you can keep him out of your life.

Expectations

Let’s be real. I have these crazy expectations around Christmas. It’s not about other people or gifts or even the weather (well, that’s not exactly true). But I have expectations for myself.

I’m going to spread joy and make people’s day. I’ll be on top of things. I’ll make it perfect.

Maybe you get that way too. And then there’s that sick feeling in your stomach when you miserably fail at perfection. I get it. And I hate it.

All those months of letting God speak to me and change me into someone who’s content and confident in Him. And then a few days into the season, BAM. I found myself crying in the car on the way home from a Christmas Eve service.

Why?

Because I’d failed myself. I had these stupid expectations that I could be someone who was good at everything. I could be the girl who seems invincible, who’s always smiling and who people love to be around.

Let me tell you a secret; I can’t be that person all the time. It’s exhausting.

But the fact that things don’t feel right, and there may be legitimate pain under the surface, doesn’t stop the power of God.

I love how the apostle Paul writes; “But He said to me ¬†‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, that the power of God may rest upon me.”

You see? When we have these expectations, we fail, they fail, the world fails. But aren’t we all a bunch of failures anyway? Without the grace of God, we’re out on the first strike.

But because of His grace, it doesn’t matter whether you have a Pinterest perfect Christmas, or you can’t get the tree to stand up right.

Because of His grace, we can show grace to others knowing that we’re all imperfect.

Because of His grace… Jesus.

Jesus. Everything about Christmas is about Him. Our lives; are they not about Him too? Our fears and failures; are they not accepted and forgiven by Him? Our hurt and heartache; can it not be healed by Him?

Jesus. Not only is He the “reason for the season”. He’s the key to our lock. He’s the answer to our questions. He’s the baby to our manger. He’s the star to our night. He’s the Christ to our Christmas.

I want to wish a very Merry Christmas to all my wonderful readers!

May the Lord bless you and your families this holiday season!

Love and blessings,

Moriah

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Have you had a “Grinch” come to steal your Christmas before? What expectations can you give up this year because of grace?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

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Worship

For our challenge this week I want to address this question: What does worship look like?

The woman at the well asked Jesus a similar question; where should we worship?
His response?

Don’t worship here or there. That’s not important. But worship in spirit and truth. That is what God desires.

I wondered for the longest time, “what is this ‘spirit and truth’ He is talking about?” This last week, I think I’ve accquired a deeper understanding of what this is and what it looks like. My cross country coach talks a lot about worship, and I want to share a few things that stem from some of his recent teaching on it.

So we have to ask the big question; What does that look like in normal, everyday life? Here are a couple of ideas…

It starts with your attitude; an attitude of worship that exemplifies itself in everything we say and do.

Radiate His joy – Honestly, I’m not a pro at this. My normal thinking face appears to some people as anxious or upset. But there are ways to radiate joy that have nothing to do with that bright yellow, smiley face we all automatically think of. Walking through the grocery store a few days ago, I was struck with a thought. You remember that “love your neighbor as yourself” passage, to which the lawyer replies “who is my neighbor?”. Well, contemplating that, I wondered what difference it would make if we literally love everyone around us as ourselves. And I mean “literally” in the literal sense of the word ūüėČ This takes humility and sensitivity, but I think the closer we get to that, the brighter our light will shine. If we can just love on the people around us, value them and brighten their day a little, that is one way to worship our Creator. If putting this in action doesn’t put a smile on your face, I think you may need help.

Live like it’s your last day – …or if it helps, live like it’s your family member, friend, co-worker’s last day. You pass someone on the street. It’s their last day. What do you do? How do you treat them differently? This is similar to what we were talking about earlier, but we’re going to take it a bit further. I know several people who have gone through some very tragic losses among their loved ones. Sickness, accidents and death can be very depressing. But I think they can also serve as a “reality check” for a lot of people. A common theme that I’ve heard and seen from grieving family members and friends is this; live every day like it’s your last. Picture it in your mind. What would you say or do differently?

Words & Meditation – My older brother, seeing that I was struggling with anxiety, once challenged me to think and speak 10% of what I normally do. That’s 90% less than I’m used to, and trust me, that’s really difficult. Out of the heart, the mouth speaks, and too often for me, that had been complaining, arguing and whatnot. I was challenged to think about the words I say and the thoughts that consume me and ask myself whether or not those were of true importance. Even King David prayed “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Let us pray that prayer every day.

The act of worshiping “in Spirit and in truth” may mean different things to different people. But I see it as a fullness of Christ that is lived out in a very real way and brings glory to God.

What stands between us and a life full of worship?
What is another way that you can worship God throughout your day?
Are there steps that you can take to cut out negativity in your thought life?

Blessings,

Moriah

Refresh

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There is a little spot in the woods, not far from my home; a fortress, if you will, where I periodically retreat from my busy life to reflect on my thoughts, my feelings and my God.

Most times, I can notice the places where it’s more overgrown since my last visit. Like my heart, overgrown with troubles and concerns, sometimes heartache.

But I go there, bible clutched in hand, to be refreshed by my Savior, comforted by His promises and calmed in my soul by His presence.

A few months ago, I etched some of these promises into large rocks nearby. “You, oh Lord, are my strength.”, “My God is a refuge for the weak.”, etc. They are reminders, when I need them the most, of God’s faithfulness and unfailing love.

Sometimes we girls long for a man in our lives (Admit it. You know what I’m talking about.) Someone to hold us, make us feel special and just to be there.

I want to tell you right now, no matter how cliche it might sound, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that will make you feel more special and loved than to have God right there with you, speaking to your heart and reminding you of His everlasting, undying love for you.

To have a God who sees and knows all things, look into your heart and see all the hurts and mistakes, and still love you infinitely more than any human could. He sacrificed Himself so that we could have life with Him forever.

But that life doesn’t start when we get to heaven, it starts the moment you entrust yourself to God and say “Lord, take me, fill me and use me.” From then on, you can have that joyful communion with God and experience that surreal peace.

Sometimes we have to step away from burdensome cares and haunting obligations, like Jesus did when He went to the mountains to pray.

A little time alone, a little fresh air, a bible, maybe bring a pen and some paper. Who knows what God might do in your heart if you give Him the chance.

I want to leave you with this verse from Jeremiah 31:25 “For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.”

Blessings,
Moriah

Life’s Path

Life’s Path
by Perry Boardman

Many go down life’s path with lofty plans¬†
To amass a great fortune of houses and lands 

And to live a life of pleasure and ease, 
Thinking happiness can be found in these.

Others pursue power and worldwide fame 
To be known by all and win their acclaim. 

But those without God who attain these goals 
Soon find emptiness remains in their souls.

They could not find true happiness 
For life’s void cannot be filled with this.¬†

If only they realized this will not last 
Since life is fleeting and will soon be past.

Wealth, worldly pleasure, fame, and power 
Will all be gone at death’s dark hour.¬†

And beyond the grave when eternity begins 
Those unsaved will be judged for their sins!

If only they would believe in God’s Son¬†
And repent of the sinful deeds they’ve done,¬†

Then they could go down life’s path¬†
Not needing to worry about God’s wrath.

They would have the joy they longed for, 
Inner peace, contentment, and much more 

For when their lives on earth shall end 
Heavenly bliss would at once begin!

Joy

Joy is a thing that while utterly¬†necessary, it is greatly diminishing in our world today. Most people just go about their day minding their¬†business¬†(and other people’s), trying to finish some project or accomplish some dream, never stopping to be joyful. You don’t have to be a millionaire to have joy, and you don’t have to have a lot of “free time”.

Joy is something that you can have while you are in the middle of doing a hundred other things. But as you all know, it is hard to have joy when you are busy and when there are so many other things to focus your time and energy on. I think that joy is something you have to practice in order to be good at it. It is different than happiness in that you can be joyful even during sad times.

I know of a sweet, Christian woman whose husband died recently and left her with several young children. It was a very difficult and sad time in her life because she had lost her best friend, provider, protector and the leader of their family. This woman had always been full of joy before, but many thought that would change after her husband’s death. Not so. For this woman, joy had become second nature, it was her habit. Joy had become a part of her because of the love of Jesus so that not even the death of one so close could take it away from her.

I want to challenge you today to be joyful. So many things are going on in the world make me want to feel the opposite of joyful: angry, bitter and discontented. But we just need to realize that with Jesus in our lives, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be the happiest people in the world.

So cheer up, smile and just be thankful for everything that you have been blessed with through Jesus. You’ll give others joy too when they see it in your life.

Blessings,                                                                                                                             Moriah