I love the Advent season. The weeks leading up to Christmas morning are some of the holiest of the entire year. I have found there are several things that help me prepare to experience the birth of Christ to the fullest.
To thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in thee I trust,
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3 Yea, let none that wait for thee be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
This week we begin the advent season. It is a wonderful time when we prepare for the arrival of Christ our Lord. Advent ends with Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Cayla Chandara is a 22-year-old college student. Because Cayla did not want to leave college with a tremendous amount of student loans she works two jobs. She was a waitress at two different restaurants in a resort community, putting in long, hard hours.
As a parent, there are several days when I question my parenting skills. I have a six-year-old little boy who is full of love and life. Most days are great, and we have a blast together, but then there are those days I wonder if I’m doing anything right. Recently, we spent a day at the zoo together. It was a great day, but by the end of our 4-hour tromp around the zoo I was done for the day and my patience was wearing thin. On the way home, we stopped at the store for a few things and without thinking I instructed him to go ahead and hold the door for a lady who was approaching. As he did, she looked at me, smiled and said, “Thank you. You’re a good mother.” These words from a stranger changed my attitude about the rest of my day. I stopped focusing on the negative and exhaustion and started focusing on what was good about the day; being thankful that I was able to spend the entire afternoon at the zoo making memories with my son. I was thankful for the beautiful weather we were able to enjoy and the many giggles.
Gratitude is so powerful, it can make us remember a brief moment for the rest of our lives. For me, one of those incredible experiences happened… while mowing the lawn.
How do I remember mowing any lawn, especially from 30 years ago? What’s there to remember? Pull starter cord 15 times, push mower, turn, sneeze, run out of gas, fill tank with gas, pull starter cord 20 more times, push mower, sneeze.
Josette Duran has been sending extra food to school in her son’s lunch for some time. Her son, Dylan had asked for the extra food and Josette thought he was just a hungry, growing boy. Josette’s son’s heart is much bigger than his stomach.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, you his servants;
praise the name of the Lord.
Let the name of the Lord be praised,
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.
James chapter 5 goes on to tell us that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” I must admit that I do not always feel righteous, power or effective in my prayers! Most of my prayer happens while driving (with my eyes open!). Stephanie and I pray together at night. Our family offers prayer before every meal. We pray with gratitude for blessings and with humility for help. More often than not we are praying for wisdom and direction in our daily lives and for the needs of our loved ones in our family and our church.