Encouraging and empowering people to live victorious lives in Christ

Posts tagged ‘christmas’

Holidays Reimagined

by Brenna Fields

2020 has been a as been a year of change and adjustment. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused life as we know it to be drastically different.  While we hope that things can eventually get back to ‘normal,’ as I write this blog, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in most states across America.  Because of this, the holiday season is probably unlike anything we’ve experienced before.

Thanksgiving week 2017 with my parents and grandmother (RIP Mama and Maw Maw)

For me, the holidays (especially Thanksgiving and Christmas) are about family.  The last several years have found me either hosting family members or traveling to Louisiana to spend the holidays with them.  Particularly since my mother’s passing in 2018, I have been intentional about going to Louisiana for Thanksgiving and Christmas so my grandmother (my mother’s mother) could have a memorable holiday.  2020 now finds me not only facing the fact that this is my first holiday season without any grandparents (my grandmother passed away in March of this year), but also deciding not to travel for Thanksgiving and possibly not for Christmas because of the pandemic (plans are still up in the air).  So, what do I do?  This is how I’ve decided to spend Thanksgiving; if your plans for the holidays are different than normal, I hope these suggestions help you.

Cook!

If you really know me, you know I love to cook!  While my spread will not be as elaborate as it might generally be, I am going to prepare a special dinner.  There won’t be any turkey (because I’ve never made one lol), but I will make a few special dishes.  And, in honor of my great-grandmother, who loved to serve elaborate meals and to host people,  I will use some of her china to serve myself with (no everyday dishes for me!)

Serve Others

You may ask, “what are you going to do with all of that food?”  There are a few people I know who are in need.  They don’t know it yet, but I plan to drop off a few plates to them.  There are a couple of other people who I know are spending Thanksgiving alone, so I will invite them to drive by and get a plate.  There is joy in serving and giving of oneself; I look forward to the opportunity to share.  Is there someone you can serve and be a blessing to this holiday season?

Reflect

The last 3 years or so of my life have been quite challenging.  Since I am now on the other side of a lot of them (thank you God!), I want to use this time to reflect.  God has been so good to me…I truly cannot tell it all!  During this Thanksgiving season, I want to take some time to count my blessings.  I also want to take some time for me! I may take my folding chair to the beach one day and just sit and enjoy God’s creation, or I may go to the park and take a walk.  Although there are a couple of things I want to get done Thanksgiving week (one of them is putting up my Christmas tree), I’m not going to have much of an agenda or a schedule; I am just going to flow.  I am very intentional about how I spend and schedule my time, but over the next several days, I am going with the flow.  When was the last time you did that?

This year, I’m going to embrace what is, count my blessings and just be.  No complaining here!

What ideas do you have for someone who is spending the holidays without family and away from friends?  I would love to hear them; please share them in the comments.

Reflections on Mary

This Christmas, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary, the mother of our Savior. What must have gone through her mind when the angel Gabriel visited her? What can we learn from this teenage girl whom God gave such a tremendous responsibility?

Mary willingly said yes to God’s assignment
When we read the dialogue between Mary and Gabriel, there is no hesitation on Mary’s part. She does wonder how a virgin will conceive and give birth, but she doesn’t doubt that it can be accomplished. We don’t see her asking Gabriel to give her a few days to think and pray about it, or to talk to other people to get their opinions. In essence, she says, “whatever you say, I’ll do.” How many of us can step right into God’s assignment for you with full trust and no hesitation?

Mary sacrificed her own comfort and security for a greater cause
At the time of this life-changing encounter with Gabriel, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. They were practically married, so I’m sure you can understand the excitement and anticipation she felt preparing to be Joseph’s wife.  In the midst of this special time of her life, Gabriel comes and changes everything! She’s going to be pregnant outside of wedlock, and it wouldn’t be Joseph’s baby! Her fairy-tale betrothal and marriage were quickly fading away, and she could be faced with all the law prescribed for a fornicator. Despite this, she still says “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)

Mary faced difficulties throughout her life
Being the mother of our Lord had to come with some challenges. Based on the message she received from Gabriel, she realized that she was the vessel through which the Messiah would come. She also recognized that Jesus would not be an average son. I can imagine she asked these questions in her heart: Would he get married? Will I have the blessing of grandchildren through him? Would he be there for me in my old age? Every mother wants her child to live a long life, and does not want to even consider the thought of his life being cut short, but that would not be the case for Mary with her first born.  As she faced difficulties and uncertainties in her life, Mary serves as an example for all mothers and all women.

What were the results of Mary’s sacrifice? Because Mary said yes, because she was willing to sacrifice her own comfort and security, we have access to eternal life through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Her ruined betrothal and wedding and her public humiliation afforded us the opportunity to be reconciled back to God. She willingly accepted a difficult and uncertain life so that she could be used mightily by God. While we do not worship her, we honor her and are grateful to her for what she chose to do.

Is God calling you to do a hard thing? How could it benefit others? Like Mary, are you willing to sacrifice your goals and dreams to be fully yielded to God’s will?