Tag Archives: Christmas

Influence ~ Five Minute Friday

It’s Friday! I’m once again joining in with the special group of writers at   http://www.fiveminutefriday.com thinking about the prompt “influence”. It’s always important to stop and think about what we allow to influence our lives.  Here we go……

The Influence of Prayer

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 (NIV)

The remnants of Christmas at my house are slowly being tucked back into their boxes and stacked into closets where they’ll stay, out of sight and out of mind, forgotten about until next year. That’s what we seem to do with Christmas, isn’t it. The anticipation starts early.  The sights, smells, and sounds conjure up warm feelings that cause us to be just a little kinder, more patient, and willing to give more throughout the season.  We sing and read of the baby in the manger and we promise ourselves we’ll carry those attitudes and Him with us into the new year. I hate to admit it, but all too often, Jesus ends up packed away right along with all my other holiday memories.

This new year has been different though. I’ve recognized the presence of the Heart and Hope of Christmas that is Christ, lingering longer. The important word in that sentence is “recognized”.  Christ is always with us; it’s just that often, we allow life to obscure our view. I’m seeing more clearly recently because my focus has been under the influence of prayer!

Advent this year, found me “beneath the tree” as I prayed my way through the devotional, “Jingle and Joy” written by Jodie Barrett. Spending** time in prayer each day for specific things changed something…..ME!  Little by little I began to notice a transformation taking place:

~My relationship with God improved. (It’s only common sense that spending more time together brings you closer!)

~Praying for others also made me more aware of how blessed I am!

~Jesus, born in a manger, became more vivd and meaningful as I prayed, studied the scriptures, and read Jodie’s devotions.

It’s evident I’m sure, that my daily quiet time is usually hit or miss.  I have the best of intentions; but we all know where that leads!  Being under the influence of prayer throughout the holidays has once again made me realize what I miss when I’m not spending regular, consistent time with God and that He’s always ready and waiting for me, for us, to make Him a priority in our busy, distracted schedules, even when we don’t.

The time I spent in the soft glow of lights and under the boughs of our Christmas tree praying, made me more hesitant to take it down this year. But like Jodie shared, it’s not about the tree. No, the “where” is not important but choosing the “what”, is! We can allow our calendars, moods, those who surround us, and innumerable other things fill up our days OR instead of putting the Babe in the manger out of sight and out of mind, we can keep Him close, by spending time each day in prayer. Yes, Christmas has come and gone, but living under the transforming influence of prayer reminds us that the Hope of Christmas remains long after we’ve put everything away and that my friends, is something we can celebrate all year long!

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

If you would like to know more about Jodie Barrett’s book and her ministry go to http://www.faithfullyfollowing.org You won’t regret it!




With ~ Five Minute Friday

Joining the lovely group of writers over at http://www.fiveminutefriday.com to write to the prompt “With” today.  Why, don’t you hop over there and see what others did with “With”!

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2: 9-11 (NIV)/ Pixabay

Christmas Comes With or Without

Are you ready? There are only four days left until Christmas! Have you found the perfect gifts? Are they wrapped and placed under your beautifully decorated tree? Do you have your menus planned and the groceries stocked up in your cupboards? Are your cards and packages mailed to all those who are far away from you this season? Or maybe, just maybe…..you’re more like me: still finishing your cards, nothings wrapped, as a matter of fact, you’re still waiting for gifts to be delivered, and you have no idea what you need to get at the grocery store. Well, guess what? Christmas will come with or without all the preparations being made.

Think back to Mary and Joseph. They had a long trip ahead of them.  Joseph had readied a donkey for Mary to ride upon.  I’m sure Mary had prepared food for the journey.  They’d thought it through and everything seemed to be in place. That is of course, until they reached Bethlehem and found they weren’t prepared at all.

Mary was tired and uncomfortable. Crowds of people wandered the streets around them. Finally,  Joseph knocked on a door with the hope of preparing a place for Mary to rest, only to be turned away without a room or a plan. You know what happened next:

“While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2: 6-7 (NIV)

They weren’t in a warm, cozy room at the inn.  Christmas came without it.  Mary wasn’t prepared with baby clothes and a blanket but instead, had to wrap Him in cloths. Christmas came without them. There was no cradle to rock Him in, just a manger full of hay. Christmas came anyway. It wasn’t as they had hoped or planned but their baby met them right. where. they. were.

That’s the message for us this Christmas and every day: Jesus came to meet us right where we are.  We don’t have to do this or that.  Have this or that. Be this or that. Just like Christmas, Jesus comes with or without our feeling prepared to meet Him. And He loves us just as we are.

Yes, Christmas is only four days away and you may be sitting in the midst of wrapping paper rolls, ribbons and piles of unwrapped gifts, covered in flour as you roll out cookie dough, or find yourself tangled in strings of lights attempting to finally decorate the tree, all the while worrying that you’re not prepared. Take a deep breath and remember that Christmas will come, with or without every little thing being perfect and it will be fine. More importantly, remember that Christmas HAS come, long ago as a baby in a manger; Who’s gifts of hope and love are for each one of us, wherever. we. are.


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and if you’ve felt Jesus knocking on the door to your heart, now’s the perfect time to answer, make room, and let Him in to meet you where you are.