Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is Santa Coming to Town?

There have been a lot of discussions lately revolving around whether it is right or wrong to "play Santa" as a Christian. While I am NOT going to jump into whether it is or is not, I am going to share with you what I have been considering, and the decision PJ and I have come to on this subject.

Who is Santa? Santa Claus is a fictional character. There's nothing wrong with fiction. It encourages our children's imaginations, and builds their creative skills, which are very useful later in life :)I know what you're saying, "Santa Claus was real". Ok, no, he wasn't. However, Saint Nicholas was real. He was a great man who did wonderful things for the people of his village. He is a great example of Christian love to our children. So, what should you do? Only you can decide that.

We have decided that we will not play Santa in our home with Nate. It was done with JRay, and he figured out the truth on his own, and was not hurt that we "lied" to him, or anything of the sort. So, again, I'm not saying it's wrong to play Santa. What we have prayed over, and decided to do, is to let Nate play along in all of the Santa fun, but teach him that Santa is just a man in a suit, and the "actual" Santa Claus is not real. We will teach him the story of Saint Nicholas, and explain to him how God can use people to help others and change the lives of others, but it is ultimately God who is in control. On Christmas morning, we will have a birthday party to celebrate Jesus's birthday. And, we will have a cake, and ice cream maybe, and we will allow the children to open a couple of gifts from us and one another. And, while they're doing this, we will teach them about God's gift to us through Jesus. How Jesus was our gift from God, and about the gift Jesus would later give us in eternal life.

Now, from that, we move onto the Christmas tree. So many people say I am a hypocrite if I want to exclude Santa, and still have a tree. After all, it's "Pagan". Yes, the Christmas tree has Pagan origins, BUT, that was in celebration of Winter Solstice. We're not celebrating Winter Solstice. We are celebrating Christmas. To me, the Christmas tree symbolizes the gift of eternal life Christ gives us. The evergreen tree lives all year, and never dies (unless you cut it down, and even then, its stump will regenerate a NEW tree). What better example of Jesus Christ?! When all other trees die in winter, the evergreen stands tall and strong, and is still there as green as it was come Spring! Decorating this tree symbolizes the beauty that Christ brings to our lives! The lights that shine bright symbolize Christ's love, that we should be carrying to a dark and dying world! At Christmas time, as symbol of this, I leave my Christmas lights on 24/7. I do not turn them off when we go to bed. When I wake up during the night, I see the glow coming from the living room, and am immediately reminded of God's everlasting love, that never dims or goes away! How beautiful an image is that?!

So, anyway... this isn't a "holier than thou, if you don't do it my way you're a sinner" post. It's sharing with you how we came to the decisions of celebrating Christmas the way we do. I feel that in this dying world, Christians are constantly under attack. Christmas is no longer Christmas... It's "Holidays" and "X-Mas", essentially removing Christ from the spirit of the holiday, and turning it into a commercial circus to emphasize buying one another's love. Jesus already paid that price. All we need to do is accept it! So I feel that it is more important to emphasize the gift that God gave us in His son, and concentrating on keeping the CHRIST in Christmas. And while I do not believe that it is wrong to play Santa, I feel that it is just more important for my family, per my own convictions (well, mine and PJ's), to concentrate on remembering the REAL reason for this season, and teaching our children to stand on what is REAL, and to not give in to the world's attempts to remove Christ from the holiday all together :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Where Will You Run?

By Your Side
by Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days?
Why are you trying to earn grace?
Why are you crying?
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love?
Why are you still searching?
As if I'm not enough?
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run?
To where will you run?

I'll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
Please don't fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands at my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life

Here at my side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
Please don't fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

And I, I love you
And I want you to know
That I, I'll love you
I'll never let you go

2008 Essential Tunes / West Main Music / Formerly Music (SESAC)

This song says so much about our Heavenly Father's love for us. He WANTS to carry us. He WANTS to have a relationship with us. He wants you to accept His gift of salvation! His gift of LIFE! Won't you stop searching today, and accept His love? You won't regret it! I promise!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Joy and Peace, Strength and Hope...

Jesus What a Beautiful Name - Darlene Zschech

Grace that blows all fear away! Jesus, what a beautiful name :)

So I have disappeared from the blog spectrum, obviously. I've been periodically updating my photoblog, but have neglected my readers here. So much has gone on since my last post. I'll do a QUICK summation, then get on to my point of this post :)

PJ lost his job 2 days before they were supposed to hire him on. Yep. They did us that way. I've been dealing with severe depression. All of the normal health issues, we're broke, no money to pay our bills, no job in sight after TONS of applications filled out, among many many other "grievances" that I won't mention.

But ya know what? No storm is too big for my God :)

Tonight, I was sitting here, my heart so incredibly heavy, as usual fighting the depression that has crippled my soul for so long. For a year and a half, since my sweet Mommy went to her REAL home in Glory, I've allowed fear, anger, and depression to pull me into the depths of a place I hope to never find again. I found myself bitter, angry, tired, and just UNHAPPY. I've tried to "let go and let God"... but every time I've tried it, I've held onto just a small piece. I've wanted Him to carry me, but every time I tried, I kept gripping onto that leash that is sadness. I was afraid to trust Him again. I trusted Him so wholly before (or so I thought), and He allowed me to be hurt so deeply.

But tonight... as I was sitting here, thinking of the day that she went home... and again torturing myself with the memories of that horrible day... I posted a message on Facebook, and asked my friends and family to say a prayer for me. I was tired of fighting this battle alone. I WANTED to give it to Him, and let Him HAVE it. But I sat here a few minutes, and this voice whispered to me "Brooke... you keep asking others to pray for you to lean on Me, but you haven't asked me to carry you, to truly carry you". And it just hit me... wow, all this time I've been CLAIMING to give it to Him, but really, I wasn't. I was continuing to push Him away... to "handle this myself". (I've never denied I have quite a stubborn streak!). So in that moment of realization, I answered that voice "Take it. It's yours. Please, just take it, I don't want this burden anymore, take it all". And I LET GO OF IT. COMPLETELY. And, in that same moment, I could breathe again. This ginormous weight lifted OUT of my chest, and I CAN BREATHE. I can finally REST in the arms of the ALMIGHTY. I have a joy, and peace, and strength, and HOPE... and He gives me GRACE that blows ALL fears away. Jesus.... it really is a beautiful name :)

My Crazy Life

My photo
I am a Christian wife and homeschooling mom of two precious boys. I enjoy photography and spending time with my family, along with any other hobby I can manage to dig my nails into. I'm married to PJ, God's precious gift to me ;) I'm honest, passionate, and find myself falling deeper and deeper in love with my Creator each and every day that passes. I was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of 10. I chose not to care about my health then, and am paying the price now with multiple complications including kidney damage and neuropathy. I currently reside in Florida, where God led my family in February of 2011, but my heart is, and will forever be, in Alabama.