Friday, December 23, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 30)

 Excellent Advent Advice Reflection Series
Part I: Stay Awake 
Part II: Seek Him Who Seeks You
Part III: Hold on to Hope
Part VI: Give the Gift of Quality Time I have found the gift I treasure most is that of quality time with loved ones. Add some yummy food, and the experience is downright delightful regardless of the weather! I’ve been very blessed to have several family and friends who have given the gift of their time to Kevin and me this holiday season…
Part VII: Wait Patiently  What are we really waiting for this week, this month, this year? Around the holidays, we are often made to wait. We wait in long lines to take advantage of a slew of sales, mail packages, purchase Christmas gifts, visit Santa, buy ingredients for holiday meals, and baking festive goodies…

Christmas tree down in record time! As some of you may recall, it was only last Thursday that my family gathered at my mom’s house to decorate the Christmas tree.  Mom was concerned my sister Mary and I wouldn’t be happy that she and Theresa had gotten a different type of tree from the live ones we usually buy, but we were fine with it.  The tree looked pretty, as ours always have in previous years. 
     It turned out Mom was the only one who had trouble with the tree.  She’s apparently really allergic to Scotch Pines, so Wednesday night we had the second quickest ornament and tree removal ever for our family.  As misfortune would seem her lot, my mom exchanged the Scotch Pine for another tree at the lot, put it in the stand last night, and by 1:00am, was having trouble breathing, so she threw a coat on over her pajamas and dragged the thing out the door.  (Today she got an artificial tree, which we would consider almost sacrilegious if my poor Mom weren’t so allergic to all of the live ones she’s come across this year, at least from the lot where we usually get them.)
Breaking tradition the hard way.  These are some Christmas traditions my sisters and I really enjoy: listening to Christmas music as early as my mom can get away with pulling it out, decorating the family tree, watching a certain line-up of Christmas movies, and making and decorating Christmas cookies.  Last Advent was certainly a change from the usual, with some nice added blessings. 
Triage for our Christmas Card List In the event that you didn’t receive a Christmas card from Kevin and me this year, rejoice and be glad!  No, really.  I’ve decided this year to concentrate my card writing/mailing efforts first and foremost on family and friends of ours who 1.) are currently in the hospital 2.) were just released from the hospital after major surgery 3.) are serving in the US military overseas, and/or 4.) have lost a loved one in the past six months. 
     One reason for this is that I write a personal note on each card I send, so it takes much longer than the sign and stamp kind.  Since we have a number of loved ones who fit into one of the above categories, I’m concentrating my energy on prayers, phone calls, and notes of encouragement for them.  Please don’t be offended.  I assure you we’re keeping you in prayer.  Thanks to all of you who have filled our mailbox with love, adorable photos, and kind cards!   
It’s Showtime!  Though this year, Kevin and I both missed out on the Christmas show at Little Sisters of the Poor where my grandma lives, we have fond memories from when we’ve attended in the past.  Actually, I can still remember the Christmas concert we did when I was in second grade, and we wore these tall cone-shaped Christmas tree hats and sang a song with the lyrics: “I’m gonna be Santa’s tree, so looky, looky, looky at me!”
Jesus Christ is coming to town!  The theme of this year’s Glorious Christmas Nights show put on by the West End Assembly of God was Hold on to Hope. Kevin wasn’t feeling well, so my mom, John, and I were the ones who went to the show this go round.  As always, it was truly entertaining, great writing, funny, heartwarming, thought-provoking, and awe-inspiring! 
     I laughed uproariously during the modern part where they sang and danced to 70s disco music rewritten with Christian lyrics, and I was very amused by the Bethlehem shepherds’ musical number about how they hate sheep.   I love how they combine Christmases present with a flashback to the first Christmas, and then the spectacular finale of Christ’s Second Coming.  Of course, their performance of The Midnight Cry (always gives me chills-especially hearing so many hundreds of people singing it in person) is always one of my favorites. 
Emmanuel, God with us!  I pray that you and your loved ones will experience the joy, peace, and love of the Lord flowing in and through you this Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 
     I saw on a church message board: “Mary wrapped the first Christmas present.”  Indeed she did!  As you reflect on how small things done with great love can make a huge difference in someone's day, enjoy this video  which is a great, powerful reminder that love and compassion are far more powerful than lots of money in making a difference in someone’s life.

Head over to Conversion Diary, to read Jen Fulwiler's wonderful tradition of 7 Quick Takes Friday.
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