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Sunday grace for the fathers

Abba Father,

I am blessed to call you Father, to be welcomed into Your presence, the holy place of Your essence. You called my name and claimed me for your very own child. This is a high privilege and I am loved.

I thank you for the men who influenced my life and showed me what You are like, especially my grandfather and my dear dad. I am grateful for patriarchs of my family and for men in my life who walked in the faith, were strong and gentle, treated me with respect and honor, protected and provided for me, bent low to serve and held me up with their prayers. I am blessed to know your sons.

I pray for the fathers of this generation. How we need them to be steadfast and sure, standing true in the battle for souls, leading with firm resolve and gentle grace. They need guidance from the Holy Spirit and the power of love. Clothe them in Your righteousness and Your holy armor, for the battle is hard. Infuse Your Word into their minds to remind them what is at stake. Speak to them as you did to the warriors of old, “Be strong and very courageous.” Remind them this is Your battle and You are always with them.

I ask that you purify their hearts. Turn them from evil, the deceitfulness of riches, and the cares of life. Give them eyes to see the beauty of a precious child, the tenderness of a woman’s heart, the reward of being a servant to those in their keeping. Remind them that words can wound or words can heal and build up. Help them choose their words wisely.

Abba Father, I ask that they look to You as their only source, that they seek to be more like Jesus every day, that they live to please You above all and be filled continually with the Holy Spirit. May You shine in them and through them as Image Bearers of God the Father.

I ask these things in the name of Your Son and my Savior Jesus.

Amen

Sunday grace.

Where is Christmas?

The day after Thanksgiving I listened to Christmas music.  For the first time this year.  Because you know I don’t like to mix my holidays.

I tuned the radio to a favorite station that I knew would be playing the sounds of the season.  It put me in the Christmas spirit as I sang and hummed along.  Gathering up fall decorations, I began thinking reds and greens.

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Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent, the season of preparation for Christmas.  The four Sundays before December 25 have specific ways of anticipating the coming of the Christ Child.  There are many ways to celebrate it and all sorts of Advent calendars to help us count down the days.  In years past my counting down too often became more stressful the closer Christmas Day came because it was just too busy, too expensive, too much!

This year, I want to do Christmas differently.  I want to look forward with joyful heart, hope building, love being the guiding star behind everything I do this season.  The greatest gift ever given was Love, and I am longing to experience it, to reflect it.  Oh Lord, let it be so!  Because it will be a challenge.  But I want change and change is always a challenge.

Ann Voskamp, a favorite blogger, asks the question:  What do you want for Christmas?  And then she answers:

“I don’t want a Christmas you can buy.  

I don’t want a Christmas you can make.

What I want is a Christmas you can hold.

A Christmas that holds me,

remakes me,  revives me.

I want a Christmas that whispers, Jesus.

That’s what I want, a Christmas that whispers, “Jesus.”  One where I hold His name in my heart and in my thoughts.  A Christmas that echos stillness, not the mad rush that has too often been Christmas past.

God’s love letter to mankind was written and preserved to tell us His story.  Not a manufactured, cracked and distorted image, but one written blood.

If you too are longing for something different this Christmas, something that cannot be purchase at the local mall or at Amazon.com, perhaps you would journey with me toward Christmas during the weeks of Advent.

As Solomon so wisely wrote, there is nothing new under the sun.  What is said here may have been said before and probably said a lot better.  But good news bears repeating.  And in the repeating, we eventually learn.  I need reminders to keep my focus on the reason for this beautiful season we call Christmas.

It deserves our full attention and our complete devotion.  Won’t you come along?

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Enjoy this beloved melody from my past as we travel toward Christmas together.