Tag Archive | Ann Voskamp

Magnify the Lord

I love the recorded verses in Scripture about Mary, the mother of Jesus.   She asked an honest question when presented with an impossibility.  “How can this be?”

Yes, don’t we all ask it sometimes?

Even in December when Christmas is upon us, there can be unsettling news, the impossible thing sent to our door.  A friend’s wife died on December 25 two years ago and he is still trying to adjust.  A widow is missing her husband more this year than last.  Grandparents request prayer for a granddaughter going through chemo.  Siblings wait with Hosparus at the bedside of their mother.   A young mom tries to figure out how to celebrate when divorce has recently torn the family in two.

Nightly news speaks of murder and mayhem, disease and death.  Brokenness is no stranger and heartache takes no holiday in December.

And Sweet William and I deal with our own disappointing news.

As I read Luke 1 this morning, I marvel at the young Mary as she visits her relative Elizabeth.  From what I understand, Mary hurried there most likely to get away from doubting questions about her unplanned and unexpected pregnancy with her wedding vows still in the distance.  This was not a pleasure trip but a running away from judging stares and threats of stoning.  And Joseph, her betrothed, he was not standing by to defend her.

Mary’s heart must have been heavy, even fearful, as she knocked on Elizabeth’s door.  When she saw her elderly relative’s swollen, rounded belly and then heard Elizabeth’s greeting, “Blessed are you among women . . . ” Mary’s response changed to Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

Her confusion turned to praise, her fear into rejoicing.  Her song echos in our ears from generation to generation.

Mary lights a spark of praise in my own heart this morning, even in confusion, even in unanswered questions, even in an uncertain future.

The Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father wrapped Himself in flesh and became acquainted with sorrow.  The suffering Messiah walked among us to share our heart breaks and to catch our tears.  He offers the gift of hope in a hopeless situation.  A nail-scared hand reaches out to save when we are falling.  He gives joy even when the spirit of heaviness threatens.  He has done great things.

My soul does magnify the Lord.

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.

Slow day

100_3270100_3254 100_3257 100_3266We awoke to snow on the ground in mid November.  It was predicted but a surprise to me.  A nice surprise.

I love the first snow of the season, the white covering everything to make it look clean and fresh.  Even the ugly looks pretty.  Little dog is not so fond of snow when we go outside, but he endures and we both breath in the crisp coldness and beauty of the early morning.

It seems a special day, one to be cherished and celebrated.  So I fix homemade drop biscuits, something Sweet William and I don’t eat so often ever since Weight Watchers became part of our routine.  The fresh sausage and tomato omelet taste delicious. I dribble honey on my hot buttered biscuit.

The day seems to slow.  Music plays on the CD player.  I am not in a hurry to get to my list of things to do.  Dishes still soak in the sink.  I am just enjoying the snowflakes falling outside my window and the warmth of the fireplace and the company of loved ones near.

Every day does not have to be a race.  As Ann Voskamp says so wisely, “Life is not an emergency.”  There are moments to be tasted, experiences in which to delight, sights and sounds to feed my soul.  If I will slow myself down long enough to see the gift and receive it as it is, then life really can be abundant.

I’ve been given so much.  Richness is at every turn.  Beauty is free for the taking.  Love is all around.

What shall I do with it?  Ignore it in my hurry to get from here to there?  Glance at the faces in front of me while I look for other faces to connect with?  Take for granted what is here and now?

Dear Lord, forgive me for doing that too much, for not appreciating your daily bread and good gifts.

Today, I enjoy the slowness of a snow day.  Perhaps I will learn the lesson and practice it tomorrow also.