Merry Christmas!

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Mercy In Action

Mercy in Action

Shortly before the official kick-off of the Christmas season of 2013, two tornadoes ripped through our city.  The devastation was astounding.  Over 700 homes and businesses were completely destroyed.  As if this wasn’t bad enough, the very next day, the temperatures plummeted to bitterly cold and it turned very windy.

The tornado swept through town from west to east.  Since I travel north to south in my drive to work, I could easily tell the next morning where it actually hit, even though it was dark outside.  It was eerily quiet in that part of town as I drove through.

However, when I finished my shift the next day, I saw hundreds of volunteers working in the bitterly cold weather.  Behind the scenes were hundreds more, organizing drop-off points for donations of new clothing, personal care items, cleaning items, water, and more.

Christmas is always a season where you see giving.  Yet, this Christmas is one I will never forget because of the tremendous outpouring of love and mercy shown to those who had lost so much.

© 2014 Stacy R. Miller

Peace in the Midst of Christmas Chaos

Peace in the Midst of Christmas Chaos

 

Working in a hospital requires that you work some holidays. I usually volunteer to work Christmas Day because we can easily adjust our schedule and celebrate our “Christmas at home” day another day.

 

Last year, I had Christmas Eve off, but my daughter wanted to open gifts on the 23rd since she isn’t a morning person. So on that day, as I headed home from work, I was in a festive mood, ready for our celebration.

 

However, on the way home, traffic was so thick, being that Christmas was only a few days away. People were driving with no regard for their fellow man. One man carelessly pulled out in front of me on a busy highway. Shortly thereafter, another vehicle started to swerve into my lane.

I was still trying to maintain my festive mood and remain peaceful in my spirit.

 

I noticed I only had a half tank of gasoline, so I thought I would do the smart thing and have it filled so we would be set for my trips to work and for a trip to the family gathering on Christmas Day after my shift was done. I scanned my card at the pump, only to get a message of “pump busy.” I had no idea why it was doing that, but didn’t trust it after that, so I waited until it cleared my card info and went to another pump, only to have it do the same thing. My hands were beginning to hurt due to the bitterly cold temperatures.

 

I decided to try another gas station, only to burst a blood vessel when trying to get the gas cap off. Now my hands were really hurting, and my festive mood was beginning to change to a very frustrated one.

 

As I headed for the final stretch home, I came upon someone who must have been having a lover’s quarrel. The car was off to the side of the road. With no warning, she quickly pulled out in front of me, then pulled over again when she caught up with a pedestrian who had just exited her car. Next, he darts out in front of me to get away from her. I slammed on my breaks, and my heart rate is escalating by this time. Of all things, the woman pulled out in front of me again!

 

By this time, not only am I frustrated, but I was desperate to get home. I just wanted to be safely home, in the warmth and comfort of my house, enjoying the presence of my loved ones.

 

Since I remembered hearing that we women often set the tone of our home, I reminded myself that it wasn’t going to be wise to show my frustration when I got home. I quickly said a prayer, asking the Lord to help me to adjust my attitude in the next two minutes before I reached home.

 

Thankfully, He was faithful to help me in my time of need. As I walked in the door, instead of venting my frustration, I voiced how thankful I was to finally be safely home!

 

In the midst of this blessed season, when circumstances around us can be very chaotic, it can help us to find things for which to be thankful, even when our emotions are rather frazzled and stressed.

 

A grateful heart can bring peace and comfort to your spirit in spite of your surroundings.

© 2014, Stacy R. Miller

 

Christmas Devotion

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! (Photo credit: Kelvin Servigon)

Christmas Message

With the Christmas season upon us, I wanted to post a devotion that I wrote several years ago that addresses this time of year.

We tend to get caught up in so many things during this beautiful season — so much to the point that we often miss out on the beauty of the season, not to mention the true reason for the season.  I was reading in The Message Bible this morning.  (I am sorry that I can’t give direct scripture references on this because that Bible doesn’t have them.)  In I Cor. 7, it says “Don’t complicate your lives unnecessarily.  Keep it simple – in marriage, grief, joy, whatever.  Even in the ordinary things – your daily routines of shopping, and so on.  Deal as sparingly as possible with the things the world thrusts on you. This world as you see it is on its way out.  I want you to live as free of complications as possible…..All I want is for you to be able to develop a way of life in which you can spend plenty of time together with the Master without a lot of distractions.”

Distractions – isn’t that something we all deal with on a daily basis?  Last night at church a lady shared how she takes a notebook with her when she does devotions.  Then, when Satan whispers “You forgot to take out the trash, you didn’t make that doctor appt., you didn’t call that friend yet….”  you can write it down, and then do it later.

How can you minimize your distractions?  What gets your focus off of Jesus during this busy season?  Seek to find a way to have those times of quiet intimacy with our wonderful Master.  You won’t regret it!

I want to share something that I heard a long time ago that has made a big impact on me during the Christmas season.  It’s so simple, but so profound.  When you gaze upon your Christmas tree, with all of the lights and the glitter, remember that it was a tree upon which Jesus died for you.  Let YOUR Christmas tree be a gentle reminder of the great love that Jesus had for you, while you were yet in the midst of your sin.  Let the lights be a reminder of how He wants His light to shine through you to a lost and dying world, and yes, even to your own family.  Let the red ribbons and bows be a symbol of the blood He shed to bring about healing and wholeness to your life.  Let the tinsel be a reminder of the beauty that He wants to give you, instead of ashes.

May this Christmas season be the start of a new way to view the holidays, and may it start some new and lasting traditions for you in the years to come.

© 2003, Stacy R Miller