Tag Archives: Jesus

The Best Way to Change Your Attitude: Realizing That Everything Has Beauty

Everything has beauty

The best way to change your attitude is to realize that everything has beauty.

I am pretty sure that one of my primary purposes in life is to recognize that everything has beauty.

Maybe this has something to do with being artistic. Or perhaps it is because I’m an optimist. Yes these do have something to do with my attitude. But the real reason is because of my own history.

You see, over the years, I have made some pretty stupid, self-destructive choices. There are parts of my past that are pretty ugly. I spent many years pretending that the brokenness wasn’t there. I was very good at “fluffing the pillows” of my past so that no one saw it for what it really was–not even me.

I had an encounter that changed all of that. Not right away in my case, but little by little over time. I began to see that Jesus was not only able but willing to turn the broken, wobbly bits of me into something not only useful but beautiful. 

Looking back over the last five years, my family has experienced some very traumatic events. Some of them I wondered whether we would make it through. But even in the midst of tragedy, I knew (and know) that God does not waste any opportunity for transformation. He will not leave something dark and dead and useless. He is the God of light and life and purpose.

“to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
    to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
    the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
    the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61: 3)

Be encouraged, my friends. He will not leave us in our brokenness, our ugliness, in the dark. He longs to take our sorrow and trade it for delight.

Open your eyes. Look around and see that everything has beauty once it has been transformed by Jesus. Once we have been transformed.

 

“Fear Not”: Bringing Good News This Christmas

Sheperds in the field

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”   (Luke 2: 8-14, ESV)

Fear not. . . I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

Such a simple message.

Fear not.

Good news.

Great joy.

For all people.

Savior.

Christ the Lord.

But I manage to forget this simple message every year at Christmas. No wait . . . I manage to lose the message every day . . . every hour . . . .

And if I forget the real message of Christmas, I who know it and believe it and try to live into it, then how can I share the same message with those who have not heard, who do not know it or do not believe it?

Fear takes over once again. And I lose grip on those last two phrases.

Savior. Christ the Lord.

He is the Good News. He has come to save–to save me from my fear and forgetfulness and mistrust and unbelief and guilt and . . . .

 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Amen.

 

How to Prepare for Christmas

How is it possible that even though it is only December 3rd, I am already behind on Christmas? Okay, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I certainly feel that way.

Joy tartan banner by Elisabeth Hunter $15

Just to be clear, this is the only decoration I have up yet!

Maybe it’s because Christmas decorations began arriving in stores before Halloween. Maybe it has something to do with my favorite radio station playing only Christmas songs by the second week in November. Maybe it’s because half of my neighborhood had Christmas decorations up by Thanksgiving day.

Whatever the cause, I am beginning to panic.

December is a big month for my family as my daughter and husband both have birthdays on either side of Jesus’. It’s hard to compete with that…

In my sane moments, I try to remind myself that we aren’t actually even in the Christmas season. This is Advent. The time for preparation: preparing our hearts for the birth of our Savior.

If I allow myself to slow down, breath and think about this–Advent–the panic fades and peace returns.

This pre-Christmas season is not really about decorating my house like never before or buying presents I can’t really afford or going to as many parties as possible. When I focus on these things, that is when I feel overwhelmed, anxious and, frankly, sad.

I can never, on my own, create (or recreate) what I imagine to be the perfect Christmas.

Will I, this year, be able to resist the urge to scurry and buy and do and make merry? Will I be able to slow down long enough to prepare my heart for Jesus? I pray this for myself and I pray this for you, my friend.

Blessings and peace to you during this season of Advent.

Handmade Advent stockings up close

Handmade Advent stockings made for my daughter c. 1998

Handmade Advent stockings hanging

Handmade Advent stockings hanging Christmas 2012. I have not gotten them up yet this year!