Tag Archive Christmas

ByEmily

Be Born In Me

“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Luke 1:38

“And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
Luke 1:45

 

Be Born In Me - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

A few days ago I was praying and thanking God for sending His son as the greatest gift we could ever fathom. After all, this is the reason Christmas exists.

As I was praying, Mary’s sacrifice is what really hit me. I am amazed at Mary’s willingness to carry the Son of God. She said yes to an impossible task and went on to carry, deliver, and raise the Son of God…and then she went on to watch Jesus die.

I imagine her thoughts went something like this, “But He’s supposed to be Emanuel—God with us! Why are You taking Him away from me, God? I raised Him! You chose Him for the ultimate sacrifice. YOU chose that for Him. Not me!”

Then again, I realize she knew from Day 1 that there was a very specific plan and purpose for this Messiah…her son that she shared with the Almighty. I believe she had a sort of feeling in her heart of hearts, and yet she still said yes. She was still willing to walk in obedience to God’s plan for her life—no matter what—for the glory of the Lord.

Again, I’m amazed, because I don’t think I’d ever have been that brave. I can only pray and strive for the kind of courage to respond to God’s call on my life, regardless of situations and circumstances, with “Be it unto me according to thy word.”

ByEmily

5 Christmas Gifts for Girls (that will connect them to Jesus)

When it comes to Christmas shopping, I’ve noticed quite a bit of women in a frenzy trying to secure the latest craze for their loved ones. Gifts have become overrated, over the top, and beyond my price range! It’s all about the latest technology, the newest toys/gadgets, and expensive clothes that will go out of style by next year.

5 Christmas Gifts For Girls That Will Connect Them To Jesus - Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven

 

I’ve never been one to understand going into debt over things that are too quickly cast aside- especially since we’ve seemed to have forgotten the greatest gift of all time…..the one that didn’t come wrapped in sparkly paper with a giant glittery bow, but in swaddling clothes…..the one that is the true purpose for the Christmas season- Jesus!

Presence over Presents

Presents are no longer meaningful. And along with everything else in the world these days, they can distract us from our relationship with God. So instead of buying electronics and apps that will consume their time or toys that won’t last, let’s get our daughters gifts that will guide them to a closer walk with the Lord. Instead of swiping your credit card for whatever gifts are all the rage, look for items that will help your daughter seek His presence.

Whether your daughter (daughter/niece/cousin/best friend/student/etc.) is a youngster, a preteen, or heading off to college, these inexpensive gifts are the perfect options to point them to a personal relationship with the star of Christmas Himself and will even last well beyond December!

1. UPLIFTING MUSIC

Music is everywhere and it is feeding our minds, sometimes without us even realizing it. Why not buy a cd for your daughter that will influence her in a positive way? My suggestions would be something like Francesca Battistelli’s latest album entitled If We’re Honest or Barlow Girl’s Never Alone album.

I have only heard two songs from Francesca’s latest cd, but I quickly fell in love with them both. “Write Your Story” and “He Knows My Name” have awesome lyrics that will build her confidence as a child of God. And if the rest of the cd is anything like those two songs or anything else Francesca has done, I know it’ll be wonderful!

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Barlow Girl’s Never Alone album is a little older, but I remember when I first listened to this cd. My exact thoughts were, “Every young/teenage girl needs this cd!” With songs like “Average Girl,” “Mirror,” and “Clothes,” this cd will encourage your daughter to love who God created her to be and trust in His plans for her life.

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2. JOURNAL

A journal is an excellent choice and can be used in several ways. She can write her thoughts, prayers, favorite scriptures, et c. You might even start it for her by writing some encouraging quotes and scriptures or with a special note. I thank my seven year old for giving me this idea when she asked for one for Christmas to write prayers in. Journals come in various shapes, sizes, and designs. Be sure to choose one specific to her uniqueness.

3. INSPIRATIONAL CLOTHING/ACCESSORIES

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Brands like Kerusso and Cherished Girl offer t-shirts with adorable designs and scriptures for all ages. You can also find jewelry with scriptures or uplifting words. Offer the gift along with this challenge: Don’t just wear it- live it!

Anyone can wear a Christian t-shirt. Encourage your daughter to walk the walk and use this gift as a reminder that she is a daughter of the King.

4. DAILY DEVOTIONAL CALENDAR

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Like journals, you will have a variety to choose from, once again for all ages. Dayspring offers a line of Daybrighteners that can be used from year to year and the designs are endless. With a daily devotional calendar, she will be able to start each day in the word.

A couple of years ago, my husband bought me the Jesus Calling by Sarah Young daybrightener. I keep it beside my bed with my Bible. Every morning I flip the page, read the short devotion, and then look up the scriptures that go along with it. There’s nothing like getting in the word first thing!

 5. BIBLE/BIBLE ACCESSORIES

Have you seen the different Bibles available? There are children’s Bibles, teen Bibles, Bibles specifically for women or girls, Bibles specifically for cancer survivors, the list goes on. I love my KJV Bible that is chocolate brown and pink. What girl wouldn’t? 😉 Out of all the gifts that may engage the light and love of Jesus in your daughter’s life, the Bible is the most essential. No matter how old she is, she needs her own copy of life’s handbook.

Along with the Bible, you may add accessories such as the following: Bible cover, colorful pens/highlighters, notepad, sticky notes, and/or bookmarks. No Bible is complete without favorite or key scriptures highlighted or notes in the margin, right? I know if you were to flip through my Bibles, you might be able to read the story of my life in between the lines. With these Bible accessories, she can make her Bible her own.

All of these gifts can be found at your local Christian bookstores and gift shops. You’ve heard from me, now I want to hear from you! What items would you add to this list?

ByEmily

Finding Peace In The Midst Of Holiday Madness

When it comes to the holidays, it’s easy for us (especially women) to welcome added stress, freak-outs, et c. It’s as if it knocked on our door and we let it stride right on in, making itself at home. We accept “overwhelmed” as our new normal. Why? Well, because it’s the holidays, of course!

Christmas has started before Thanksgiving is even over, and then BOOM!—this year has gone away and a new one has begun. However, we should never allow ourselves to –almost gladly– accept the status of being overwhelmed. This, my fellow wives/mothers/aunts/sisters, is not Godly.

 

Finding Peace In The Midst Of Holiday Madness

 

Christmas is not about stress. Christmas is not about buying the most expensive gifts. Christmas is not about having the best-wrapped presents. Christmas is not about being Room Mom and making sure the class party is perfect. Christmas is not about hosting the most fabulous parties. Christmas is not about dragging the kids to the mall to get their picture made with Santa.

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Prince of Peace! Christmas is all about God sending peace to this world. And what was it the angels were singing to the shepherds about Jesus’ birth?

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”- Luke 2:14

You haven’t sent your Christmas cards out yet and Christmas is tomorrow? You forgot to get a gift for your child’s teacher? You meant to make Christmas cookies to take to the nursing home? Just breathe. This year make the following pledge and stick to it:

I will not let the world’s holiday madness define my attitude, take away my peace or the peace of my family! I will rejoice at all times in the birth, death, and resurrection of my Savior!

ByEmily

Mary, Did You Know? – A Special Christmas Song Of The Week

There are several Christmas songs that I love, but if I absolutely had to pick just one, this would probably be it. I love the lyrics, so I’m going to let them speak for themselves. Enjoy!

*Note: This song has been recorded by many artists, and I love just about every version that I’ve heard. However, I love hearing it done by the writer of the song himself, Mark Lowry. He does an amazing job!

 

Song of the Week Christmas Edition

 

Mary, Did You Know?
Mark Lowry

Mary did you know that your baby boy would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God.

Oh Mary did you know

The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the dead will live again.
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I am

ByEmily

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day – A Special Christmas Song Of The Week

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs (tune in next week for another of my favorites!) and I think you’ll enjoy it as well.

 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”- Luke 2:14

 

Can you imagine the sound of the angels singing the above scripture? I bet it sounded heavenly. 😉

 

Song of the Week Christmas Edition

 

I Heard the Bells
Casting Crowns

 

I heard the bells on Christmas day

Their old familiar carols play

And mild and sweet their songs repeat

Of peace on earth good will to men

 

And the bells are ringing

Like a choir they’re singing

In my heart I hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

 

And in despair I bowed my head

There is no peace on earth I said

For hate is strong and mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good will to men

 

But the bells are ringing

Like a choir singing

Does anybody hear them?

Peace on earth, good will to men

 

Then rang the bells more loud and deep

God is not dead, nor doth He sleep

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on earth, good will to men

 

Then ringing singing on its way

The world revolved from night to day

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good will to men

 

And the bells they’re ringing

Like a choir they’re singing

And with our hearts we’ll hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

 

Do you hear the bells they’re ringing?

The life the angels singing

Open up your heart and hear them

Peace on earth, good will to men

 

Peace on earth, Peace on earth

Peace on earth, Good will to men

 

ByEmily

Be Born In Me (Mary) – A Special Christmas Song Of The Week

So young and entrusted with such an amazing calling- to carry, deliver, and raise the child of God. “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1: 38) An overwhelming task for many, yet she chose to do the will of God. Blessed was she among all women!

 

Song of the Week Christmas Edition

 

Be Born In Me
Francesca Battistelli

Everything inside me cries for order
Everything inside me wants to hide
Is this shadow an angel or a warrior?
If God is pleased with me, why am I so terrified?
Someone tell me I am only dreaming
Somehow help me see with Heaven’s eyes
And before my head agrees, my heart is on it’s knees
Holy is He. Blessed am I.

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

All this time we’ve waited for the promise
All this time You’ve waited for my arms
Did You wrap yourself inside the unexpected
So we might know that Love would go that far?

Be born in me, be born in me
Trembling heart, somehow I believe that You chose me
I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end
Every moment in the middle, make my heart your Bethlehem
Be born in me

I am not brave
I’ll never be
The only thing my heart can offer is a vacancy
I’m just a girl
Nothing more
But I am willing, I am Yours

 

ByAngie

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

Now, how does the old song go?

 

Christmas time is coming, the goose is getting fat!

Time to download your Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack!

You don’t have to have a penny, it’s free for you!

You don’t have to have a hay penny, God bless you!

 

Okay, I may have gotten the words wrong on that one, but I’m silly and couldn’t resist.

 

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

 

I want to be honest with you and tell you that this printable pack is far from my best work. I drew it up in a hurry and it shows. In a perfect world, I would have started this in early October when I originally thought of it, poured my blood, sweat, and tears into it, and had it finished weeks ago so you could download it earlier. Such was not the case. But since I make myself printable lists every year for my own record, I thought I would throw something together that was pretty and share it with you all.

 

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

 

This Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack has many blank lists, 2 month at a glance calendars for November & December, a budget list, and even includes 2 little sheets for planning New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day and more. Consisting of 25 pages, the Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack is decorated with vintage public domain images and is rather colorful. Just right to put you in the Thanksgiving and Christmas planning spirit!

 

Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack

 

If you notice any mistakes or would like me to add a page, just let me know! Hopefully next year I’ll have something more fun to give to you all. Not that this isn’t fun, but my aim is always to improve and never settle. 😉

 

This is just our humble little gift to you, from all of us here at Raising Sticky Hands To Heaven. God bless, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to you all!

 

You can download the Free Christmas Holiday Season Planning Printable Pack by clicking here. Please, do not share this link or your download with others, but send them to this post to download a pack of their own instead. Thank you!

 

 

ByAngie

Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday – What A Difference A Week Makes

8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”

10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”
11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:8-11 NKJV

Today most of us are celebrating Palm Sunday, the day we remember when Jesus rode on a donkey into the city of Jerusalem.  As mentioned in the Bible, the people of the city flocked to see Jesus, this man they had heard about riding on a donkey as royalty would, exclaiming “Hosanna!” and laying down palms in His path. The believed in Him, had faith in Him, and wanted to follow Him.

Not much time passes though before they turn on Him. All because others had. Like a chain reaction, they embrace the mob mentality and trade in those hosannas for “Crucify!” and want nothing more to see Him die a bloody death. All in what I can only assume was for their entertainment. (Step out of the prophecies foretold for a minute and think back to their society…) Why would each of those hearts turn on Him? Because one person told another person, gossip spreading like wildfire, that this was not the Son of God after all and was full of blasphemy? Did anyone care to think for themselves? They lost all inhibition and adopted the feelings of the one next to them, forgetting that the week before they loved Jesus.

Sounds a little too familiar to our present day, does it not?

Palm Sunday

Easter comes and goes so quickly, never getting the true attention it deserves. Not to cut Christmas short, but in my opinion, Easter serves much more emphasis on the Christian walk than Christmas. Jesus didn’t have to die for our sin, coming back 3 days later from the dead, all so each of us could have a place in Heaven if we believe in Him. Sure, His birth has great meaning, but to me His sacrifice means so much more! Add in all the secular tidbits of the holiday and it’s really easy to discount what we are really celebrating, leaving it all behind the next day.

I don’t want to be like those that were in the city that day. My desire is to serve Jesus and love Him on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and every other day! My heart sings “Hosanna!” over and over, and I never want my praise to end. No one could ever tell me anything to change my belief in Him. Not the media, not a friend, no one.

Now I want to ask you: Next Monday, when Easter is over, when the eggs are eaten and the fake grass has been cut out of your vacuum, what will you be saying? Will your heart still exclaim “Hosanna! He is the King of Kings! He reigns in my heart! Praise God, He is RISEN!” as it does today on Palm Sunday? I’m praying that it does.

My prayer for you and I is to never forget and fall into going through the motions of every day life, failing to daily praise God for sending His only son as a gift to us. May we never forget Christ’s love for us. Thank you, Lord, for everything.

 

ByAngie

A Grateful Heart

Last week I shared about my trip earlier this month to a children’s home. This post will continue that recap…

After visiting the school building, we all went to one of the houses where some of the children live. There was a festive, warm and welcoming spread of hot chocolate, spiced tea, and cookies. It was here that the children would all visit with us and receive their “big” gifts.

We were there for a little while before the kids were released from their classes. As they all slowly walked in the front door, they noticed the huge pile of gifts under and around the tree. The excitement could not be contained and was contagious! After everyone had a chance to get a hot drink and cookies, they all sat around the large living room and waited for their name to be called by the house parent that was handing out the gifts.

Many names were read, and the kids would walk up, get their present, get a crocheted ice skate full of candy, and then go back to where they were sitting and open their gift. Some kids received a few small gifts, some were given one large gift, but each child was so pleased with whatever it was they were given. The people who bought the gifts were given idea lists of what to purchase and there were toys galore! It was so much fun!

One girl, I would guess about the age of 11 or so, stood near the tree as she clapped and cheered for each child as they came up to get their presents. She had one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen! When the last name was read and she had not yet been given a gift, you could see the shock in her eyes. She still continued to smile though. The house parent who had been reading the names turned to her and asked, “Did you not get a present?” She shook her head no. He then said, “Well, you must have been naughty then.” She was handed a crocheted ice skate, and then he walked to the back of the house and out the back door.

She never complained. She didn’t cry. Instead, she walked over and checked out what her friends were given. She shared their excitement, and then sat down to open her candy bag to see what was in it. She smiled as she made an inventory of the candy, and acted as though it was the most wonderful thing she had ever been given. No tantrum, no jealousy, no anger. It was just what it was, and she accepted that.

A minute later, that same house parent came back in the back door with a big gorgeous pink bike. He said her name, and the smile on her face when she turned around was unforgettable. Still clutching the bag of candy, she ran and hugged the man. She then walked her bike over to where she could get a better look at it. I was unable to hold back my tears, I was so ecstatic for her!

I couldn’t help but pray at that moment, “Lord, make me like this little girl. Please. And let more of your people have a heart like hers, also.”

Sometimes God has something for everyone around us, it seems. He’s using them, blessing them, and fulfilling more than what seems to be needed. All the while, we feel forgotten. We start to say “All I have is this” instead of being grateful for what we have. Never considering that instead of whining, complaining, kicking, and screaming that He is actually preparing something beyond our wildest dreams if we just wait. Sometimes, our immaturity and lack of gratitude actually causes Him to wait longer, due to our not being ready.

I’ve been there, have you? Ugh.

If only my phone hadn’t died so that I could have snapped a photo of her walking that bike with that huge smile. It would be nice to have that reminder on my fridge next time I feel like moping instead of waiting… Lord, let me not forget!

ByAngie

Sharing Christ At Christmas

On Friday afternoon, I had the honor of visiting a children’s home while they were invited to come out of their classes and sit on Santa’s lap.

Unsure of what to expect, I walked in slowly. I had heard of experiences others had during past visits; Sadness, joy, a mixture of emotions, and the urge to give up their entire life to make a difference for just one child. Me? I was excited but scared, and honestly, distracted. Minutes before our arrival, I had been told of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I was in shock, though I didn’t know any of the details. Thank God that I was able to have this wonderful happy experience on such a sad day.

The children’s home, which is actually a few houses all side by side, offers a place of refuge to children that are orphaned, not wanted by family members, or have been removed from their caregivers by the state. They have very little in the way of material items, but their house-parents and teachers show them so much love.

They lined up and waited for their turns. Some children asked for teddy bears. A few of them requested bikes. One little girl broke my heart when she said she just wanted her Grandma. Every one of those children smiled and showed so much appreciation that Santa made time for them. I was just blown away.

I had “a moment” with one little girl in particular. I watched as she climbed up on Santa’s lap, whispered in his ear, and then accepted a large coloring sheet and a bag full of small gifts. Immediately, she ran to her teacher and exclaimed, “Look what I got! It was exactly what I wanted!”  The teacher smiled, replied “How did they know?” and then explained that the little girl had really been wanting some erasers for her pencils. Sure enough, in her bag, was a little box of erasers that brought her great joy!

About 10 seconds later, this little girl was sitting at my feet. Looking through her bag to see what kind of loot she had, she asked me, “Did you see my presents?” I kneeled down to her level. She was such a smart, talkative, and loveable little girl! For about 2 minutes we talked. We discussed my name, her erasers, and the pencil pillows that came with them. She told me about her new coloring sheet that she had received. It had Sponge Bob on it. She let me know that she doesn’t like Sponge Bob, but she’s so grateful to have something to color and some new coloring pencils. The little girl ecstatically told me that she would even color him yellow.  Then, she asked me to take her photo, followed by another request for me to retake the photo, as she didn’t like the first one.  We then debated the speculation of who was really in the Santa suit. (She knew exactly who he was and giggled that he made a great Santa. I kept my lips sealed.)

Soon, she was rounded up with the other children to return to the last few minutes of class. As she walked away, she dropped a few of her new treasures. I stopped her and tucked them back into her bag. “Oh, thank you for helping me!” and off she went.

I don’t remember the last time that my heart felt such gratitude for something as that little girl showed for those erasers. Talk about guilt and reflection! That was it right there! I silently prayed for God to show me how blessed I truly am, and to never forget to be thankful.

And yes, in case you were wondering, I did want to take that little girl home with me. I won’t lie. Being unable to bring her into my family, I pray for her every day. That God would keep his hand on her, guide her, and raise her to be a Godly woman that follows His lead. And if God allows, I will go and visit the home and find out how she is doing next year.

I have another story from this day that I plan to share with you in the next few days…

This Christmas, are you truly thankful to God for your blessings? Are you reaching out to show love to others, even if a smile is all that you can afford? On Friday night, did you have to stop and question if there was still goodness in the world? Have you ever experienced something like this? I’d love to hear about it!