His Law Is Love and His Gospel is Peace

Before I share this post I want to begin with my favorite Christmas verses that break my heart wide open.

Verses that put my heart and mind RIGHT where they should be this season (or any season).

Really read the words.

Lincoln Brewster – O Holy Night (Another Hallelujah)

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
The thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we
Let all of us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever
His power and glory evermore proclaim
His power and glory evermore proclaim

Hallelujah…

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night Divine

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The older I get sometimes I am very aware that I don’t have the simple awe and excitement of Christmas I did as a child.

The whole Christmas season can go so fast and before we know it…it is gone.

This is obviously because I have a house to clean, bills to pay, laundry to do, groceries to buy etc.

Being a child is pretty sweet:-)

I have also figured out that when I slow down and focus on what this season is really about…my awe and excitement returns.

As an adult I have also figured out that I don’t like or react well to the busyness of any holiday.

So. I. Don’t.

We are nine days away from Christmas.

Nine days away from celebrating the birth of Christ.

Nine days away from being awoken by excited children ready to open their gifts.

Nine days away from eating way to much sugar and loving every moment of it.

Nine days away from a house of family (for some that is bliss and for others it is stressful).

Nine days away from the reality that unless you make it about more than the gifts…it is just about the gifts.

Nine days away from contentment or feeling that you didn’t get what you wanted and the next day you will go and get what you really wanted.

Nine days.

If you have gotten lost in the busyness you still have time.

You do.

You can choose right now to slow down, connect and make it about more than the gifts.

I don’t remember my mom being stressed out at Christmas.

My mom really tried to make it about Christ and the gifts were the extras.

I am grateful for a mother that taught her children how to be present in the holidays and I am getting better each year.

I have plenty of examples when I got off track.

Heck, when Jack was little we bought him so many gifts he was so tired of opening them that he started bawling.

In the early years of being a mom I was so concerned about it being perfect for my family that I lost sight of my family.

I have been more concerned about the house and keeping it clean than connecting with my guests.

I wanted to take a moment and just share some of my family’s favorite ways to make the Christmas season special.

{I would also love to hear how you make Christmas special within your own family}

I love this movie so much because it helped me to see Joseph in a completely new light.

I also LOVE  Zechariah and Elizabeth in this movie.

Did you know that Zechariah means “The Lord has remembered”.  LOVE!!!!

It has given us so many good discussions about judgement, shame and embarrassment that is still a problem with young girls pregnant today.  Jesus would never shame them…He would love them.

One of our most special activities is to handout words of kindness.

I know it blesses us even more than it blesses them.

You can read about it HERE.

We have really enjoyed doing more acts of service this Christmas season.

I am wanting to make this something we are more active about throughout the year.

It has shown us over and over that to help others feels pretty wonderful.

Each year we do some kind of devotions during Advent.

I have come across different ones that we have enjoyed based upon the children’s ages.

The past two years we have loved THIS book.

You would think this would be a no brainer but I have had to make this choice over and over.

We say no to most Christmas parties, gift exchanges, cookies exchanges but they stress me out (maybe they don’t for you and that is great).

Instead of busyness of going out we really try to plan more movies, books, ice skating, cookie making, crafting with cousins and gift making.

Whatever slowing down looks like for you…I think you will like it.

The more we make not just this season but all seasons about Him…we will show more love and experience more peace.

When your focus is Christ this season your holiday will not just feel stressed, busy and empty.

Take time to “follow on your knees” and be awed by God coming to earth.

That is love.

That is Christ.

Love!

Merry Christmas!

You are deeply loved and appreciated.

Thank you for being a part of my life and allowing me to share my heart.

I will see you after Christmas.

Acts of Service Advent Tree

Good morning!

I have been getting a lot of questions and emails about our acts of service Advent tree that was seen in the housewalk.

I had intended to write this yesterday but you know how that goes.

Even though it is December 11 (how did that happen) you still have time to do some of the acts that I will share.

Obviously, you can create your own that work with your family too.

This idea originally came to me while I was watching Anne Marie’s Twig Tree video in Home for the Holidays.

She was creating a small twig tree to hang on the wall and I knew right away that I wanted to make it big and hang acts of service off of it.

I sat down with my mom and we started brainstorming things we could do as a family.

We even asked the children to help with a few ideas.

I typed all of the acts up in Word and printed them out.

We cut the acts of service into strips and folded them over to get them ready to stuff into the stars.

Our stars are made from craft paper using a star template I found online.

We (my mom) started to sew them all shut with the acts of service inside but my machine was driving her NUTS so I told her we could go with Plan B.

Always have a Plan B.

For half of the star we glued them shut with a glue stick (only getting glue around the edges to keep the glue off the acts of service) and we used a white gel pen to make thread marks on the outside.

It worked for me and possibly saved my mom’s sanity.

If you are going to hang the stars as shown …make sure that whether you sew or glue them shut that you include the end of the string in the star before you close it.

I then just randomly hung the stars on the twig tree.

Here are our acts of service for this year.

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I hope to do this each year as a family because

1) who needs more candy each day through December

2) who doesn’t need more times in their lives to think of others more than their selves

As much as I love, love, love the month of December if you are not careful it can turn into just shopping, eating too much and sugar comas.

I feel like each time we so something like this we take a huge exhale, slow down and focus.

I am thinking we will keep it up year around and have weekly acts of service.

I will let you know.

Thank you for asking about this and thank you Anne Marie for inspiring this project.

Home for the Holidays is still open for registration.

This course is full of projects videos for gift ideas, decor and recipes.

Come back on Friday to find out more about my brand new e-course Studying Under The Masters {becoming an apprentice} and I will also announce the winner of the $300 Dick Blick gift card.

Some of my Favorites {Come and Join Us}

I was inspired all last week with the 2013 Holiday Housewalk!

32 creative bloggers all coming together and opening their home was so much fun to be a part of.

I loved so much about each home but I put together a little collage of some of my favorites.

Once I put them together I thought it was obvious how much I love a touch of black in my decor and typography!

If you want to see the whole tour from the beginning click HERE.

You can find tons of inspiration by checking out the Deck The Halls Holiday Housewalk Pinterest page.

Now you can be a part of the walk too!

Jen is having a linky party where YOU can link up and share your home all dressed up for Christmas.

I can’t wait to see your home.

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 Handmade is my favorite gift to give!

Kelly is having a HUGE Kelly’s Favorite Handmade Things giveaway!

Come and celebrate the beauty of handmade.

Kelly's Favorite Handmade Things Giveaway!  eclecticallyvintage.com

 

Kelly – Eclectically Vintage (that’s me) – Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock and Roll vintage silver spoon keychain

Stamped Silver Keychain eclecticallyvintage.com

Lucy – Craftberry Bush – stag watercolor art pillow (Shop Craftberry Bush)

Stag pillow

Angie – Knick of Time Interiors – hand painted Milk & Cream on glass sign (Shop Knick of Time)

Milk and Cream Co. Sign available from Knick of Time

Jeanne – JuNxtaposition – vintage typewriter key necklace (your choice) (Shop JuNxtaposition)

typewriter key necklace

Jen – Jennifer Rizzo – set of 3 original art silkscreened dish towels

Handmade Santa dishtowel

Melaine – My Sweet Savannah – salvaged wood Christmas tree (Shop My Sweet Savannah)

Salvaged wood Christmas tree

Jen – City Farmhouse – hand painted Ski Lodge sign

Handmade ski lodge sign

Jeanne – Jeanne Oliver Designs – Sadie Handbag or $89 shop credit (Shop Jeanne Oliver Designs)

Jeanne Oliver Sadie handbag

Lucy – Bel Monili – vintage buttons and baubles bracelet (your choice) (Shop Bel Monili)

Vintage bauble bracelet

Denise – The Painted Home – music sheet flowers in new blue mason jar

vintage music sheet flowers

Jade – Jaderbomb – gold glittered PEACE letters (Shop Jaderbomb)

Glittered Peace letters

Laura – Top This Top That – burlap wreath

burlap wreath

 

{This giveaway is open to Continental US residents only}

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