Below you will find my Advent Facebook  musings to date.  Using no more than 420 characters in each post, I began with the letter “A” and am traveling through the alphabet on the way to Christmas Day.  Join me on the journey as we focus our thoughts on how the coming of Christ affects how we live!!

AWAKE & ARISE!!! 2 Advent words today. “Awake, O sleeper and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine upon you and give you light! So be careful how you live … make the most of every opportunity.” Eph. 5:14. To awaken implies we’ve been asleep – lulled into complacency, compromise, and commercialism. Awaken your heart to a fresh, new desire to celebrate and contemplate simply the birth of Christ this year:)

BELIEVE is today’s word. We see this word a lot in this “season of believing” context. Believe in the magic of Christmas, believe in Santa, believe in good deeds, believe in other people. There’s nothing wrong with these warm fuzzies. But real believing goes much deeper, beyond the warm fuzzies, to a place called faith. What we do reflects what we believe. When the angel appeared to Mary, she believed. Do you?

CALM: “a state of tranquillity”. Does CALM describe your state of mind? It’s the opposite of anxious, frenzied, hectic, fast-paced, stressful — several words that a lot of us probably identify with during the Christmas season. I think one of the things that draws us to the manger is the calm setting we find there. Jesus can bring a calm to our lives, if we focus on Him first. Choose to be calm this Christmas!

DWELL: “to keep attention directed to; remain, reside”. God says the Word, became flesh and dwelled among us. Paul tells us to “let the word of Christ dwell in you.” When He dwells in us, and we dwell (remain) in Him, we find peace. We must choose to make our mind dwell on “Christ” things, instead of distractions, disappointments, and despair. We become that upon which we dwell. DWELL in Him this Christmas!

EXCITED!!! Christmas is a wonderful time of excitement – for children, especially. The lights, energy, hustle and bustle, the giving of gifts, the decorating, and gatherings – so fun! But it’s so easy to let the focus of our excitement be on the temporal, rather than on the One born to bring life Eternal. Our children are watching us, so make sure they see we are more excited about Jesus than anything else:D!

FREE! – today’s Advent word. Christ came to set the captives FREE! A phrase from a favorite Christmas carol says, “chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother, and in His name all oppression shall cease.” We can be held captive by many things: greed, tradition, power, materialism, status quo, fear, and even held captive by other people. What holds you captive this Christmas? Jesus wants to set you free:)

GLORY: today’s word. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed”, “the glory of the Lord shone round about them”, “glory to God in the highest.” Glory is defined as “renown, magnificence”. It is said “the glory of God is man fully alive”. God doesn’t bestow His glory on those who seek it for themselves. He reveals it first in the pure follower – someone like Mary, willing to reflect His glory, for His renown.

HEART: Prov. 4:23 says, “Guard your heart, for out of it flows everything you do.” The heart can flow with life, goodness, blessing, and joy. Or it can flow with pride, bitterness, evil, and sin. Jesus came to fill our hearts with love and life. God sees our hearts, and it doesn’t matter what shows on the outside, if what’s on the inside isn’t pure. This Christmas, tend to your heart, then live from your heart:)

INTIMATE. The older I get, the more I come to understand and crave intimacy with God. When I don’t have it, I’m grumpy and short-tempered:) God is all about intimacy with His children. He sent Jesus to us on an intimate night, born in an intimate setting, to model intimate friendship, with an intimate Creator. Make time today to seek a quiet place and that intimate conversation with God — He’s waiting:D

JOY! Beth Moore says: “JOY – what a needed commodity! What a source of attractiveness to a broken and needy world. We need joy, and our world needs believers who evidence the fruit of joy.” So where do you get JOY? Inner joy flows only from Christ-you can’t fake it, or find it anywhere else. Joy is an abiding in God’s presence, a radiance of what lies within the deepest part of our heart. Find Jesus- find joy:D!

KINDNESS. Women who react and respond with kindness wield an incredible, powerful weapon in the war of life we all fight daily. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” Prov. 31. When we have received so great a loving-kindness from God, how we can not extend it to others? Kindness brings healing, hope, and harmony to those who hurt. Give the gift of Kindness this Christmas:)

LISTEN! There are many sounds of Christmas: favorite Christmas carols and songs; children’s laughter; the ringing of bells; the bustle of crowds shopping. But we must be still to hear a baby’s small cry in the night – a baby born to bring goodness and light. A baby who grew to be a man whose voice calmed the sea, healed the sick, and spoke truth. Take time to listen for His voice this Christmas:)

MET “The hopes and fears of all the years are MET in Thee tonight.” A simple line from a Christmas hymn, yet so profound a truth. We can search for meaning, fulfillment, joy, dreams, happiness, and love-and end up empty, disappointed, and afraid. So we might as well start at the manger – where God chose to meet man:)

NAME. There is only one. No. Other. Name. The Name above all names is Jesus. Jesus is called by other names – Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Savior, Redeemer, Emmanuel, Deliverer, Lamb of God, etc., and makes Himself known to us in these names. We find strength, power, and healing in His name – let His name wash over you this CHRISTmas:)

ORNAMENT: Each year, I buy a new ornament for my boys. I’m amazed at the endless variety – from huge, ornate, glittery (not our style!), to small and simple. We use ornaments to decorate our trees, and other things that surround us at Christmas. I like to think God created us like ornaments, each unique, to decorate His world and attract others to Him. No matter if you’re ornate or simple, you have a purpose:)

PEOPLE. “For God so loved PEOPLE, that He sent His only Son …” People matter. They matter to God and they should matter to us. Not just in words or shallow pretense but in truth. If we say we believe what Jesus says, but treat others unkindly, or disregard people groups who are unfamiliar or “different”, what we’re really saying is, “yes people matter, but not those people.” This Christmas, care about people:)

QUESTION. 2 questions in the Christmas story stand out. Mary: “How can this be?” And the Wise Men: “Where is the newborn King?”. Mary’s question came out of a disturbed and confused heart, not afraid to ask God. And she didn’t ask “why?” The Wise Men’s question came from a seeking heart. Unafraid to ask, both willing to follow immediately. Ask God your honest questions, then follow Him with all your heart:)

REVEAL & RESCUE. Both words kept coming across my path:) God REVEALS Himself in the most surprising ways, if we just learn how to see Him. One of those unlikely ways was through a baby, sent to RESCUE our souls. Many friends waiting for a “rescue” this Christmas. Praying that as God reveals Himself, whatever you’re waiting for, you will find your ultimate rescue in Him:)

SIMPLE is today’s Advent word. I am struck by the simplicity of the Savior’s birth. Nothing fancy, nothing that spoke of royalty in that day, nothing ornate, overdone, or over-glorified. A simple girl in a simple home, a simple man who simply obeyed, simple shepherds who came to a simple stable, and simply worshiped a simple baby who would simply change the world. Keep it simple this Christmas:D!

TRUE Love is today’s Advent word. “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me …” is a familiar Christmas tune. Nope-God didn’t give us a partridge-He gave us a person. His Son, the truest, purest love we could ever know. This is what my True Love gave to me …on the first day of Christmas:D!

UNITY: Christmas is a time that brings people together, but it can also be a time where emotions ignite and division reigns. The whole purpose of God sending Jesus was to bring peace and reconciliation so we could have unity with the Father through His son. And so the unity we receive through this gift would be evident to others. True Unity is not giving in-it’s giving up our own way. Bring Unity this Christmas:)

VALIANT: “to be strong, undaunted, courageous”. The Christmas story is full of valiant characters: Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men. Imagine the reality of being in their circumstances: Pregnant out of wedlock, facing misperceptions, giving birth in a stable, fleeing from an enraged king who wants to murder your child? Living in hiding for 2+ years? What courage and strength to obey when it wasn’t easy — be Valiant!

WONDER is today’s Advent word. Christmas is a magical time of wonder. A starry night, angels singing, wise men with costly gifts, a young couple – all worshiping a baby who would be King. Don’t ever lose the wonder. When you lose the wonder, you lose the worship. Worship anew with wonder this Christmas!

X-FACTOR. Let’s face it – if not for the shepherds, would we know about and celebrate Christmas today? In my opinion, the shepherds were the X-factor — the ones who made the difference for us in Christmas story. “As they returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about Him!” They gave a testimony of what God did and who they believed God to be. Be an X-factor this Christmas!

YOU. and me. It’s up to us to care. What good is Christmas if we keep it to ourselves? After the presents are unwrapped, the food is gone, and the decorations are put away, how does Christmas change the way you do life? It’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit, but what about the poor and needy 11 other months of the year? Will YOU (and I) be the ones to make the difference to those who need Christ?

ZEAL! Passion. a never-ending pursuit. I love that Jesus came down to earth, not just with a message of hope for life ever-after, but hope for full life in the here and now. Have you lost your zeal for life? Life can zap our zeal. People can zap our zeal. What was Jesus’ passion? Pursuing with zeal whatever the Father put in His heart to do. Live with zeal, pursue God and live with passion! Merry Christmas!!