Christmas Preparation: Joy and Fear

Christmas is a time of strong and varied feelings, isn’t it?  Joy and sadness.  Hope and nostalgia.  Peace and discord.  Love and loss.  I suspect Christmas has always been that way.
Just last night, my kids and I were having a conversation about whether or not angels still show up and talk to people like they did in the Christmas story. My daughter’s kindergarten friend claims to have seen an angel; my daughter says that’s impossible. The truth is, if an …

Christmas Preparation: Share Joy

Yesterday we read that John the Baptist (or Baptizer) was a little lord a leaping in utero. Today, we read of his grand entrance into the world:
When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. (Luke 1:57-58, NIV)
Little John was born, and the neighbors and relatives celebrated! I imagine they celebrated that the baby was …

Christmas Preparation: Leap for Joy!

When I was pregnant, it was fascinating and weird to watch my belly move. Of course I felt the kicks. But it wasn’t just a feeling, and it wasn’t just me. You could actually see my belly move. A little baby tush would stick out on one side. The skin stretched, swelled, and surged as the baby flipped and flopped. It kind of looked like the 12 Days of Christmas—a little leaping lord and a tiny lady dancing—inside my belly.
The …

Christmas Preparation: The Week of Joy

Two more weeks ‘til Christmas! Does that fill you with panic or joy or a little bit of both?!
This week of Advent, we reflect on the idea of joy. There are two books in the Bible that tell the Christmas story of baby Jesus—Matthew and Luke. The word “joy” only appears a few times in the whole book of Matthew, but it appears about a dozen times in Luke. Several of those instances come in the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth.
The …

Christmas Preparation: Prioritize Love

Angie Frame here. I’m one of the teaching pastors at PCC, serving primarily as the Midlothian Campus Pastor, and I’m helping out with the blog for a bit.
My head is swimming; my calendar is crowded; my hours are full with Christmas lists to fulfill, goodies to bake, and events to attend. I love it! I love the hustle and bustle, the fullness of the season, the excitement and anticipation. I even love the lists, especially crossing them off.
But it’s a …

Christmas Preparation: The Greatest Love

At this time of year, we seem to measure love by the size of the gift.  I remember one Christmas I really wanted to buy something special for Susan to show her how much I loved her.  I spent way too much money (more than I had) to buy her a gift that she liked, but didn’t love.  We say we love things:  “I love my car!” “I love my ring!” “I love my house!”  But the truth is that …

Christmas Preparation: Love for those in need

Read Matthew 14:13-21, which you can do here. Answer the following questions:

Jesus was withdrawing ‘privately to a solitary place’ because he had been informed that his cousin and staunch supporter, John the Baptist, has been executed.  But when his boat landed, he saw that a huge crowd of people was waiting for him.  How would you have felt, in a moment of personal grief, if this happened to you?
How does Matthew tell us that Jesus felt about these people?
As …

Christmas Preparation: Love that Gives

I begin today with a confession.  I don’t offer it lightly. In fact, I’m talking about this because I feel God telling me to.  But I’d prefer to keep it a secret, frankly.
First, a little background, just to set it up.
I’ve been speaking in front of groups of people since I was 6 years old.  I don’t say that to brag.  Many people can look back into their childhood see the consistent trajectory of their lives.  I know mechanics who …