Thursday, December 20, 2012

Day 50

Don't you love to see a beautifully wrapped package?  And this time of year, they are everywhere.  I have to admit that I'm not the best present wrapper.  I've gotten better over the years, but I'm far from perfect.  The paper sometimes rips while I'm trying to tape the sides... thankfully, invisible tape can make it all go back together again.  If you're looking for a beautiful present, then Von Maur is your place.  Not only is it free... yep, you read it right, they wrap presents for free... but it's also professionally done complete with a color coordinated ribbon.  Beautiful!

When you receive a beautifully wrapped present, it stirs up excitement.  I wonder what's inside?  It can be the most delightful of gifts... something you really wanted.  Or, it could be something that you can't wait to return.  I've received gifts from both camps.  I bet you have too. 

Amazingly enough, the greatest gift ever received did not come in a beautifully wrapped package.  As a matter of fact, it arrived in conditions that we would equate to a haphazardly wrapped gift.  A baby... born in a barn... to a poor family... and whose bed was a feeding trough filled with hay... the animals were the only ones around to greet the baby... and the first visitors were shepherds.  No professional gift wrapped with a color coordinated bow here.  This was God's own son, Jesus, arriving in the most humble of conditions (Jesus Calling p. 371). 

The truth behind this is mind blowing to me.  God's plans are so different from ours.  Yet His plans are best.  I heard "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" today with fresh ears.  Take a look:

Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem

Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Christ by highest heaven adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel

Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Hail, the heaven born Prince of Peace
Hail, the Son of Righteousness
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
Glory to the newborn King


Two phrases stood out to me.  The first verse introduces Baby Jesus and tells His purpose... God and sinners reconciled.  This precious baby is Savior.  His birth is the reason we can have eternal life in heaven if we invite Him into our hearts as Lord and Savior (John 3:16).  Isn't it mind blowing?  That's enough to stir some thankfulness in my soul.

And then this phrase:  Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel.  What King today chooses to live with the common people?  Dine with the common people?  Dwell with the common people?  Yet Jesus left heaven and the presence of His Father to come to a broken earth... all to save us.  And not only that, Jesus was pleased to do this because He loved us so much He wanted to spend eternity with us.  There is no one like Jesus, is there? 

I don't know about you, but this ignites a new appreciation for Jesus as we approach His birthday in five days.  Just think about it... what He gave up to come to earth as a baby... what He endured to save our souls... how He lived and taught and loved.  His birthday was the beginning of hope for us. 

Thank you, Jesus, for being pleased to dwell among us.  Thank you for enduring so much on our behalf.  Thank you for being perfect, because we are not.  And thank you for willingly dying on the cross, then raising from the dead so we can spend eternity with you.  Your love is more that we can comprehend.  Thank you... In Your Name, Amen.

Tonight, I am thankful for...

1.  Rain-X
2.  Safe travels in the rain today
3.  Giving gifts
4.  Celebrating
5.  Weekend plans
6.  Generous parents who helped with my son's school party
7.  Watching kids dance
8.  Pizza and movie night with the family
9.  Listening to the the boys and their Daddy giggle hysterically at Home Alone
10.  The sound of the wind... and how even though we can't see it, we know it's there
11.  Fire in the fireplace
12.  Warm house
13.  My mom watching my three year old so I could go to my seven year old's party today
14.  Hark the Herald Angel's Sing sung by Josh Wilson
15.  God's quiet whisper

Here's to 10,000 reasons... Only 4,527 to go...


  1. I am thankful for...
    1. Consecutive hours of sleep
    2. Being blessed beyond what I deserve
    3. Feeling loved
    4. Medicine to help us when we're sick
    5. Chicken pot pie
    6. Cupcakes
    7. Nap time for all
    8. All gifts being wrapped
    9. Grocery store trip ALONE
    10. Being ability to buy what we want for Christmas dinner
    11. A loving card
    12. Angel food cake and strawberries
    13. Candles
    14. Christmas tree lights
    15. The cold weather
    16. Snowflakes - such incredible beauty and uniqueness in each one
    17. God's gift to us
    18. Experiencing Christmas with such a strong God presence
    19. Advent calendars
    20. Special times with my kiddos
    21. Veggie tales
    22. Safe travels
    23. God's peace
    24. God's ability to use others to reveal Himself
    25. Strength that only comes from God
    26. Joy
    27. Healing
    28. The promises of God
    29. The miracle of life
    30. The power of prayer

  2. I am thankful for:

    1. a warm fire this morning while I did my devotion
    2. my girls having a fun first week of school break
    3. the budget process is completed
    4. answered prayers for one of the kids I represent
    5. a new modem that works
    6. a fun Adventure Christmas party
    7. Richard and all that he does for so many
    8. all of our staff who work to make sure church is a meaningful place for people
    9. Todd R. and all of his extra volunteer hours at the church
    10. Christmas cards from friends
    11. my Mike's recovery
    12. getting to see my niece for a little while
    13. the turn out for the Clubhouse Advisory Council
    14. getting Carrie's present wrapped before she got home
    15. electricity that came back on yesterday after only an hour or so
    16. two new good books that I read this week
    17. the new biography I am reading and the author who worked hard to write it
    18. creativity among our team
    19. the large response to my last blog post about the end of the world
    20. getting to celebrate Jesus' birth in just a few more days
    21. Tyler helping to get things ready at church
    22. friends
    23. my dad's health
    24. a warm coat to wear today bc I know many people don't have that
    25. Proverbs 21
    26. Psalm 125
    27. 1 John
    28. Luke 1 and 2
    29. Allison who will be joining ACC this weekend
    30. lots of encouragement I get from people through technology

  3. I am thankful for
    1.Getting up early so I could get some of the house cleaned before going to Dad's.
    2.Going to Dad's.
    3.My sisyer being able to go to Dad's.
    4.My sisters daughter getting out of the hospital.
    5 Sam's having already made food to take to Dad's.
    6.After lunch things going well at Dad's.
    7.Having a safe trip to Dad's.
    8.Getting my dining room cleaned after coming home from Dad's.
    9.Getting candy made to chill overnight.
    10.Getting coolie dough made to chill overnight.
    11.Getting a Turtle Cheesecake made for a gift.
    12.Having time to rest and read before going to bed.
    13.Going to bed.

  4. 1. Danish's
    2. Spell Check
    3. Little Debbie Snack Cakes Shaped like Christmas Trees
    4. Office Christmas Pot Luck's
    5. That it's Friday!

  5. I am thankful for
    1. 11 days off for Superman and Eden
    2. Plans to visit beloved friends over Christmas break
    3. The love that Supwrman puts into the Christmas ham - his Dad Ernie's recipe.
    4. The sweet gentle spirit of my husband who has endured more heartache than should be allotted to one person- and keeps smiling.
    5. My wise and wonderful friend Heather and her God given gift of special friendship- precious !!!!

    Bonnie Lawrence

  6. 1. being home alone with elle all day
    2. elle being so happy even while throwing up all day?!
    3. a sister-in-law who loves me and truly KNOWS and cares
    4. the perfect verse texted to me
    5. whitney
    6. friends offering to entertain my other two- AND bring them home!
    7. elle's teacher
    8. thankful for peace
    9. adventure church 4/5th class
    10. an empty schedule/ calendar the next few days
    11. a cozy bed
    12. a house
    13. what GOD is doing in our life.
    14. memories
    15. 5:55
    16. karen
    17. lessons learned
    18. snow this AM
    19. God's promises and His being Here
    20. Heather's commitment to this experiment !


  7. 1. dad's friends
    2. mom's friends
    3. lillian's friends
    4. adelaide's friends
    5. my friends
    6. dad
    7. mom
    8 lillian
    9. adelaide


  8. 1. i am thankful that when i asked elle for 5 things she was thankful for- she said " oh good- i've been thinking about that!"
    2. elle can read so well!
    3. lulu's text
    4. little love notes
    5. UPWARDS basketball


  9. I am thankful for:
    1. the ocean
    2. big crashing waves
    3. the view of oceans and mountains together
    4. penguins, puffins, and seahorses at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
    5. coconut shrimp
    6. the diversity of God's creation
    7. hot choc chip cookies
    8. smooth flowing traffic
    9. talking and laughing together on the car ride to Monterey