December 5, 2018

When You Need a Visual...

  and for Wonder and Joy to Abound!

I hope this holiday season has arrived for you with plenty of wonder and joy.

Maybe, for you, this really IS the most wonderful time of the year... or maybe Bah Humbug (rather than Merry Christmas!) is what is on repeat in your head.

Or maybe... just maybe... this season is slowly unfolding and you haven't (yet!) felt the presence of Peace or Goodwill! Perhaps Wonder and Joy haven't shown up and shown off, but I assure you --much like Advents' message... they are coming! 

Sometimes we just need to look for them... 
to seek them out... to ask the Lord to
open our eyes to see them!

Wonder and Joy... 
They tend to go hand in hand.

It's nearly impossible to find one
and not find the other!

All of this Slowing Down for Advent still feels counter-cultural for me. I intentionally started slowing down years ago - long before I began to practice Advent. So the full-on chaos of the Christmas Rush is already a distant memory.  

However, just because we slow down and don't let ourselves get caught up in the frenzy... this doesn't mean we actually allow ourselves to uncover the Wonder and Joy of the season!

Sort of like how Not Doing Stuff is not the same as Resting!  It's a great start... but it's not the same thing!

The same goes with simply sitting out on some of the holiday festivities and cutting back on the commercialism of Christmas... it's a great start (if you find this necessary) but it's not the same as discovering the Joy and Wonder of the season.

Listen, this year we are sitting out on some of my favorite traditions (Lighted Parade, A Walk Through Bethlehem/Live Nativity, much of the Shopping/Gift Giving) due to our circumstances (read: health and finances).

However -- we are well aware that we are -even still!- blessed beyond measure and well taken care of. We are not wallowing in any kind of pity party over here. I'm just being real. Things are different this year --but sometimes having our normal stripped away and laid bare is a gift, after all!

Sometimes less truly IS more...

Sometimes all the stuff can limit your view of the Savior!

All the cutting back, whether voluntarily or due to circumstances, can actually be a gift! It opens up space for us to be present... to slow and still... to reflect and remember that (O!) Holy Night...

It reminds us of what (read: WHO!) we are celebrating... it reminds us Advent is real and after all those silent years of waiting...
He Came!  

He came near, as Max Lucado put it, and oh my goodness, how that changed everything!

And this is the best Good News of all...
He's still here!  
He is still near to us...
and He is coming again.

So no matter what this season holds for you... 
whether this is a joyful time of year and abundance is overflowing for you, or if you find yourself strapped tight with heavy and hard pressing down...

...whether you are surrounded with friends and family and festivities galore, or you are grieving a loss and battling loneliness and your calendar is emptier than you'd like...

No matter what... 
My prayer is that as you slow and seek Him... you prepare Him room and turn your attention (and your worries) over to Jesus... my prayer is that while you are looking, He will open your eyes to see!

May Wonder & Joy give you

a depth of vision that you have
not yet encountered
& may the Spirit of Christ(mas)
invite you to see what is
already there!

Maybe, like me, you know all of this
--but you still tend to forget!

We live in a small town, not a big city, and on a clear night we can look up and gaze at the stars.  

We fix our eyes on the stars above and we stare in wonder at all of creation and how the One who created it all also breathed life into us! 

We relish in the beauty of the night sky and think about how amazing our bright and morning star is, and then...

He gives us a glimpse. He peels back a corner and we see for a moment the night skies from His perspective and, all over again, Joy and Wonder fill our souls...

And we are like the shepherds on the hill...
and we can barely contain ourselves
with the message of Good News... 
He is coming...

  He is HERE!

Maybe you, like me, can use a visual once in a while! 

I know the changing of One Little Word that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago has been a game changer and such a gift... and then this, as I was looking at the night sky and wondering what the Shepherds really saw...

This visual reminder whisper-shouts that we are so very limited in our ability to understand and know what is going in on our lives and in the world around us... but God!

He sees all and there are layers and depths, colors and songs, that we simply have not discovered yet! 

I needed the visual to stir up hope and to remind me of Who is actually the one who holds it all together when it may feel like it's all falling apart.

It's Him! It's always been Him! 

And it always will be!

As I pondered what the night skies may have looked like all those years ago, when suddenly it was packed full with angels and peeled back so the shepherds could see, I realized that the skies are always packed full... there is always more to see that our mere human eyes can drink in! 

But He who named the stars also formed us and calls us by name! 

He left all of heaven to limit Himself to flesh and blood...
so that, in time, we could leave behind flesh and blood,
and gain all of heaven!

I'm linking up with the lovely writer community linked below:

Mary Geisen for #TellHisStory

Kelly Balarie for #RaRaLinkUp

Holley Gerth for #LetsHaveCoffee

Check out THE CHANGING OUR MINDS PODCAST. In our newest episode, we talked All Things Christmas... and we'd love for you to join us around the table as we share some of our favorite things about the holiday! We will be back one more time before Christmas Day and we'll focus more on the Christmas Story itself (or --make that, HIMself!) So keep a look out for both of our Holiday episodes this month!


  1. I was just in Washington and oh the beauty of the skies ! Thanks, Karrilee! God is much bigger than I can comprehend yet came for you and me.

    1. Oh Sue, I'm so glad you were able to enjoy some of our PNW beauty!

  2. Less is always more (for me). I wonder, are you able to see the Northern Lights from your area?

  3. Paring down and doing less can actually add up to more. I find that being overcommitted even with fun things ends up making me weary and cranky! Thanks for your post here. Merry, merry!

    1. So true, Karen! And this season DOES tend to offer so many fun things, we can end up letting our Should Do's undo us! ;)


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