Christmas for the Lowly

Madison RosserFaith, HolidayLeave a Comment

Christmas. Much like Buddy the Elf, I have very positive feelings about the holiday. I love the glitz and glitter of this season— magic fills the air and our hearts. The fireplace roars while Bing Crosby serenades us with hopes of a white Christmas. Snow piles high on fences, matched by the whipped cream atop mugs of hot cocoa. As the old carol expresses, “Silent night. Holy night. All is calm. All is bright.” Except, judging from my own very small world of past experience, I know that it is neither calm nor bright for many people during the holiday season. The truth is, some homes will wake up Christmas morning to family members wracked by addictions. Refugees will wake up in camps with little hope in their hearts of ever returning to their own hearth-side chairs. Some people will wake up and wish for the day to pass as quickly as possible, aching for loved ones lost. In many countries people will go to work as usual without the slightest notion that much of the world has pressed pause. No western, romanticized notion of Christmas morning will bring any real hope for these circumstances. In fact, for much of … Read More

Joy to the World

Madison RosserHoliday1 Comment

Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Several weeks ago, in preparation for advent, my pastor turned our attention to the story of preparation for Jesus’ arrival. Israel had sat in silence for years and years, wondering if God’s promised redemption would ever come. Then, one day, two humble families heard his voice again, and as people say, “the rest is history.” Elizabeth became pregnant with John the Baptist, who would declare Christ’s coming Kingdom. When Mary arrived to visit Elizabeth, baby John leapt with joy in her womb. Elizabeth immediately knew something special was at hand. I can imagine that both Mary and Elizabeth were a bit bewildered by all the messages from angels and miracle babies, but the Holy Spirit confirmed in their hearts the joy in the mystery of it all. The Messiah would arrive as a tiny babe. Though both ladies surely wondered and fretted over how it would all come to be, joy overwhelmed their reunion. I imagine them hunkered down together, Elizabeth pregnant in her old age, Mary in her chastity. Perhaps they spent their nights chatting for the months Mary stayed, baking bread together, staying up late … Read More

The Best Christmas Gifts Ever

Heather GillisHoliday1 Comment

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”James 1:17 Tis the Season……Everyone is getting ready for Holidays.  Preparing baked goodies, getting ready for parties and buying Christmas gifts!  It takes a lot of time, preparation and planning to find the perfect gift for that someone special.   Have you ever received a gift so perfect you remember the joy and excitement you felt when you opened it?  I bet you could tell me what the gift was and how you felt when you received and opened it.   As a parent, I bet you can remember that special gift you gave your child and the joy you received watching them open it and their reaction after receiving it.   Giving Gifts is a great way of showing another person that they are special and how much you care for them.  A gift is only a gift if it is received, accepted then opened, otherwise it’s just a box with a gift in it.  What good is a gift if it is never opened and received? I am sure many of you have … Read More

The Peace He Brings

Madison RosserHoliday3 Comments

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 Peace. This time of year, when I think of peace, a certain image pops into my mind. The Christmas lights twinkle. Silence indeed fills the night. I sit on my couch, toasty under piles of blankets, reading an advent book (or Harry Potter, currently), with hot cocoa on the table next to me. Snow drifts whimsically down from the night sky in flakes, covering our home in the sweetest powdered sugar. The gift of time drops itself in my lap, and I am able to attend every party, enjoy quiet, intimate gatherings with close friends, and make my own family traditions as my husband and I enter our fourth year of marriage. After all, Christmas-time is made of magic, right? If people were awarded for their ability to dream up picture-perfect lives, and then be disappointed by reality, gold medals would bedazzle every wall in my house.  As for reality, piles of blankets have morphed into a pile of unmarked seventh-grade papers on my desk, whose grades will need to be entered, on, … Read More

The Christmas Story: Three Acts of Kindness

Heather GillisHolidayLeave a Comment

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord”Luke 2:11 What do you think of when you think about Christmas?  If you could pick one word that describes Christmas what would it be?  When I think of Christmas I think about kindness.  It is such a perfect time of year not for just celebrating the birth of Jesus but giving kindness to others.  Christmas is filled with gifts of kindness that God gives to us.  The Christmas story begins with Mary and Joseph traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted for a census by order of Caesar, the Roman govenor.   When they arrive in Bethlehem, there is no room for them at the inn.  Here are 3 Acts of Kindness that Are Given Throughout the Christmas Story. Kindness Act #1 The InnkeeperEven though there were no rooms available in the Inn, the InnKeeper offered the only space available, the stable.  This is where one of the greatest events in the Bible occurred, the birth of Jesus.  The innkeeper did not have to offer them anything, but he did.  Because of his kindness, a beautiful story unfolded.Kindness Act #2 The Shepherds​An … Read More

His Lavish Love

Jewel ZymurgyFaith2 Comments

Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth. Love. The greatest gift. The one thing that will change a crayon-drawn stick figure into a painting that rivals the Mona Lisa. The one thing that can change the path of a troubled kid. The one thing that really, truly binds us broken humans together. It provides the most noble motivation, the fiercest forgiveness, the most healing balm for our souls.  A situation can be pretty dark and dire, but knowing you have someone who loves you, who is there for you, can change any situation, or at least make it endurable if circumstances stay bleak. As a teacher, I know a major (if not the number one) resilience factor for students who experience trauma is having people who love and care for them.  A little love goes a long way, and a lot of love brings a richness to life no money could buy.  Without love, what would life be but the steady steps of biology from birth to death? Love changes it all. It brings us to life. It brings us life.  We could say, it all began with love. … Read More

Celebrating Advent

Madison RosserHoliday3 Comments

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 Could you imagine a time before the celebration of Christmas even existed? Or a time before a world that wasn’t filled with sin or hopelessness? Israel was waiting and wondering if the prophecy in Isaiah was really going to be fulfilled. Or was a Messiah really going to be born? Over the next 5 weeks I will be doing a series of topics about The Christmas story. Our hope and prayer from Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry is that even with the busyness of Christmas we keep Christ at the center of our Christmas celebrations. One way to keep Christ in the center is to celebrate Advent (which means coming) with our families. There are many ways to celebrate Advent and there are no right or wrong ways to celebrate. Celebrating Advent enhances The Christmas Story and carries on Jesus’ legacy He left behind. Celebrating Advent and Christmas allows the birth of Jesus story to be told and carries of His story through us. … Read More

A Thrill of Hope

Madison RosserHoliday2 Comments

A thrill of hope The weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Advent. A season of great anticipation. We wait, hushed, in a noisy world that does not know what it’s missing. We wait in expectation for the child King’s arrival, knowing He has already come, knowing He is coming again. We wait. We hope. What is hope exactly? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hope as desiring something with the expectation of obtainment. This definition leads me to ask the question: What do we hope for? If we look around us, we see the world in a dire state, but I don’t believe these sorrows are anything new under the sun. When Israel waited for the Messiah, their nation was in a dire state too. When Jesus was born into the world, people were starving, families were broken, and nations were war-torn. Evil men ruled. Disease destroyed. Hopelessness reigned in people’s hearts. Sound familiar? Tonight’s dark is no darker than the night the holy angels appeared to the shepherds watching over their flocks by night.  Jesus’ arrival into this world, his birth, his life, his death, his resurrection, I don’t think they turned out the way people … Read More