on the eve of Christmas day

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Ah, sweet Christmas.

I will allow nothing to discourage me about the reality of saving grace in Jesus Christ.  There is no condemnation for those who love Him.   Condemnation happens when we or someone we  hold in high esteem convince us that we are unworthy to be called a child of God because “we don’t dress right”  “we don’t go to church often enough” “we drink a glass of wine now and then” “we listen to the wrong kinds of music”…..things that are NONE OF ANYONE’S BUSINESS…you see, as a lover of Christ I AM FREE.  I am free to be the unique individual He made me to be.  Salvation changes a hard, stone cold heart into a tender heart.  Salvation means that Christ has made my soul properly clean before God, because of Him, I have a secure hope that when the time comes for Heaven, He will stand with me and advocate for my standing as a beloved daughter, a person chosen and precious before God.  I am welcomed into everlasting life.  Therefore I have new life, I have hope as I live my days here as a wife and mother, as a friend and a sister.  By the amazing grace of God.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  Romans 8

I AM NOT FREE TO be habitually judgmental, jealous, bitter, mean, unkind, fake, cold, abusive, unforgiving, prideful, angry or selfish.  People who call themselves christians and still continue year after year in these behaviors are scary. I will run away from them……..I’ve had experience with “christians” who are like this and I myself was somewhat legalistic years ago for a time because of the leaders in a former church’s example and teachings…..(I have a story—I understand if you have one, too) but God is ever faithful and grew me away from those behaviors which caused so many problems in my life.  I still struggle at times because of that experience.  So flee from any legalist people in your life.  Don’t allow yourself to be tainted by their judgmental ways.  Keep yourself childlike, trusting, open, loving, and gracious.  Reading the Bible (God’s love letter to you) is the medicine our soul needs so that our hearts stay open and loving.  “His law is love, and his gospel is peace.”


The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Romans 13:12

I will still make mistakes.  AND IT’S OKAY BECAUSE I AM HUMAN, a beautiful humanly human.  We all are.  I love myself the way God made me, and the way he made my friends just the way they are, I don’t focus on their “faults”, I understand them and appreciate them.  My friends love me the way I am.  Are we perfect?  No.  But we are perfect for each other.  (Good Will Hunting)

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This is what I’m thinking about this Christmas season. …. Jesus Christ came from Heaven to earth to save sinners.  AND HE DID IT, HE DOES IT.  He ushered in an age of Amazing Grace.  He swept away the doctrines of the Pharisee which held to an impossible standard of perfection and looked down on everyone else, and gathered up for his own the outcasts, the lowly, the lost causes, and turned them into children of God.  He loves us so much.  He always has, he always will.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.  James 1:17

******

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We made the Christmas cookies.  Every year there are two kinds that we simply must have:  Russian teacakes and gingerbread men.  My children helped me and they were very cute.  (both the cookies and the kids)

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Our neighbors came for a quick visit the morning of Christmas Eve and gave David a present (and the rest of us, too).  One of the things I am most thankful for this last year is getting to know them better.  We can visit and share laughs…and later on today we are going to see the new Star Wars movie together.

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In the afternoon my sister and her family came.  We had planned on a brunch but then found out that Jason had to work half day and Rich had to coach a wrestling practice.  But we still had breakfast food….which we ate at lunch time.

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We had pancakes, cinnamon rolls, hash brown casserole, cherry topping, whipped cream and maple syrup for the pancakes, mimosas, bacon, and sausage.

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wonderfully active, silly boys

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Michael came for brunch before he had to leave for work.  This young man is like family to us, he is Jacob’s best friend and we all love him.

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Naomi is my little niece and one of Sarah’s favorite friends.  These two girls spent the day together playing.

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They played with Naomi’s bitty baby, Grace’s old bitty baby, and Sarah’s bitty baby.  🙂

I thought it was so great that Naomi wore her Christmas dress to my house.  She looked like a princess all day long.

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Grace’s boyfriend Caleb was able to spend time with us as well.

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In large family gatherings you just never know what will happen.  David decided it was a good time to roller blade throughout the house.

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We watched a movie (ELF).

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And exchanged gifts…..so fun.  I love my family…my one and only sister, her husband who is like a brother to me and Rich, their children.  We are so thankful for each other.

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Caleb videoed Grace opening one of her presents so his mom could watch it later on.

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Determination and belief that there is room for him.

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We played Pictionary.  Amanda and I were a team, Jason and Rich were another team.  At first they were winning……(we had to use make-shift game pieces)

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But then we pulled ahead and won.

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The losers didn’t want to be seen.  🙂

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My beautiful niece Abigail with her cousin Ethan.

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Then Jacob’s girlfriend Emily showed up bearing gifts.

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She had a gift for everyone, even the chickens.

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Jacob gave her a Willowtree figurine which she loved so much that she….

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gave him a smooch.

aren’t they so cute???????

Jacob works at the shoe department in Dick’s sporting goods so she also got two pairs of sneakers.

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And that was that.  Everyone went home, we put the children to bed, and it was just Rich and I doing what we always do on Christmas Eve.  Finish wrapping presents and arrange them all under the tree.  I was getting sick with a terrible head cold that has lasted for days but we got the job done with a feeling of anticipation for the morning to come.

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6 thoughts on “on the eve of Christmas day

  1. Amen! I appreciated this encouraging post so much!

    I saw Good Will Hunting years ago, and had not remembered that quote. What a great quote! Robin Williams was amazing in that movie.

    Thank you for sharing your happy place. I enjoyed reading about your Christmas. The young couples in love are so darn CUTE! The older ones are pretty darn cute together, too. 🙂

    I hope the rest of your holiday is blessed and happy.

    Love and Hugs!

  2. You are loved for who you are Shanda.
    Loved seeing the memories you all made.

    Doing a study in Eph. Thought I’d share a little…

    For (YOU ARE) his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that (YOU) should walk in them. Eph. 2:10

    *you are His handiwork, a thing of His making, something that is actually being made and fashioned by God. You are a thing of His making.”

    Why? To the praise of His glorious grace.

    That’s why I love you.

    B

  3. Yes! I love what you shared. That freedom and love in Christ Jesus is so wonderful.

    So much happiness going on around your house. I miss you. I am like you, I totally love making it all pretty on Christmas eve. We fill stockings and put the presents around. I always wanted it all picked up and pretty, even knowing it would be a mess the next day 🙂

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