Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snapshots from Christmas Day

Being the big kid that I am, I was awake by 4:30am Christmas morning (partly due to a snoring dog on the floor next to our bed), but forced myself to stay in bed until 6:00am. My husband and I went downstairs and thoroughly enjoyed the breakfast he prepared before we dove into our stockings and presents~

Maia's annual jingle bells ~ She has surprisingly come to enjoy wearing the collar, and we're convinced that she likes hearing herself jingle down the hallway and up and down the stairs~

The surprise gift my dad sent to my husband ~ the gift he's wanted since he was a little boy!

When we purchased our Blu-Ray player a few weeks ago, I had just one requirement: "Beauty and the Beast" under the tree on Christmas morning, and I got it!

The Sheltie posing with her momma's annual Sheltie calendar~

Nali was beside herself (we have the video to prove it!) when we placed her new bed in the floor, and that's pretty much where she stayed the rest of the day. I challenge anyone who would argue that our dog doesn't know what Christmas is~

Christmas lunch with friends at our lead pastor's house~

A truly sweet time with our church family!

This silly girl makes us all smile!

My husband made a new friend while us ladies were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner~

Singing some Gettys music after dinner~

I'm not the only one with the family tradition of all the ladies gathering in the kitchen to cleanup after the big meal!

Oh, how I love these sweet friends!
We were feeling pretty homesick leading up to Christmas, especially since we wouldn't be seeing our family during the holidays for really the first time ever. Being asked to spend Christmas with friends from church ended up being a real treat, and made us so thankful for our "family" here in Louisville.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lyrics & Reflection on Light Shining out of Darkness

Labor of Love
(from Andrew Peterson's "Behold the Lamb of God")
It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town
And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold
It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
Noble Joseph at her side
Calloused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night
So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the Maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move
It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
As the Christmas season and week have so suddenly crept up on me, I'm thankful for the moments I've been afforded when I can pause and reflect. The image I've had in my head this season has been that of light shining out of the darkness, and how that night in a cold cave in Bethlehem changed the world forever. I reflect on how very harsh that night must have been: no sterile and safe hospital, no friends surrounding them in the midst of their fear, no certainty of where they would go from there...just a simple man and woman bringing this baby into the world, a baby whose birth would change the course of human history. A baby who would go on to shatter the sting and victory of death. It's hard to wrap our minds around at times, but then there are moments when we get a glimpse of the personal nature of that night. This has been a difficult year for me and my husband, and I am brought to a place of peace and rest and hope when I think on Jesus' birth. On the darkest of days, there is the hope of light breaking through the darkness. I read the familiar account of Christ's birth in Scripture, wondering if this is how Mary and Joseph felt. At the end of that dark night, they were given the gift of life in the birth of their baby, and that baby was the Giver of life Himself. What a miracle - "...the baby in her womb, He was the Maker of the moon, He was the Author of the faith that could make the mountains move."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Favorite Photo(s) Friday ~ A Night with the Gettys

(Last three photos courtesy of the Gettys' FB fan page)
The concert we attended last night was such a treat. The last time we saw Keith and Kristyn Getty in concert was a couple of years ago when they released their album "Awaken the Dawn," and I was ecstatic that they were returning to Louisville for a Christmas concert. While we weren't able to get better pictures, I did manage to meet Kristyn afterwards. She signed the songbook I purchased, and I was able to share with her (very) briefly why I have been so encouraged by their music these past few years. One of the wonderful blessings I have experienced since being in Louisville has been exposure to such rich worship music. I was telling her in our brief minutes together that as a woman who has also been compelled to lead others in corporate worship for many years, I often felt like something was missing from so much of the contemporary music we hear in churches today. After being introduced to such worship groups as the Gettys, worship leaders who share a love for timeless hymns and a commitment to music saturated with the truths of Scripture, I realized what I had often sensed was lacking. There is such a need for music in our churches to point us to the Savior - to our need of the Savior, and I have been encouraged in a very personal way by the music of Keith and Kristyn Getty. Here is just a sample of some of the music they have written (the song they left us with at the close of the concert):

Celtic Christmas Blessing
Now may the fragrance of His peace

Soar through your heart like the dove released

Hide in His wings oh weary, distant soul

He'll guide your spirit home
And may His love poured from on high

Flow to the depths of your deepest sigh

Oh come and drink from the only living stream

And on His shoulder lean
And may the hope that will not deceive

Through every pain bring eternal ease

There is no night that can steal the promises

His coming brings to us
So may His joy rush over you

Delight in the path He has called you to

May all your steps walk in Heaven's endless light

Beyond this Christmas night