Wednesday, December 21, 2011

With Thanksgiving being late this year, the Christmas season kinda just snuck up on me. Is the same is true for you? The calendar says "Advent" is here, yet up until this past week, I was feeling far from prepared -- in my heart or otherwise. That is until we put up our tree two weeks ago.

As soon as the lights were plugged in, it was like a switch in my heart was turned on as well. This year as never before, the physical acts of preparing for Christmas this week... baking cookies with my children, writing the cards, singing carols... they have all been very special and real reminders of the importance of preparing my heart.

Likewise, I'd like to encourage you to take joy in every little thing that you do over these last few days leading up to Christmas. Whether it's filling stockings, visiting family and friends, listening (or perhaps singing) in a Christmas program, driving by pretty lights, whatever... I hope like me, you'll be able to see these physical reminders in a new "light." May we not merely see them as another thing to check off our lists, but as a means to prepare ourselves for celebrating the greatest gift ever given, Jesus Christ.

My hope for you this year is that you will experience an extraordinary Breath of Heaven as you prepare your home and your heart this Christmas season.

Have a very Merry & Blessed Christmas!

(Photo: Yahoo Images)

Monday, December 19, 2011

The way in a manger

Yesterday, like many other churches in the UK and probably across the world, we had our carol services. The morning was an all age service with the children taking part and the evening a traditional carol service with readings and a wonderful mix of old and new carols, to both organ and band.

Although a manger isn't where you'd want to lay a new born baby - my daughter has gone as far as parking her playmobil ambulance next to the nativity scene to whisk Mary to the hospital for the birth - it's the very place that the King was laid following his birth. A genuine King size bed.

The children's carol says Away in a manger, no crib for a bed. But Jesus is The Way in a manger. He came from the highest height to the lowest depths. Without the greatest gift of all, there would be no hope, no salvation.

Without Christ, there would be no Christmas. So in between wrapping presents, decorating the tree, singing carols, just take a moment to worship the One who made this possible. Who gave us the forgiveness we don't deserve. And showed us the true meaning of love.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New...from the Sweet Treats Bakery Series

Tessa’s Teacakes by Mary Manners

Tessa, the youngest Spencer sister--and the most impulsive--rushes into the Mount Ridge crisis center bent on saving her brother-in-law. She's ready to handle Brent's abductor, with or without help. What she's not ready to handle is the effect policeman, Colin Phillips, has on her. Romance is the last thing on Tessa's mind. She longs for the adventure and fast-pace of New York City, not being tied to Mount Ridge and a man who insists she shouldn't be so impetuous. After all "independent spirit" is what Tessa does best!

Colin transferred from the police force in Atlanta in order to find closure after the brutal murder of his younger sister. He wants a nice, safe future, not one filled with caring and worrying about another impulsive woman. His sister was naive and unpredictable, and while Colin is drawn to Tessa's spunk and vitality, her willingness to rush into danger scares him. No way could he cope with another devastating loss. His heart must remain closed where Tessa is concerned.

But God has His own plans--and His own way of changing hearts and cultivating love.