Tag Archives: Advent

COUNTING TO 2000

Counting to 2000

One Thousand Gifts

I  reached 2000 this week. So next week I will be saying – Counting to 3000.

Someone handed me a paper the other day that said:

Things to Do Today

        • Ask God to help you prioritize your life.
        • Ask Him for guidance and courage.
        • Make God’s priorities your priorities.
        • If you do, you will receive God’s abundance and His peace.

As we head toward Christmas – this second week of Advent – may you be filled with God’s presence and peace.

My gifts from this week:

        •  watching my grandbaby play peek-a-boo on Skype
        • learning to play Mexican Train Dominoes with Wayne – we are still confused
        • Twitter followers  – follow me on @AuthorJanisCox on Twitter
        • 1982 – memory of our third baby’s birth
        • warmth of the sunshine while we walk
        • warmth of the hot tub and the steam bath
        • things that are red: my apple every morning, my cozy red housecoat and red traffic lights to control the flow of cars and keep people safe
        •  pictures on the wall of my family
        • 1987 – memory of my hubby and I starting our company Pearlchem
        • sunsets in Arizona – amazing reds (someday I will remember my camera)
        • meeting new friends on Twitter @AuthorJanisCox and @UTCOP (Under the Cover of Prayer)
        • actually slept in until 7am
        • indulged in a nap
        • great Scrabble game
        • praise song words, “None but Jesus, crucified to set me free.” Hillsong

        • connecting with a friend in Poland
        • toes didn’t hurt at tap dance
        • 1996  – remembering son’s wedding
        • “Art in the Courtyard” – painting and selling books

Ethel teaching me watercolour batik.

        • Advent – an adventure with God
        • 2000 – new Christmas song “My Soul Magnifies the Lord” played with a full orchestra and sung by a youth choir

 

WHAT IS ADVENT? My Own Five-Minute Friday

What is Advent? – My Own Five-Minute Friday.

There is no official Five-Minute Friday for December. But I cannot not write.

So I have chosen the word Advent for the 4 weeks of December. Today is the day of HOPE.

This year I have tried to be intentional about the season of Advent. In our church back home in Canada we have a candle each Sunday that reminds us of the weeks leading up to the birth of Christ. Hope, Peace, Love and Joy

Down here in Arizona – our church here does not even mention it.

This morning I thought of what Advent means to me. I thought of three areas where I can focus on this waiting for the Christ.

Physical – some people fast during this time of year. Instead I thought of nourishment. I think this is a:

TIME OF NOURISHMENT

I can spend more time in the Word, in Advent studies (I have been doing the download from Margaret Feinberg on her home page), and in prayer.

Mental – I must get my head around the reason for this “Christmas”. So much other stuff is centred at this time of year. Food, gifts, parties. But what does this coming of the Christ mean to me.

A TIME TO REMEMBER THE CHRIST

Emotional – I used to be excited for Christmas – the presents, Santa Claus, bells, Christmas carols. But what emotion does Jesus want me to have. Anticipation. Yes, I am anticipating the coming of God in human form.

A TIME OF ANTICIPATION

Those are the three things I am concentrating on this season. Advent means the coming of Christ at the Incarnation. God came into being in this world to connect with me. I have a spirit of adventure this year. It is remarkable how HOPE can come when we approach Christmas this way and reach the Risen Christ.

I want to be READY. I want to BREATHE in Christmas!

Come Jesus Come
We wait –
Breathe

I love the hymn “Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus”.

CHRISTMAS REFLECTIONS

 Christmas Reflections

reprinted from Inscribe OnLine

I love the way we count the days until Christmas especially the Advent Sundays. This past week has been God our Hope. Isn’t that wonderful. We can hope because God gives us that HOPE in Jesus.

As we put up our manger scene this year I thought about the babe in the manger. As I gently placed him on His bed – I thought how awesome God that You placed Yourself in such a vulnerable position; how this shows us HOPE – because we are so vulnerable as well. I can know hope because of what You have done for us. Hallelujah!


In the second Sunday we see God as God our LOVE. We know how much You love us as we acknowledge that You sent Your Son to us. Your love abounds. We see it in the faces of people we love; in the music that is played; in the Scriptures that we read. Hallelujah!

Next comes God our JOY. Yes, anticipation of a family gathering – watching the grandchildren interact. The kisses and the hugs. Laughter and chatting. Being with each other. But I also see joy in the faces of the clerks in the stores when I say, “Merry Christmas”. I see joy as I thank God for each little gift during the day. What blessings. Hallelujah!

And finally God our PEACE. This babe that is born in a stable becomes the Light of the world. He becomes our peace. He is the King of Kings. I know Him and I can feel that peace at all times. Praise God for sending Jesus to us. Hallelujah!

As we celebrate Jesus’ birth let us remember what really is Christmas – God giving us His Son. Let us not forget this – for this is what is important and a reason to celebrate.

Merry Christmas.

HARD EUCHARISTEO

Hard Eucharisteo

by Jan Cox

In many of the past posts we have talked about prayer in all circumstances. This week I learned the practical reasons for this.

Last week my husband’s van collided with another van at an intersection. He had a green light and had started into the intersection as another van ran through the red light on the cross street. Our van spun around and the airbags deployed. Wayne broke his sternum and two ribs. He spent two days in hospital and is now recovering at home here in Arizona. We believe it will take 4-8 weeks to recover.

From the time I learned of the accident (the police called me) to this point I have been thanking God for being in every circumstance. I remembered that thanks is a verb. My prayers became thankful prayers.

There have been times with all the extra details of driving in unfamiliar traffic, listening to doctors, giving medicines and dealing with insurance companies that I would have a tendency to get uptight. But I keep focusing on Jesus – calling to Him to help me – and He is there, holding me steady and giving me peace.

I am so grateful that Ann Voskamp heard His voice and wrote One Thousand Gifts. I am so grateful I have read the book four times and have led a Bible study based on it.

To read it – to teach it – and then to live it – Eucharisteo – that word stuck in my mind.

From Ann’s words on qideas:

It [Eucharisteo] means thanksgiving in Greek. My life’s struggling to pronounce it, that word that’s set like the unexpected crown jewel in the center of Christianity, right there at the Last Supper before the apex of the Cross. When Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks for it, that’s the word for his giving thanks: eucharisteo. It’s like a language lesson: in that word for thanksgiving, eucharisteo, are the roots of charis, grace, and chara, joy. If you can take all as grace, give thanks for it, therein is always joy.  Eucharisteo –  grace, gratitude, joy – one word that God in flesh acted out when he took the cup.

©iStockphoto.com/Annette Wiechmann

Now as we head into Advent season (this Sunday is HOPE) I would encourage everyone to starting writing down the gifts that you see, hear, feel and touch this Christmas season. Let us give thanks to God in every situation and find His joy.

Here are other links for thankful ideas for Christmas and Advent.

With Thankful Hearts

Haliburton Pastoral Charge Thanksgiving Letter

Haliburton Pastoral Charge Advent Letter

Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree Family Devotional

My Gratitude List for this week – I have skipped over many to be able to write this week’s list. I am counting and up to 689. This is a long list but it has been a long week.

  • Hard Eucharisteo – Wayne is t-boned in an accident, broken sternum and bones
  • Friends who pray
  • Family and friends who care
  • A friend who loaned me his car to take Wayne to the hospital
  • Car insurance and medical insurance
  • Your calming presence in my life
  • The gift of prayer
  • Knowing You are in charge
  • My daughter’s presence here in Arizona during this time
  • Kind, caring doctors at the first hospital
  • A nurse who brought me an orange and another who brought me a hearty salad
  • A warm blanket for me
  • A TV to pass the time while we waited for test results (5 hours)
  • Good doctors watching Wayne for any complications
  • Safety on the roads to the airport and hospital
  • Arriving safely back to our home in AZ with Wayne
  • All the prayers from friends and family
  • Energy to continue when I just want to lie down
  • My daughter safely back home in Canada
  • Wayne comfortable on medications
  • Wayne’s laughter even when it hurts
  • Walks around the lake
  • Snowball’s new tricks
  • A good book to just pick up and read
  • Morning time to think and pray and rest in Him
  • So many email friends praying
  • A nap that restores my energy
  • Another friends’ car to use – a “red box”
  • Pain meds for Wayne
  • A rental car
  • Regular routines
  • Learning the steps to a dance in tap
  • Finishing an easy Sudoku
  • Remembering that it is not about me – instead to serve
  • My shoulder feels almost normal
  • Jesus – to call upon
  • Scripture to keep me strong and at peace
  • A replacement vehicle for the one totaled (more mileage but insurance money paid for it)
  • Trust and belief in God
  • Writing all this down
  • Growing in the knowledge of God

Jan Cox

Jan, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement. She has published two devotionals and a number of articles for magazines and a Bible study. She is owner of Under the Cover of Prayer and moderates the site. She also writes at A Better Way. Jan has written a children’s book in which she is also the watercolour illustrator. She hopes to publish it some day.