It Begins with Him

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Luke 2:15-20

It’s been a quiet month on Heights of Love. While we are living this transitional chapter, a tale of two cities if you will, I have been seeking stillness in the chaos. My heart has been receiving a lot in this time and I look forward to sharing it with you in the weeks to come.

I was planning to write a post about the song Let There Be Peace on Earth. Tyler and I went to see the Boston Holiday Pops last weekend and at the very end of the concert, the Pops led a sing-a-long of this song in honor of Newtown.

I was struck by the phrase “let it begin with us” and thought I would write about how there is something each of us can do every day to contribute to peace.

I still believe that we play an integral part in making peace come alive but on this Christmas morning, I am reminded that it does not begin with us.

It begins with Him.

He came as an innocent babe, born into a modest setting and suffered a tragic death. Why?

For us.

So that we could have peace…

So that we could receive grace…

So that we could know His true love – a love that will never fade or grow distant.

Just as Mary treasured the miracle of her son, a life-giving prophesy fulfilled, I pray that we, too, would remember the miracle of this day and the hope that it symbolizes.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas and new beginnings in 2013.

Blessings and peace to you this Christmas morning :)

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Prepare My Heart

It’s the first Sunday of Advent, the season of anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus. I have fond memories of lighting our advent wreath and reading through devotionals from my mom.

I love this time of year, as many of us do. The traditions, the festive decor, the food (yum!), the music. It’s so easy to get caught up in the gifts and the parties, almost finding ourselves surprised by the real Christmas story when we go to church on December 24th.

I don’t want to be surprised this year.

After spending time in the Psalms leading up to Thanksgiving, I didn’t quite feel ready for Christmas when the Black Friday sales began and radio stations started playing Christmas music. Over the past week I’ve felt drawn to the book of Isaiah, one of the prophets in the Old Testament who prophesied the coming of Christ:

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.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

It’s like God was whispering to me, Don’t lose sight of My heart this Christmas.

I haven’t found an Advent devotional yet and I don’t think we’ll be lighting any candles since Tyler and I will be apart for almost every Sunday night of advent. While I’m longing for these traditions, I’m also welcoming the opportunity to have quiet, unstructured reflection this Christmas.

As we prepare for His coming, we anticipate a lot more than presents and a holiday meal. The birth of Jesus brought a new hope into this world and each year we have the opportunity to open our hearts to His grace and salvation.

I’m not sure what God will reveal during these next few weeks but I know He wants to speak to each of us. I pray that God would prepare our hearts for the joyful gift of Jesus, so that we might live with a renewed sense of purpose in the coming year. I pray that we would find stillness in the chaos and that when we find ourselves singing “O Holy Night” on Christmas Eve, that we would truly understand the meaning of “a thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”

Blessings to you this Advent season!