Do You Celebrate Advent?

 

Christmas Tree 2013Do you celebrate Advent?

Advent is a personal thing.

Perhaps you attend a denomination that celebrates with certain liturgical rituals.  That’s great.  Rituals bring meaning and reverence to our worship.  Perhaps your church doesn’t celebrate Advent.  Perhaps you’ve never even heard of Advent.

Advent is simply a way to focus our thoughts and our hearts on Jesus and the celebration of His birth, death, resurrection, and His offer of salvation to us.  It’s a time of reflection and heart searching.  It is a personal, holy thing.  What you do isn’t as important as what you do in your heart.

We light candles on an Advent wreath each night in December, read our Advent Book, pray, and on good nights, sing a carol.  Do we do it every night?  No.  We miss a few, but that’s okay.  We just pick up the next night and keep going.

I encourage you to focus on Jesus as the excitement of Christmas continues to mount.

Christmas Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage,

Laura

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Christmas Gifts for Children… Precedence, Disappointment, and Gratefulness

I heard some mothers talking the other day about how their children were disappointed when they didn’t receive a lot of gifts for Christmas.  It saddened me.  I have a word that has guided my gift giving with my children.

Precedence…. What does that word mean to you?

I looked it up on http://www.dictionary.com/. As I was looking for definitions, most were related to law precedents. That tells me it’s a pretty strong word. I am most interested in the first definition that the American Heritage Dictionary presented:

“An act or instance that may be used as an example in dealing with subsequent similar instances. “
This is the definition that has been a guiding thought for me. In the past, my family has been much more affluent than we are currently. Nevertheless, I have always thought about the precedents that I am setting with my children when we give gifts for celebrate special days and holidays. For instance, even when we could afford it, and wanted to give my children their first bicycles, I would not buy such a gift for Christmas or a birthday. We don’t give many big gifts; we never have.

During the year, I look for gifts that I think they will enjoy. I put them away in a box until their birthdays, Christmas, or an I Love You day. Because I don’t give big gifts, they don’t expect them. Because I don’t give them often, they are thrilled when they receive one.

Does this mean my children are disappointed with their Christmas gifts?  On the contrary, they are happy with what they receive.  Thrilled in fact.

When we don’t set a high precedence of expectation, our children are free to be grateful for the gifts they do receive.  They can truly enjoy their gifts without thought of cost or quantity.

I love my children.  I am not required to give them gifts.  I want to give them gifts.  They know that.  They are thankful and enjoy the gifts because they know I am giving them out of love.

Just something to think about…
Blessings from Harvest Lane Cottage
Laura
Keeping it simple for our Savior

Planting Seeds… J.R. Miller

 

All our thoughts, words, and acts are seeds. They have in them a quality which makes them grow where they fall, reproducing themselves. This is true of the good we do. The mother’s teachings enter the mind and heart of her child as mere germs; but they reappear in the life of the son or daughter, in later years, in strength and beauty, in nobleness of character, and in usefulness of life. Not only is this strange power in the mother’s words; her acts, her habits, her tones of voice, the influences that go forth from her life, are also seeds, having in them a vital principle. Where they lodge, they grow.

You never can lose your mother. She may die, and her body may be borne out of your sight, and laid away in God’s acre. You will see her face and hear her voice no more; no more will her hand scatter the good seeds of truth and love upon your life’s garden. But you have not lost her. Your mind and heart are full of the seeds which fell from her hand along the years. These you never can lose. No hand of death can root them out of your life. They have grown into the very tissues of your character. They reappear in your habits, your dispositions, your feelings and opinions, your modes of thought, your very phrases and forms of speech. You never can lose your mother; the threads of her life are woven inextricably into your life.

~J.R. Miller

The Seeds We Scatter

Every True Wife

“Every true wife makes her husband’s interests her own. While he lives for her, carrying her image in his heart and toiling for her all the days, she thinks only of what will do him good. When burdens press upon him she tries to lighten them by sympathy, by cheer, by the inspiration of love. She enters with zest and enthusiasm into all his plans. She is never a weight to drag him down, she is his strength in his heart to help him ever to do nobler and better things.”

 ~ Homemaking ~

J.R. Miller

 

“She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31

Wash Rinse Repeat

 I just finished reading Joshua. 

Perhaps you remember Joshua.  He was one of the twelve spies that Moses sent ahead of the Israelites to Canaan.  He was one of just two, Joshua and Caleb, who returned with positive reports that the people could be conquered and the land claimed.  He was one of only two of his generation who was privileged to live and enter the promised land.  Caleb was the other.  The rest died in the wilderness.  Only Joshua and Caleb were spared.  Joshua went on to be Moses’ replacement as leader of the Israelites.

During Joshua’s life, the Israelites worshiped God, the one true God.  God gave them numerous victories over their enemies and gave them the land.  Joshua and the elders kept the nation’s focus on the Lord.  After Joshua’s death, the focus changed.  The next generation began to turn away from the Lord and to worship other gods and idols of the nations around them.  Things had been going well for them.  They forgot the Lord and the things that He had done for Israel.  So God gave them over to be conquered and taken as slaves and such.  After awhile, they would repent; and God would help them.  Then it was wash rinse repeat. 
This has direct application to us.  If we allow ourselves to lose our focus on the Lord, even though He may be on our minds and in our hearts, we can lose a lot.  If the next generation, our children or granchildren cannot see that our lives are focused on the Lord, how will they know how important he is?  How will they learn to love the Lord with all their hearts and minds and strength?

This is just a little something to think about.

Laura

who has much to be thankful for including the forgiveness of my sins.

More Christmas Writings…

Hello Friends,

I know we’re all busy with Christmas preparations and celebrating.  I invite you to take a break, grab a cup of eggnog or hot tea and spend a few minutes reading my Christmas writings.  I have two blogs, Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage and Harvest Lane Cottage.  I have Christmas writings on each of them.  The links to the Christmas writings are below.  Happy Christmas Friends!

Harvest Lane Cottage Christmas Writings

Laura of Harvest Lane Christmas Writings

Enjoy your Christmas preparations! 

Laura

Happy and Blessed to Be at Home with Family