Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Greatest Gift: Book Recap

After seeing a few other women reading Ann Voskamp’s December devotional, The Greatest Gift, and sharing quotes from it, I decided it was a book I wanted to pick up. Hope and Melissa Emma rocked at sharing little bits of truth on Instagram! So, although the book starts on December 1st, I joined on the 5th. Better late than never right? This book really emphasizes slowing down at Christmas, realizing the importance of the Gift, and understanding the reality of Jesus’s birth. Ann Voskamp highlights amazing relationships between the Old and New Testaments making the story of Jesus’s birth even more beautiful.

It’s a day late, but I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from the book. Remember, Jesus doesn’t just come on Christmas day- He comes every minute of every day. All quotes are from Ann Voskamp herself unless otherwise noted. Enjoy the lingering of the holiday season and realize that the Greatest Gift is here.

“The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”
-Frederick Buechner

“While other creeds endeavor to get us out of the world and into heaven, in Christianity, heaven comes down and Christ comes into this world to get us.” (p. 31)

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes… and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer (p. 82)
   *We must let Jesus open the door for us.
“Let everything go, and kneel. Kneel here and behold only Him- the only place where you can receive the gift of acceptance, so the gods of acceptance have no hold on you.” (p. 150)

“Without repentence, our hearts will be so full of worldly things that there will be “no room in the inn” for Christ to be born again.” (p. 162)

“All worry dethrones God. All worrying makes you king and God incompetent. There is a King born in Bethlehem and on the throne. You can breathe.” (p. 170)


Which quote stands out most to you and why?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Remember It's Real

Mary and Joseph.
The shepherds.
The angels.
The three Wise men.
Animals. Especially a donkey.
An innkeeper.
A star.
And baby Jesus.  
These are the main characters.

The setting is a manger in Bethlehem.

Key lines: “Fear not, I bring good news that will bring great joy to all people.” “You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” –Luke 2

All of these appear at Christmas time in church pageants, on Christmas cards, in Nativity scenes. In snow globes and ornaments. In children’s books.

All are great reminders and symbols of the story of Jesus’s birth. But it’s easy to think of it as just that- just a story. But we need to remember it was real. It is real.

It’s easy to think of them as characters. But Mary was a real girl, likely younger than most people reading this. She was probably stressed- travelling pregnant, having no place to stay. Giving birth in a stable. And Joseph- wondering whether to believe the angel, to trust his soon-to-be wife. Maybe he felt a little ashamed that He couldn’t find a place for his pregnant fiancĂ© to stay. I know a lot of young men today might feel that way… The hay was probably itchy. The animals may have been a little stinky. Do you think the innkeeper was glad to have business or upset to have to turn the couple away? Do you think the Wise men were stressed about what gifts to pick out?

Thinking about their feelings helps me remember that they are all real. It’s not a story. It’s not just a picture. Jesus really came.

And He didn’t just come a long time ago- He comes “every minute, every hour, everyday” if you open your heart to Him.

*This post was inspired by Nichole Nordeman’s song “Real.”