The First Monday in Advent

Give Me a Bold Spirit

It can be tough being strong. Sometimes, it seems you can only function in crisis mode. On a normal day, life is hectic. At Christmas, it can become chaotic! Add to this a often lack of self-discipline and you have problems. So many treats and sweets available everywhere you turn. Not to mention the goodies you yourself make. After all, you have to taste one, or two, to make sure they turned out all right, don’t you?

Today’s verse reminds you that God has given you a spirit that makes you strong; a spirit that fills you with power, love and self-discipline. You don’t have to be strong all by yourself. The Spirit of God wants to help you be as strong as you need. Whether it’s having the strength to face a new day after a late night of Christmas events or having the willpower to resist the fattening food laid before you.

When you feel your mind and body growing weak, take a moment to call on that bold spirit within you and remember that you are not alone.

The First Sunday in Advent

Lack of Time Zechariah

Introduction

Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth never had children and, with Elizabeth past the age of childbearing, they thought they would never have children. God had other plans for them, though. God was waiting for the right time to finally bless the couple with, not just a child but a son that would play an important part in the story of the Messiah.

You must always remember that God’s timing is perfect and it is never too late for Him to fulfill His plans.

Key Points

  • Zechariah & Elizabeth are just like Abraham & Sarah
  • Like Abraham’s son, Zechariah’s son ushered in a new age
  • Time is not a factor with God

Zechariah & Elizabeth are just like Abraham & Sarah

Abraham and Sarah had waited decades to become parents. Yet the years passed and they had no children. Although God promised Abraham that he would have children, neither he nor Sarah believed because their were too old. Still, when the time was right, God gave them a son, Issac.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were also well beyond the age when couples had children. This was especially true of Elizabeth who was beyond the age when women were able to bear children. Elizabeth was unhappy because she had not be able to have children. As with Abraham and Sarah, though, God was waiting for the right time, His time, to bless Zechariah and Elizabeth with a son.

Like Abraham’s son, Zechariah’s son ushered in a new age

The birth of Issac brought the birth of God’ Chosen People. Issac was the first of many descendants of Abraham, the beginning of a tradition that continues through today.

Zechariah’s son, John signaled the beginning of a new age. John was the voice in the wilderness foretold in the Old Testament. John would be the one preparing the way for Jesus, talking about the one that would follow him. John helped turn the eyes of the people to the Kingdom of God, telling them they needed to turn from the old ways, their sinful ways. John was one of the original voices of Advent, speaking of the coming of the Lord.

Time is not a factor with God

Zechariah and Elizabeth never thought they would have children. They knew Elizabeth was past the age of childbearing. Yet the angel told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth were going to have a child, a son. Such a blessing on the elderly couple who never would have dreamed such a thing could happen to them. Yet God’s timing is always perfect. Elizabeth may have been too old in human terms but not in God’s terms. God knew the part Elizabeth’s son, John would play in the ministry of Jesus. John was born at the right time to fulfill his role in Jesus’ story.


Fear Vs Faith

We often let the idea of time frighten us. We worry about being too young. We worry about being too old. We are concerned there isn’t enough time for us to accomplish all that must be done.

Zechariah’s story is about time. Although it had seemed the time had passed for Elizabeth to bear any children, God thought the time was just right. God’s timing is always perfect. Even when it seems to you that the time for something has come and gone, if God is saying “Now!” then now is the right time. You are never too old to accomplish God’s plan is that’s the way He wants it.

The Bible has stories of people that thought their time had passed but God had other ideas. Sarah and Elizabeth gave birth when they were old women. Simeon spent years in the Temple, waiting to see the Messiah as God had promised. The promise was fulfilled when Simeon was a very old man. There are even stories of young people who didn’t seem qualified to do the job and yet God disagreed. Young David defeated the Philistine when grown men were too afraid to step up. Young Jesus debated the Law with Temple elders as a young boy. Timothy was thought too young to continue the ministry of Paul.

Time has no meaning to God. He only knows when there is a need and the perfect person to fulfill that need. When He says “Now!” it is not for you to question. It is time to step up like young Samuel and say, “Here I am, Lord!”

For Today

You worry that the time has passed for you to accomplish anything special, to fulfill the work God has called you to do. You must remember that time has no meaning to God. Even if you have put off answering the call God has placed on your heart, this doesn’t mean it’s too late. God keep molding you to fit Hi need and, when the time if right, He will give you what you need, including the courage and faith, to step up and answer His call.

How can you calm your fear over time?

How can you keep faith that God is still calling you when time goes on, when you are getting older?

33 Christmas Table Settings & Centerpieces

33 Christmas Table Settings & Centerpieces

Creating a fabulous centerpiece for your Holiday table doesn’t need to be expensive or hard. You don’t even have to buy a centerpiece. You can make it yourself!

These days, a Christmas centerpiece isn’t just for company. You can create a centerpiece that decorates your table all season long! When company comes over, put together a different look for your table based on the occasion. The centerpiece in the photo above is simple & beautiful! It doesn’t take much for you to create a lovely table this Christmas. Country Living is ready to help you with their guide of 33 table settings & decorations! You might want to try something different every night! Now that’s a Simple Joy!

Christmas Centerpieces

Advent Introduction

Jesus came to live among us for so many reasons, not the least of which was to help us control our fear and strengthen our faith.

I believe God calls each of us into service for Him. We are in this life to accomplish something special, something unique for Him. Unfortunately, too many of us are afraid to step up and answer His call. This Christmas season, I want to help you overcome the fear that may be holding you back.

Throughout the Christmas is the message “Fear Not!” The angels that appeared to various people in the story always began by telling them not to be afraid. This message is for you also.

Advent is a time for you to prepare yourself for the coming of the Lord. This year, I want to help you receive Him fully into your heart, to overcome the fear that is prevent you from hearing all He is saying to you, to help you feel the leading of the Holy Spirit.


Each Advent lesson is meant to help you overcome the obstacles preventing you from answering God’s call. Each of the Sunday lessons tells the story of someone who thought they were the wrong person for the job:

  • Zechariah: who thought he was too old;
  • Mary: who thought she was unqualified;
  • Joseph: who thought it wasn’t his problem;
  • The shepherds: who thought they weren’t good enough;
  • The women on Easter: who thought it was too late.

Nothing is impossible for God so nothing is ever TOO anything. I encourage you to spend time each day during Advent, reflecting on the restlessness you feel and the call God is placing on your heart. It’s time to step up and step out!

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Ideas

Outdoor Holiday Decorating Ideas

I believe Christmas decorating begins outdoors! Whether you are welcoming guests into your home or just offering Holiday greetings to people walking by your house, your home can begin sharing your Christmas warmth before anyone enters.

Midwest Living has a variety of ways to add Christmas cheer to the outside of your home. You might be tempted to try them all!

Outdoor Decorating

20 Magical Ways to Use Mason Jars This Christmas

20 Magical Ways to Use Mason Jars This Christmas

A wonderful friend gave me a box of old mason jars recently. I must be honest. I really haven’t done much with mason jars before. However, I was excited at the prospect of creating mason jar snow globes. I have made a few & have a few more to make. Or, I might just switch over & make some of these fun crafts from Country Living. I am ALWAYS looking for new ways to use old things and these ideas are fabulous!

You can enjoy using old mason jars. Or new mason jars. And you don’t even have to buy a whole box to do it. The dollar store in my neighborhood carries individual mason jars for, well, $1! So you can buy one or two & try out a few of these fun Christmas crafts. I warn you though, you will be heading back to the store for more jars faster than you can say “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire!”

Tip: After make 1-2 crafts with dollar store jars, should you decide to create multiples as gifts, price a box of jars from the local neighborhood hardware store. You may find the jars are less than a $1 each when purchased this way.

Christmas Jars

5 Clever—and Cheap—DIY Christmas Tree Alternatives

5 Clever—and Cheap—DIY Christmas Tree Alternatives

When Mr. D & I were first married, we could afford a Christmas tree. We also had no room for one. So we strung garland along the curtain rod in the living room & hung ornaments from it. Our presents went under the round table we used as a television stand. this worked well for us.

Not everyone can afford a tree, has room for a tree or perhaps WANTS a tree. this doesn’t mean you can’t have some type of tree with the help of Midwest Living & some ingenuity. Midwest Living shares 5 very clever (and cute) ideas for substitute trees. Even if you have a traditional tree (or more) you might still want to add one of these cuties!

Clever Trees