living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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Keep The Lights On

Against the outline of a dark house, Christmas lights shine brightly.

Ladies, there is just something so cheery and comforting about a drive through the neighborhood lit up for Christmas, during the cold Christmas season.

…and so (as tradition in our household has it) we put up our outdoor lights the day after Thanksgiving.

This year, we put up white icicle lights on our new TN home and put out our lighted outlined nativity. They looked so pretty. I just love to drive home at night and see our house so bright. 

 

One day, however, I noticed that our nativity was not lit up. We had had construction workers at our house and I thought maybe they used our extension cord. When I went to investigate, the extension cord was plugged into the same outlet as the freezer.  They were both still plugged in, so I figured that something else was wrong.

I let the matter go for a few days, thinking in my head that I would “get to it”. On Saturday of that week, I made a bunch of freezer meals. When I was finished, I carried them down to the freezer, where I found out that my freezer was off and had been turned off for as long as had my nativity.

I was sick to my stomach. All of the fresh peaches that I had frozen were ruined. The extra meat that I had stored was spoiled.

I realized quickly that when our construction workers had turned off our electricity, the outlet had to be reset, but it was not. Therefore, the freezer and the nativity were shut off.

I grabbed a large trash bag, filled it up and dumped everything in the garbage can.

Then it hit me…

If I had cared more about the nativity being lit, I would have figured out that this freezer had been shut off.  If I had been more concerned about Jesus being lit up this season, my food would have still been frozen.

I lost out, because I wasn’t concerned with what was really important.

What are you losing out on, because Jesus is not lit?

Peace? Security? Love? Relationships?

This was such a great reminder to me, to keep the important things “lit”. I hope you have a great Christmas season and remember to let Jesus shine the brightest.

Rejoicing,

Joy


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A Season of Giving

The holidays are upon us!

I’m sure that you have already been looking around, wondering what to purchase this year.  It is not even Thanksgiving yet and the stores are bursting with Christmas.  My Facebook feed is filled with pictures of friends who have already decorated their homes and with stories of kids telling their mamas what they want for Christmas.  I totally get it.  I LOVE me some Christmas, but I also have to pace myself.

You see, if we zoom past Thanksgiving we miss important lessons on gratefulness….and this seems to be what our commercial “friends” down at the mall want us to think:  “Focus on what you WANT, not on what you HAVE!”  (Let alone being grateful for those things.)

Now before you start to think I’m “The Grinch”, let me tell you that I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas.

I love the true meaning of the season.

I love the decorations.

I love the songs.

I love the smells.

I love the adorable Christmas plays.

I love almost everything about Christmas.

BUT, I don’t love the “GIMME” side of Christmas.

The Bible says  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35


….and so what I have tried to do in our home and hope to convey to our kids is that Christmas is a season of giving. I often bring up the fact that God gave us the best Present, Jesus,  and this is the basis for our giving.

Some of the ways we “do” Christmas:

  1.   Feeding the hungry
    1. My son figured out that the Salvation Army bell ringers collect money to feed other little boys and girls. We can not go in OR out of the stores without giving them money.
    2. We have also invited friends over that do not have a place to go during the holidays. We try to be ONE BIG family to them.
  2.   Gifting
    1. Neighbors: Every year we make or buy a gift for all of our neighbors. This is just our way of sharing God’s love with them.  Avs loves to go and help me deliver them. This is a highlight of our Christmas
    2. Teachers and Friends:  We also make little gifts and presents for our kids’ teachers as well as close friends.  We LOVE to gift.
    3. Extended Family:  This year “A” and “T” took their own money from their piggy banks and went to the dollar store and bought each of their cousins a gift.  We gave them a few tips, but mostly the gifts were their own ideas.  This was a sacrifice on their part but they LOVED it. Then when we got home, they helped me wrap those gifts.  “A” wrote the names and “T” put a bow on each package.
    4. Close Family:  We take the kids out and let them buy a nicer gift for each other as well as their parents.  We help them with the selections and use some of our money so they can do this. They love being a part of the gifting process.
  3.   Christmas Day
    1. On Christmas Day, we begin the day by reading the Christmas story. Then we let the kids GIVE their gifts.  We make a big deal out of this and they get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Presents are opened up one person at a time.  This helps us all to fully enjoy the gift-giving process and is much more meaningful.  This is all our kids have known and they love it.

My children know the story of baby Jesus and they are starting to realize what a sacrifice He made.  We are trying to teach them that it’s not about being good and getting BUT about sacrifice, gratitude and giving.

It is sooooo much fun to give!!!!   Let’s pass this on to our children.

How much fun would it be this Christmas if your child’s BIGGEST smile came from giving someone else a present RATHER than getting a toy that he will only use for a short time! – Rejoicing in the Present

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The Big, White, Shopping Bag

I want to share one of my most fond Christmas memories.

My daddy worked at what was known in this area as “The Hosiery Mill”. Every year at Christmas he would take me there….we would walk up to a counter and daddy would hand a ticket to the man behind the counter. My excitement grew as the man reached behind him and handed me a big, white shopping bag.

On the entire front and back of the bag was a huge Santa Claus face. Inside…..O, Inside was FILLED with toys! (with some candy, nuts and fruit on the bottom) Now, these toys were what we might call today, “Dollar Tree” toys, but I loved them! I didn’t get a huge amount of gifts for Christmas, but plenty, I’m sure, but I always looked forward to this huge bag of toys!

This wonderful memory, along with many others, becomes more precious as time goes on. My daddy passed away 10 years ago…my mom is in a nursing home, and though she lives, her memory is “passing away”. I miss “her”. I do enjoy talking to her SO very much, but the time of her being my Mom is fading as I speak to her as if she were a child much of the time.

I appreciate so much the fact that my parents took me to church and made me do right.

So love, cherish, and enjoy your family….we never know what tomorrow holds….. as we rejoice this Christmas season in remembering our Lord’s  birth. HE IS the reason!

Merry Christmas!