Tag Archives: Holidays

More Than Once a Year

Josh Wilson is one of my favorite musicians and I discovered this song just before Christmas. You might think I’m sharing it a bit late since Christmas was a couple of weeks ago but if you’ll listen to the message – wonderfully displayed in the video – you’ll understand why I waited to share it.

P.S. – This song also features Andrew Peterson, another of my favorite musicians!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Christmas Music, Compassion, influence with the world, Jesus, Loving others, Music Video, Religion and Spirituality, Serving

Winter Snow – Audrey Assad with Chris Tomlin

This has become one of my favorite Christmas songs. Hope you enjoy it!

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Winter Snow is from the album Glory in the Highest by Chris Tomlin

© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Christmas Music, Christmas Song, Divine presence, God, Jesus, Music Video, Religion and Spirituality

The best of 2011 and a “Thank You”

There goes another year! Mom was right, “the older you get the faster time flies.” As my second year of blogging wraps up I’m grateful for everyone who has shared the journey and humbled that my audience has nearly tripled.

The adventure of blogging is still a bit strange and mysterious to me. For example, of the Top Ten blogs from 2011, listed below, the number one blog is actually from last year! Go figure! Anyway, here they are in case you missed them the first time around.

1. My issue with Christmas cards – click here

2. Hannah’s socks – click here

3. Neighbors sign peace deal to end feud – click here

4. Friday Funny! 😉 – click here

5. What does your billboard say? – click here

6. Don’t give in to shallow praise! – click here

7. Black Friday advice from Maxine – click here

8. The Real Jesus – click here

9. Uniquely You – click here

10. Why is it called “Good Friday?” – click here

Thanks for sharing the journey and Happy New Year!

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Filed under Best of, Blogging, Christmas, Good Friday, Gratitude, Humor, Jesus, Just for fun, Loving others, Peace, Praise, Serving

Life will never be the same!

Christmas Eve signals the end of Advent, the season of waiting. With the end of Advent comes the beginning of the feast of the Nativity—the celebration of God with us!

We pass from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day celebrating the Incarnation—God with us in the flesh!—a celebration that will continue for as long as we choose to live each day in His presence.

At Christmas we celebrate one of the great mysteries of our faith, the mystery of humanity and divinity becoming one. The early church emphasized that the Incarnation should not be seen as condescension, as the “descent” of God to man, but as the lifting up of humanity into the divine life.

“The Incarnation makes it possible for the redeemed life to be lived out in this flesh, on this ordinary earth. The Nativity ennobles the lowliest aspects of everyday life: God chose to be born in a stable, with animals and shepherds as his first visitors. In this lies the power of the Incarnation; the humblest things are most exalted.”

For the rest of the world, the Christmas season is over at the end of Christmas Day and there is nothing left to do but dig out, clean up, and make our post-season exchanges and returns.

But for those of us who are following hard after Jesus, the celebration is just beginning. God with us! In the flesh! This one incredible truth makes every ordinary aspect of our human existence ripe with the possibility of God’s divine presence! When we learn to live in this new reality…

… life will never be the same!

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Filed under Advent, Christmas, Divine presence, intimacy with the Lord

A question as we head into Christmas

Here’s a question we all need to ask ourselves from time to time: Why do I have so much? …We need to slow down occasionally and force ourselves to wrestle with that question.

Why? Because a consumer-driven culture keeps us laser-focused on what we don’t have, and focusing on what we don’t have leaves our hearts vulnerable to greed… If God has blessed you with more than you need, it’s so that you can share your abundance with those who have need. Embracing that simple truth is the key to ridding your heart of greed.

Guilt is conquered with confession. Anger is conquered with forgiveness. Greed is conquered with generosity. Generous giving will break the grip of greed on your life.  So whether or not you think you have extra, give and give generously.
~ Excerpted from Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley

Let’s be honest. Few of us will spend money this Christmas on things that we really need. Most of what we buy will fall under the umbrella of want.

Why not challenge your family and friends to sort through their stuff prior to Christmas and give away 4 or 5 things that others can use. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are great destinations for such things.

And who knows, sorting through all our stuff might give us a deeper appreciation for the priceless gift of Jesus this Christmas!

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Filed under Anger, Christmas, Forgiveness, Generosity, Greed, Guilt, Stewardship

A Holiday Music Trivia Challenge

Merry Christmas

Image via Wikipedia

Christmas is only a week away so by now you’ve likely heard these holiday favorites but can you match the song with the trivia behind the song?

1.  Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
2.  Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
3.  Jingle Bells
4.  O Little Town of Bethlehem
5.  Silent Night 
6.  The Christmas Song

A – Originally written to be part of a Thanksgiving program at a church in Boston.
B – Sung during WWI as part of the Christmas truce of 1914.
C – Never sung by the author because it was printed with a different first line but without his permission.
D – This popular song was written on a blistering hot summer day in California.
E –  Written for a musical but the first lines were rejected by the two co-stars and the director, so a rewrite took place.
F – Written to be part of a children’s choir Christmas presentation.

To see the answer code click the comment tab below. If you want more of the details behind the origins of these songs just leave me a comment and an email; I’ll send you the bigger story behind the songs.

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Filed under Christmas, Humor, Just for fun

The magic of a memory

Last week I visited with a gal from our church who is in a rehab center after having a hip replaced. She is a grand lady comfortably into her 90’s who retains all her wits and enjoys every day of life. Her one frustration is that she can’t physcially do what she once did.

As we sat together during one of her exercise sessions I asked her about a favorite Christmas memory. She seemed a bit caught off-guard at first but gave it some thought. What came to mind was the first Christmas in the new house she and her husband had built back in 1958. What made it special was having all the kids back home for Christmas.

She then turned the tables on me and asked the same question. I related how being the youngest of four boys meant being last to do or get most anything. But on Christmas mornings our parents had us line up in the hallway before walking out into the living room to see what Santa brought and I got to be first!

She enjoyed the story and it reminded her of another favorite memory. She was the middle of 5 girls and her mother had died when she was about 3 1/2 years old. She and the older two sisters went to live with a grandmother. When she outgrew a grey winter coat that had fur-like material around the sleeves and collar her grandmother did something special with it one Christmas.

After she had gone to bed her grandmother took that coat, a favorite, and cut it up to make a coat for this gal’s dog! On it’s own it may not sound like much of a story but the twinkle in this her eyes was priceless! Reliving that single memory seemed to melt years off her face and wash her with a sense of sheer delight.

What’s one of your favorite Christmas memories? And who will you bump into today that might enjoy being asked the same question?

PS – Hey H’town family! This gal is Helen Foutz and she’s doing great! Keep the prayers and cards coming!

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Filed under Christmas, Encouragement, Inspiration, Just for fun

Divine interruption

The other day a friend sent me an email with a link to a YouTube video clip of a flash mob performance. If you’ve never seen one they are pretty amazing. The link for this one is posted below.

These types of surprise gatherings involve large groups of people who mingle into an open public space to carry out an unexpected performance. This one takes place in a common food court of a mall. One of the best parts of the video is how it catches the faces of onlookers full of surprise and awe.

I’ve seen some of these flash mob performances before but this one uses the Hallelujah Chorus done in dramatic fashion. It left me with a sense of the divine breaking through into the ordinary. Isn’t that the essence of celebrating Christmas? God breaking through into the ordinary?!

Reread the Christmas story in Luke 2. You’ll notice words like terrified… amazedrejoicing… We see the same kind of thing recorded in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit breaks into the ordinary to birth the church …

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. ~ Acts 2:42-43

Since God is everywhere, always… isn’t every moment an opportunity for the divine to break through into the ordinary?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Filed under Christianity, Christmas, Glory of God