When God Draws Near: The Story of Redemption

When God Draws Near www.terilynneunderwood.com

Started thinking about Christmas yet?  I should go ahead and confess that I’m one of “those people” who buys Christmas gifts all year long and generally speaking has all the hard planning parts of the season taken care of long before December 1 ever arrives.   You may not be a year-round gift buyer like me but maybe you are like me in another way:

Somehow the business and busy-ness of Christmas leave little time for stillness and contemplation of Christ.

The beauty of the manger story gets so easily lost in the lists and plans and general chaos the holidays bring. Can you relate?

For the past few months a word has been whispering to my heart … redemption.  Reminding me of simple yet profound truths:  We are redeemed.  Nothing in our lives remains unredeemed.  Our struggles and our celebrations are vital parts of the redemptive work God is doing in our lives.  

In July I began jotting out ideas for a Christmas devotion to share on my blog (don’t mock me, it’s how I roll!) … and I kept coming back to one word: redeemed.  One of my favorite definitions for the word redeem is “to buy back.”  As believers, we have been bought back.  The Lord said it this way in Isaiah,

I have redeemed you, I have called you by name.  You are mine.

Isaiah 43:1

God says, “I have redeemed you.  I have bought you back.”  Is there a more beautiful word in all of Scripture than the simple word redeemed?

I’m inviting you to join me as I prepare my heart for Christmas this year.  We’ll spend the next several Mondays (for the most part) exploring When God Draws Near: The Story of Redemption.  

From identifying the need for redemption to celebrating the passion of the redeemed with a few other stops in between, we’ll slow our hearts and minds and invite God to draw near to us.   We’ll wrap it all up on December 10 with a little Christmas devotional you can download …. 15 days of the story of redemption from the Garden to the Throne.

My excitement about this series has been bubbling over and reached the peak when I received an email from Dayspring a few weeks ago announcing their Christmas product line this year: Redeemed Christmas.  How fun is that?   I shared my Christmas series plans with the incredible Saul at dotMom and I’m thrilled to be partnering with Dayspring for the next few weeks to encourage you to experience the beauty when God draws near.  In fact, they’ve sent me a little something to kick off this announcement and help you start anticipating the season, the 12 Day Holiday Countdown for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

Here is mine all ready for the season in my kitchen

When God Draws Near 12 Day Countdown www.terilynneunderwood.com

Isn’t it adorable!  I love that each day has a little card we can pull from the box to remind us to be thankful for something specific.  {Even better—this can be used again for Christmas and for Easter! Love that!!}

What are 3 ways you are preparing your heart for the holidays?

Disclosure: Dayspring provided me with my own 12 Day Holiday Countdown for use in this post.  Thoughts about its cuteness are all my own.  Also you should know there are affiliate links in this post.  Should you purchase through them, I will receive a small commission.

 

83 Replies to “When God Draws Near: The Story of Redemption”

  1. I am so excited for this series. Your Christmas teachings have become one of my favorite traditions. And, I couldn’t wait for the give-away so I ordered three of the 12 Day Countdowns for gifts!

  2. Gathering supplies and books now since we are taking most of December off with our brand new baby coming – preparing to point my children to the REAL reason for the season, reminding myself it’s not about the presents and food!

  3. Christina Burrell says: Reply

    I am reading through the accounts of Jesus birth, researching advent possibilities for the children and looking for ways for our family to serve others on Christmas Day.

  4. We love going through What God Wants for Christmas advent from Family Life Today. Also sharing gratefulness at dinner.

  5. I read The Christmas Box every year; I purchase supplies to make Christmas ornaments to give away to neighbors and co-workers; I start playing Christmas music at the beginning of November

  6. I couldn’t shake the word “redeemed” this year. It has been heavy on my heart. And that’s why I chose to do 31 days to Redeeming Christmas this month. I’m so excited for your posts! I do believe the Father is speaking to all of us about this. And ya, I’m pretty pumped about Dayspring’s Redeemed line. 🙂

  7. I shouldn’t have hit “post comment”so fast!! 3 ways I’m preparing my heart for the holidays: prayer(lots of it) on what God wants to redeem in me for this season, choosing to give outwardly more to the “least of these”~if Jesus said it then I NEED to be doing it, and 3rd…I’m purposely savouring every moment of this season. I don’t want to get lost in the busy-ness and stress…I want my expressions, words and thoughts to point others to Jesus. That is the most important thing to me.

  8. seeking God with all my heart, sharing the gift of salvation and selecting of a Scripture that illustrates his mercy, grace and love for us – I use this scripture for our Christmas mailings.

  9. One thing I didn’t anticipate about homeschooling is how it kicks me into gear! Reading, researching what I want to do over the Holidays for school, and preparing for those are really getting me into the the realm of what these Seasons really mean to me. You have captured it perfectly: We’ve been bought back…brought back…either way, I’m His. I’m redeemed!

  10. Clearing my head (preparing gifts and home ahead of time) gives me the chance to prepare my heart! I’m also spending more time at home, giving meaningful gifts, sharing the Word, and thus reflecting on the joy of the season.

  11. How am I preparing? Prayer first. Studying and meditating on the word second. Finally, doing what I am learning from praying and reading the word!

    Gosh, every time I read and pray I realize how messed up I really am and just how much I need and love my savior.

  12. I can honestly say I hadn’t thought about preparing me (my heart, my brain, what have you) until I read this post. So thank you. But I can’t tell you what I have done so I will tell you 3 things that needs to be done. Forgiveness needs to seep in deeper, expectations need to be released, and contentment needs to be grasped.

  13. Christmas is a time to remember Jesus’s birth, and a special time to think about how we can reflect his love to others in our everyday lives. A few years ago (our kids were all under 6 years old) we added a new tradition to this season and started our own Jesse tree. We drew a tree with empty branches on some card stock .. and then after reading Bible passages we helped the kids make ornaments that symbolized to them what the passage meant and hung them on the tree. We still have our traditional tree .. but the Jesse tree reminds us not only of our Saviour (the reason for the Season) but how much we have grown each year in our faith and in our understanding of God’s word. I hope the Spirit of Christmas stays with you all year long!

    1. Mary, that is a precious and awe inspiring tradition you have with your family. May God Richly Bless each of you.

  14. I don’t know if I have 3 answers, because I recently lost my mother to breast cancer, and this will be my first holiday season without her. My mother and I didn’t have the best relationship, but the holidays always brought us together because we both loved food and cooking, so sharing new or old recipes always bonded us and made us forget all the yuck between us. So I’m preparing my heart by accepting she will not be here. At the same time, my older son has decided to spend the holidays with his girlfriend’s family, so that was another loss I’m dealing with. I guess I’m trying to prepare for a lonely holiday season without my family.
    Tristine Fleming recently posted…October 24: Instant GratificationMy Profile

    1. I’m sorry you are experiencing so much loss right now. I pray that you will be even closer with God, and that you will be surrounded by and filled with joy. This year might be a good time to try something new; spend Christmas with friends or serve those in need. Whatever you do, I hope it is a time for you to rest in God’s love and healing.

  15. We are preparing for the holidays by having a daily devotion each night with the kiddos leading them up to Christmas, sharing and giving through baked treats and operation Christmas Child, and by praying for all those who need extra support this time of year! terrific giveaway!
    moo77hb@gmail.com

  16. First i look into the eyes of my grandchildren and know where my heart is and will always be. God teaches us that children are are future so teach them well . God will lead if you choose to listen. I rasied my own children with these values in life, and they are very successful adults.

  17. I am preparing my heart by making more time for my Savior, being more forgiving, and by being a better person to all, there is no need to stress over little things. By stressing out we only hurt our loved ones and the people around us, but most of all we hurt ourselves the most, so I just try to live one day at a time.

  18. Becky Douglas says: Reply

    I am trying to listen to His still small voice more clearly…in the midst of health issues and the holidays coming up, I feel overwhelmed. I know that He is speaking to me but I just need to stop and be quiet and listen.

    My kids and I are taking the time to write down the attributes of God. Each day, we come up with a different one. It is helping all of us grow in our relationships with each other as well as our relationships with our Father.

    My husband and I are taking the time to sit down each night and pray for the spiritual lives of our kids and what we can do for their gifts this year. God is using us to mold their lives toward Him and that is a huge responsibility and privilege. Praising Him through it all.

  19. We are preparing to do Truth in the Tinsel, working on a Thankfulness calendar for November, and praying through certain Scriptures to ready ourselves for the season.

  20. I am preparing my heart to stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas by staying in God’s Word daily, allowing myself to be encouraged by fellow believers by attending church regularly, and praying for all to come to Jesus, the true reason we celebrate.

  21. Love this, so much! I’m preparing for the coming Holidays through prayer and seeking out intentianl time for reflection and worship–beyond Sunday mornings. As I’m working on my Lenten eBook, I am continually challenged and pushed to pursue God above all, and to make my home at the foot of the cross. Thanks for this, I love it. Can’t wait to read your series!!
    Kris recently posted…Thoughts On Going (Plus A Sneek-Peek)My Profile

  22. Well, I think that buying things early really helps clear your mind for the RUSH that inevidently happens. I would also highly recommend using the acronym of “KISS” Keep it Simple Stupid. That might sound a bit crass, but it is so practical a concept that my mind can grasp it! Thirdly, this year I am going to concentrate on giving to the poor as my theme for this year.

  23. Sharon Valente says: Reply

    The first and most important thing I am doing is prayer. Every time I can, I infuse even a one phrase prayer into my day. The second is listening. As I taught my 4th grade CCE class the other day, I talked to the kids about listening to what God has to say. I reminded them that he is our friend. Now, I am trying to take my own advice.

    Lastly, I am trying to spend more time with my children. They grow up way too fast, and nothing is more important than just taking time to play, talk, read, and pray with them.

  24. Jennie Heberg says: Reply

    3 Things I plan to do this year! Oh my, what changes have come into our lives during this year. We’ve struggled the past 2 years above and beyond what we’ve experienced and are now seeing God’s faithfulness in so many ways.
    1. Be so much more aware of God’s blessings and ever so thankful of His love for each of us and those we love.
    2. Make every moment as special as I possibly can.
    3. Spend as much quality time as possible with family and friends having special moments; ie. sipping tea on the front porch, reminiscing days gone by, looking forward to days to come and relishing the fact that eternity started when I said YES to Jesus and will only get better and NEVER END.
    Thanks so much for all your encouragement! I’m often blessed by your input into my life.
    Be blessed always expecting His best,
    Jennie (Mt. 6:33)

  25. I am preparing my heart for the holidays in these three ways:
    1. Prayer – thoughts and plans
    2. Removing some of our possessions to share with others via thrift shop, Friendly Planet, etc.
    3. Reminding myself daily of God’s gifts to me

  26. reflection in thyself and spend quality time w my family. my husband and i have been spending time w my younger brother this year who recently had open heart surgery, and now undergoing dialysis. our prayer is for him to have time to reconcile to Christ, to know the truth, His Word before his body gives up treatment.
    spend (not quantity) but quality time in His Word… to focus and apply them in my daily life.
    get involve better w/in my card ministry to reach shut-ins and widows in our church especially this season.

  27. I am preparing myself for the Christmas Season by first, praying for family, friends, and my enemies. I am also reading and studying God’s Holy Word every day. I am planning to give to a family or families less fortunate than we are. In our city and surrounding county are 8 prisons, and so many of the families live in our area and are in great need. I want to be able to give to a family that is hurting and in need. God bless you for your blog and your service in His Name.

  28. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. I hadn’t actually thought about preparing my heart for Christmas. It is a very good thing. One thing I will be doing is continuing to pray into God’s dealings with purity in my heart – most especially in one particular family relationship and a certain friendship. Secondly, I will spend time with God considering this theme of redemption/”Redeemed Christmas” and what it really means, and pray for others during this time of year. Thirdly, I will be incorporating in all this, the soon birth of my first grandchild, a boy. I am praying for him and his parents and want to be a good grandmother for him, help him grow in Christ and help his parents (my daughter and husband) in any way I can – as God leads. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! God bless you all!

    1. I’m preparing my heart by not just waiting for those days to come around, but to focus each day on what a gift was given to ! and what a debt i owe,i strive to keep Christ on the throne of my heart, and by seeking ways from Him as to how i can share this love He’s given me.

  29. Three things to prepare myself for Christmas are stay in the Word, keep close accounts with those I love, and ask God in prayer how to bless others.

  30. My family has been so blessed this year.
    The ways I’m preparing my heart:
    1. I’m facilitating a Beth Moore Bible study called James Mercy Triumphs. The study is all about having an active faith.
    2. My family and I will spend time reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas and being thankful for what we have.
    3. I want to reach out to people in our church and neighborhood who need some encouragement this season.

  31. 3 ways i’m preparing for the holidays, is going to be with lots of prayers… this holiday season is goin to be real hard, so many changes coming about before next christmas… within our family. for one.. I’m gaining a husband next year, so I will be starting my own family christmas in a sense next year…. so it’s like a closure to one family dynamic this year…so i pray we enjoy every minute we have together….2ndly with that is forgiveness… focusing on forgiving the one’s i love..and forgiving myself…. so i’ts easier to focus on just the love this holiday season…. that anything that has happened does not matter…. that God is bigger than it…. thus why we celebrate thte little bundle of joy at christmas time… 3rdly… praise and worship…. noticing that my family is not changing just getting bigger…. and forever in awe at how many God give us to love… and how much love He gives us for the challenge of family… oh i hope that makes any sense… i’m all frazzled already making wedding plans…. and finances of it… and thus making me realize i so need to pray more… lol….

  32. Praying for my Family Jesus was born. We need him in our Life. keep my family and Friends safe. Christmas is not about how many Presents we buy or get.I love my Family and Friends, and praying for my Daughter and Grandson healing from Crohn’s Disease, that my wish for Christmas.Amen

  33. Wow, after reading this I am so excited for the season…. I have always loved Christmas, for all that It is… This year however, because finances are weak, I was not looking forward to the holiday …. But after reading this… My outlook has changed…. There’s things I’m doing,
    1. Doing the redeemed 31 day countdown, excited for the posts…
    2. Focus everyday on unwrapping myself before God… Giving myself to him daily.
    3. To see the beauty and wonder or this time and truly appreciate all the gifts we have been given, starting with Jesus Christ!!!

  34. One of the most important things I do to ready my heart is to start early and end early. For me, it is so important to get the “To do list” and the business of the holidays done. Then, I am not interrupting God’s work in my heart with all the things I think that need doing.
    1. God works mightily through His Word – reading scripture with our kids.
    2. Counting down the days with an Nativity Advent calendar.
    3. Attending worship, even if I think we are “too busy”.
    Set myself aside to have time to listen to God and see His mighty works, looking forward to celebrating His most mighty work of all – the birth of His one and only Son.

  35. Carrie Roberts says: Reply

    Wow! Excellent – 3 ways to prepare for the holidays – Patience, Prayer and Preparation! My three P’s to the holidays – and really everyday life!!!! Thanks for the opportunity!

  36. I prepare my heart by always living in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I try and stay away from the stores as much as possible and the Christmas glitz in them. I finish my shopping early so I can enjoy Jesus and the reason for the season. First thing up in decorating the house is the nativity scene. It is the center of my decorating and always a reminder of Jesus and his redeeming love. Any of the decorating is simple and the emphasis is “I BELIEVE” in JESUS of course!! I have made paper cubes with the letters B E L I E V E on them to remind me why we celebrate Christmas. When I can be swayed by all the hype and the “Hallmark” thing of having to have lots of people and family around [our family is 1500 miles away]; I take my mind back to the manger and remember that it isn’t about the earthly celebrating but celebrating Jesus’ birth and his final act of redeeming love. Thanks for reading this. May Jesus redeem you and your Christmas season.

  37. This is precious! How I’m preparing my heart:

    1. Working on getting our Advent activities ahead of time so I’m not rushing through the season.
    2. Praying about ways to slow down during Advent.
    3. Choosing JOY over hurry through the holidays!
    Erin @ Home with the Boys recently posted…31 Days: Give Them Space to Be KidsMy Profile

  38. I like to prepare my heart by using an advent devotional, talking to my kids about the real meaning of Christmas, and listening to songs like Oh Holy Night that remind me of the reason we celebrate CHRISTmas.

  39. I’m preparing by: (1) praying, (2) trying to be patient, and (3) having a thankful heart.

    1. I am preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas:
      (1) Being ready spiritually to be thankful for the birth of Jesus Christ.
      (2) Praying daily and momentarily.
      (3)Showing my love for Jesus, to family and others, in word and by example.

  40. Dana Ekstrand says: Reply

    I am preparing by praying–trying without ceasing–following Cheri Gregory’s PURSE-onality Challenge–and starting my “lists” now.

  41. I am preparing my heart with lots of prayer, love for my family and friends and reading the Bible daily!

  42. Stephanie Willis says: Reply

    Here are the three ways that I am going to prepare for Christmas: 1. Continual thanksgiving & prayer for all life on this Earth , 2. Reading the book, The Nativity Story & watching the DVD, 3. connecting with recently acquainted formerly estranged family & friends.

  43. I am preparing my heart by doing daily devotionals, reading my Bible everyday and praying!

  44. I am preparing my heart by doing daily devotionals, reading my Bible daily and praying!

  45. This year my daughter will be turning 2 right after thanksgiving. Having her in my life has made me more aware on how I want Christmas/Thanksgivings to be and has made me think about how I want my heart, as well as her heart, to be. So, in looking at my heart as I prepare for the holidays, I have just started going to a Bible study with other women going through James. This is making me be intentional on getting in the Word. Second thing I’m doing is setting aside time to pray, not only by and for myself but with my daughter and husband for others who don’t have it as good as we do. One more thing we are going to do is have 25 days of Christmas. I’m not sure how I will do it because there are several great ideas, but it will be learning about the birth of Christ and all that lead up to it! I’m so excited for the holidays this year!

  46. God is preparing my heart for the holiday season
    1) Through the simple joys my children bring to my day! Some days being a stay at home mommy to 3 little girls under the age of 3 makes time in God’s Word hard to do, but so often God teaches me so much through these girls – about unconditional love, forgiveness, compassion, etc.
    2) Through worship! It helps me keep my focus on God throuhout the days to keep the radio on with Christiam music going in the background.
    3) Through my time in His Word.

  47. The three ways I am preparing my heart for Thanksgiving and Christmas are 1)Prayer 2)Celebration of the blessings of my family 3)Decorating our home as a daily cheerful reminder.

  48. Judy Mitstifer says: Reply

    Celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving ahead of the American one encourages me to be conscious of being thankful on a daily basis this year. Also,family has decided to stay with a family tradition of going away from home for the Thanksgiving meal in order to share our celebration with others. And lastly, our family are choosing to start a new tradition in our house of memorizing Scripture passages together. With these three things, I am sure we will be closer to God and others.

  49. This year will be the first year ever that Christmas won’t be at our house. Sad, but also very happy. We will be spending Christmas in TN. Both of my Girls, Son-in-loves and all my grand-kids now live in TN and NC we are in AZ. So we are going to meet in Asheville to spend it all together. 1- Praying for safe travel. 2- Preparing for a wonderful new tradition. 3- And Blessed New Year

  50. – Organizing house and schedule to have things functioning as best as possible before adding the holiday activities and items.
    – Having a Thanks project ready for November and an Advent project ready for December.
    – Helping all my children start planning and making gifts now.

  51. I will be preparing my heart for this Christmas by
    1) Clearing up as many misunderstanding I have had with others this year as I can.
    2) Reflecting on what a sacrifice it was for Christ to leave Glory to come down to serve.
    3) Making sure that my heart attitude is that of Christ and serving rather than expecting to be served.

  52. 1. I am going to do volunteering at a Rescue Mission,or food pantry. (give to others as I have been given)
    2. I’m going to ask my unbelieving husband and daughter to help me in this venture. and pray God opens their heart for Him.
    3. I’m going to be a blessing to all the people I know in some way,praying, making food,sending cards,visiting them,baking home made bread, etc. giving of my time and of my heart.

  53. I am trying to spend more time with God and trying to discuss everything to calm my spirit instead of fretting. I’m also trying to think about the things that bother me about the Christmas celebration and take care of them in advance. I’m also wanting to find a nice advent book(s), and am looking forward to the advent emails from (in)courageme.

  54. Three ways I am preparing my heart for the holidays….
    1- Using the entire month of November to sincerely thank people I come into contact. Too often the focus is just one day, Thanksgiving.
    2- Focus more on “gratitude” than on “gift-i-tude”…. one example, instead of rushing to the mall on Black Friday, work collecting goods for those less fortunate.
    3- Spend more time together as a family, rather than rush about to way too many holiday parties. Relish the time together over the holidays than wish it weren’t so busy.

  55. I am preparing my heart for the holidays by becoming more purposeful in my bible reading, spending more time in prayer, and by giving more of my time to my friends and family.

  56. 1. Buying less for family so we can give more to those truly in need.
    2. Trying to plan a simpler menu so I can enjoy my family more.
    3. Simplifying a lot of things overall so I can be freed up to slow down and focus on what’s truly important this Christmas season.

  57. 1) Acknowledging that my heart is never prepared for the holidays, and the fact it needs to change.

    2) Considering the various ways I can simply love people with God’s love throughout the season and beyond.

    3) Getting back to the basics in my relationship with God. Removing all aspects of “religion” in out lives.

  58. Well, isn’t that the cutest thing!
    My three things…
    1-spend less money. We’ve budgeted way differently this year, in the hopes of keeping costs down.
    2-spend more time. We have a real desire to spend more time with our kids and other family as well.
    3-devotional. I always say I’m going to observe advent, but it never happens. Your devotional sounds perfect!
    Lori recently posted…My Voice {#FiveMinuteFriday}My Profile

  59. What a great way to visually prepare. Looking forward to the rest of your devotionals. (So glad I found your blog.)
    1. We tried a new thing in October, finding one attribute for which to praise God.
    2. We will continue to write out our Thanks to God, each day for Novemeber.
    3. I am going to pray on how to incorporate the “redeemed” theme for December.

  60. We have recently begun a bedtime family devotional time, in addition to the Bible stories we read at bedtime. Since Christmas was brought into stores in July, we are always reminding why we are able to celebrate the birth of Jesus to our children. We are extending the importance of giving while we are making crafts for Christmas, and as Christmas draws near, we will extend into our traditional Christmas favorites of baking cookies and spending time with family.

  61. 1. Gratitude focus on what I have been given through personal devotion shared on my blog in November.

    2. Opening the gift of Christ Jesus to receive grace and mercy in my time of need throughout the holiday season.

    3. Focus on my love walk by giving what I have been given through devotion on my blog during December.
    Melinda recently posted…Dare to Go UnmaskedMy Profile

  62. Preparing for Christmas is an exciting celebration every day. Waiting for Jesus to be born.
    1) sacrificing things that seem so important but really I can live without
    2) sharing the real reson we celebrate Christmas HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS!
    3) Thanking God in prayer the gratitude I have for his gift of baby Jesus we celebrate on Christmas Day

  63. 1…Thinking back over the years of all the wonderful times our families have spent together when everything wasn’t so hectic and we just enjoyed being together, singing songs, reading the true Christmas story, laughing, eating, and maybe opening a $5.00 present(we drew names) and loving it no matter what it cost. 2….Opening my heart and drawing nearer and nearer to my Blessed Savior every day. 3….Trying to find ways to be a blessing to others and loving them in special ways that will show them how much God loves them and wants them for His own. God is so good!!!!!

  64. Patricia Talley says: Reply

    This Holiday season I am preparing my heart and mind by reading Ephesians daily – Recognizing the great authority God has granted us by his grace. I’m also keeping a prayer journal and have joined several groups at church to keep active in the community. I’m learning it’s better to live the sermon than preach it…

  65. AnneMarie Thrpe says: Reply

    encouraging to the spirit

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you leaving a comment and visiting my little corner of the internet today.

  66. This year I am preparing my heart for Christmas by dwelling on the goodness, mercy and compassion of God. I’ve struggled with a near paralyzing fear for around 18 years (since I was 19). This year God, through his goodness, has broken through and set me free. He has shown me his mercy through my husband who extended grace towards me at a time when he could have just gotten up and walked out. The fear that surrounded me kept me from being who I was created to be. The fear gripped every part of my being. It suffocated me. While I knew Christ and knew he loved me, had set me free, was my redeemer, I didn’t know how to let go and let him take over the deepest parts of my heart. Through God’s compassion, in May of this year, the chains were finally broken and I walked away from them into in a peace that has surrounded my heart and held me through the passing of my grandfather and sending my son off to Germany to be a soldier in the Air Force. I love the Christmas season anyway, but this year when I look at the manger scene, I am going to be even more overwhelmed with gratitude than ever because I know that it was for me that he came. Not just to set me free from sin, but also to set me free from fear. Praise God he didn’t leave me where I was.

    1. LOL
      My computer was acting up and I thought I lost this post, so I wrote another one. Looks like it kept both posts! 🙂

      1. That happens to me sometimes. Glad you were here today! Every time. 🙂

      2. HA! I have days like that too … so glad you shared both times!! Your words and testimony were a blessing to my heart today.

    2. What an incredible testimony of God’s provision. Thank you for sharing it today. I appreciate your openness.

  67. This year we are preparing ourselves to welcome foster children into our home. Our children are realizing how good they have it. We are all focused on helping others this holiday season. Our church is very active in helping others that have nothing.
    Jen B recently posted…Why we chose foster careMy Profile

    1. Wow … what an awesome experience for your family to take in foster children. Thank you for sharing with me today.

      1. I love this time of year. Three things are reading God’s word, Music, and I love to do small unexpected things to help people. Doing things for people to bless them. I just love to bless others. I try to do it all year. But, especially at Christmas. I love unconditional blessings.
        Jill

        1. What a beautiful response, Jill! Thank you for sharing!

  68. When I think about Christmas, I get excited because of how our Saviour came into the world to live among us and lead us to Him. This has always been my favorite holiday, but even more so this year because I’ve been set free from the bondage of fear that has enveloped me since I was a teenager. In the past few years it’s been getting worse and worse with moments of great anxiety that would cause my chest to tighten and my breathing to become labored. I was afraid to make decisions for fear that they’d be wrong or hurt someone. I was afraid to go back to school to pursue my true calling for fear that I would put my family in undue hardships. I was afraid to tell my husband how I was afraid, but he saw it. In May of this year God used some circumstances to break me free from those chains. I still on occassion become scared and anxious, but, I thank God that his peace surrounds me and the minute I turn back to him and focus on HIS provision, HIS love, HIS compassion, HIS faithfulness, I am set free once again. I am so thankful for his patience and goodness and mercy that I cannot stop praising him for setting me free. This year I am returning to the love and passion of writing that HE gave me and my gifts to my children and husband are going to be words written from the heart that God has laid on me to give them to be a blessing and encouragement to them. So to answer the question, this year I will prepare for Christmas by 1) praising God everyday for coming to my rescue; 2) telling those around me how much Jesus loves them and longs for them; and 3) worshipping with a truly abandoned heart at the foot of the cross.

    1. Again, thank you for sharing! I’ll be praying for you as you walk in the fullness of life He created for you.

  69. Teri, I just found your blog and will subscribe. I, too am a Wife (same husband for 57 yrs.), Mom (4 sons) 2 amazing daughters-in-law, 15 grands and 3 great-grands so I always love reading blogs by young mothers. This year Christmas time is very busy with one of our grandsons graduating from college this week and getting married next week. We then will have our Family Christmas Celebration. I’m still having fun getting ready for Christmas even at age 76 🙂 3 ways I’ve been preparing for Christmas: #1……Remembering EVERY DAY what this season is all about. #2…..making eye contact with each cashier that waits on me and blessing them in some special way by giving them a sales coupon. #3….this week I took a gallon bag of my Aunt’s jewelry for the Common Ground Christmas Store. This is an after-school program that has a store for the children to buy gifts for their family at minimal cost. If believers are sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit each day, He will lead them to those who need a special blessing and then we will be honoring the Christ Child’s birth.

    BLESSINGS!

    1. I love all of this! Thank you for sharing!!

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