"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)
As the days get shorter in December, it seems the time I spend with God does, too. I long for His presence. I know I need His perspective and peace. But as I prepare for the holidays, my heart can get so focused on planning and buying gifts that I forget to unwrap the most important gift—the gift of Immanuel—God with us.
In all the hustle and bustle, it's easy to fill our heart with everything but Him, and miss the calm hush His presence brings. I felt an unusual void around the holidays several years ago, and wrote this Christmas prayer to help me keep my heart where it needs to be. I display it where I'll see it often - to remind me of what matters most.
The Manger of My Heart
This Christmas, Lord, come to the manger of my heart.
Fill me with Your presence from the very start.
As I prepare for the holidays and gifts to be given,
Remind me of the gift You gave when You sent Your Son from Heaven.
The first Christmas gift, it was the greatest gift ever.
You came as a baby born in a manger.
Wrapped like the gifts I find under my tree,
Waiting to be opened, to reveal Your love to me.
Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus' birth,
when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.
Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night.
And angels announced, "Into your darkness, God brings His Light."
"Do not be afraid," they said, to shepherds in the field.
Speak to my heart today, Lord, and help me to yield.
Make me like those shepherd boys, obedient to Your call.
Setting distractions and worries aside, to You I surrender them all.
Surround me with Your presence, Lord, I long to hear Your voice.
Clear my mind of countless concerns and all the holiday noise.
Slow me down this Christmas, let me not be in a rush.
In the midst of parties and planning, I want to feel Your hush.
This Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
Dwell within and around me, as I unwrap Your presence each day.
Keep me close to You, Lord. It's in Your wonderful Name I pray.
Thousands of years ago God gave us the gift of His one and only Son, born in a humble manger. Making room in our hearts for Jesus through prayer during this busy season is a gift we give to Him, and ourselves. Right now, let's quiet our racing thoughts and take a moment to enjoy the hush of Immanuel—God with us. His presence in our lives is a gift we can open every day of the year.
Dear Lord, I'm so thankful for the gift of Jesus, Immanuel, my God with me. Help me be still when I feel frazzled and remember You are God. I want to make room for You in the manger of my heart this Christmas and unwrap Your presence each day. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
I am a magnet for strange. Seriously. A few years ago I was outside with my three dogs soaking up the sunshine. We had gotten a new puppy named "Willow" for Christmas. Well, our other dogs, Champ and Chelsea, weren't sure what to think of precious, little three-pound, Willow.
I don't like open heights. I can't stand narrow balconies. And when driving across a bridge, you'll find me hugging the rail along the inside lane.
My daughter Hope is one of those people who knows how to dress. She'll put on a blue and white striped shirt, throw on an army jacket and black pants, finish the look with brown ankle boots and look like a fashionista.
It's usually very subtle. I'll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me. Doubt whispers You can't do that. You're not good enough.
What makes a woman tender also reveals her vulnerabilities.
What makes a woman transparent also exposes her wounds.
What makes a woman authentic also uncovers her insecurities.
How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
by Karen Ehman
Women are wired to control. We make sure the house is clean, the meals are prepared, the beds are made, the children are dressed, and everyone gets to where they’re going on time. But sometimes our strength of being conscientious can morph into the weakness of being a slight—or all out—control freak! This humorous, yet spiritually practical book will help you learn how to control what you should, trust God with what you can’t, and more importantly, decide which one is which! Join Karen Ehman, a recovering control freak, as she enables you to: