What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?

What Do You See Outside YOUR Open Window Today?
Remember: "When God closes a door, He always opens a window!" You never know what might be out there waiting for you!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How Do YOU Measure Christmas?

So, how was your Christmas?  How do you measure Christmas? By the number of or cost of the presents you received? Or is it by the amount of money you spent on gifts for others...and the amount of debt you now have to work off in the New Year?

I hope your measurement of Christmas will be a different kind of tabulation...a measurement of the amount of JOY you received in the presence of others,...and in the Holy Presence of the Child in the Manger Himself...Jesus...our Messiah...Emmanuel, "God WITH Us"...His Presence with us...that is where the true JOY comes from. 

This year we did a couple of things differently than we have in the recent past.

Our church "ensemble" singing "Christmas is Jesus"
  • My husband and I both sang in our church Christmas Cantata, "Christmas is Jesus".  It was a precious time of singing songs of great joy and hope as we ushered in the Christmas Spirit in song and Word.  It had been quite a few years since either of us had sung in church...even though that was something quite common for us to do for many years in the past.  This took courage and steps of faith for us to venture back into this "arena"...and God was with us all the way. My husband even sang a solo...to the glory of God. This was an answer to prayer for me.

Me and my hubby John...happy to have family
at our table for Christmas.
  • We were able to have extended family here in our home for Christmas (a couple days early)...another first after many years.   In years past our families (on my side) always spent Christmas at my parents' home.  Since both my parents have now gone on to be with the Lord and that home is no longer in the family...we needed a gathering place.  This past year God blessed us with a new (to us) home that was large enough to become that gathering place. Although not every member of the family was able to be present...there were about 15 of us around our table, and that, for me especially, was such a joy. 

Mother (Nanny) Steiner, Bill and Peggy Steiner

  • We also spent Christmas Day with my husband's brother's family in their new home for the first time in many years, due to the fact that they had moved back to our home state after many years being away. Now we are able to enjoy their two young children...and also we are all able to continue to enjoy Mother Steiner, who is now 89+.       

Our nephew and niece, Nicholaus and Shannon

The week before Christmas there was a horrible tragedy in Connecticut, where many children and their teachers had their lives violently taken away.  In the wake of that tragedy, I could not rest in peace and prepare meaningless gifts for my loved ones.  This unbelievably grievous act triggered such a feeling of sorrow and pain in my heart that caused me to want to give something to our family that hopefully would give them a sense of hope and comfort.  My son, who is a woodworker, and I put our heads together and came up with a simple little sign that we could create in time to give to each family with whom we would be sharing our Christmas gift exchange.  The words "Faith, Hope, Love"  came to mind...from the 13th chapter of I Corinthians. 
"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (I Cor. 13:13)
Here is a sample of the sign we created for each family, although each one was unique due to the wood grains and finishing touches, but the message was the same for all:

 This is the message we wanted to give each family...when the world around us goes crazy, and we don't understand the reasons why things happen...we need to go back to God's Word...and claim HOPE by FAITH...and trust in God's LOVE to always be there for us, no matter what.

That is how I measure Christmas...by the FAITH in our Lord for His saving grace and comfort in difficult times...by the HOPE that He gave us when Christ came to earth as that little baby... to save us from our sins...and by the LOVE that HE has for each and every one of us, so much that He was willing to die for us on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him in Heaven forever!! 

My prayer for you this Christmas and in the New Year is that you will experience this same FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE in your heart and life right now and forever! Amen!!



  1. I loved spending Christmas at your home this year! We always have the best time together. I also can't wait to hang my sign in our new home this coming April! Those types of gifts are the ones that mean the most to me!

    1. Thank you Debbie! It was such a joy to me to have you and your family here with us. I enjoyed watching you sewing at my table...that was fun. I hope your mil loved the camera neck strap. If she didn't, you know who would! Ha Ha!!!
      Y'all come anytime, ok? You don't have to wait for a holiday! We love you.
      Love, Aunt Pam and Uncle John and all...

  2. Such an inspiring post Pam,what a lovely family you are blessed with.
    Wishing you a blessed New Year!


    1. Thank you, Sylvia. I'd say you and I are both blessed. Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Someday I hope to share a cup of tea with you! Happy New Year!!

  3. Sounds like a totally wonderful Christmas Pamela! You both sang in church? That is so cool, you ought to be proud of yourselves! Yay you! AND best of all..your home is the new gathering place!! That is a lovely new tradition I think.
    I am so happy for you and your great Hubby!

    1. Thank you, Susie. Yes, it was a joyous Christmas...so happy to have family from near and far with us, and that God provided a home where we could do just that...that was a miracle. The singing was another "miracle"...after several years away from any real involvement in "church" after spending most of our lives, like you, practically living IN the church...to be able to start singing again was truly a blessing. It was a bit of a trial...as we are both very rusty...but God met us there and blessed our efforts. I am most grateful to be able to use my voice again for His honor and glory...even tho it IS VERY RUSTY! God didn't seem to mind at all.

  4. Our Christmas was quiet. Our son couldn't come home. (if he had, he would have been caught in the Christmas Night Winter Storm, aka Blizzard.) Hubby and I did what we wanted. Both of us are tired and draggy. Early in December, I was in our church's drama ministry's Christmas drama. Mid December found me preparing for a Jesus Birthday party for children who have one or both parents incarcerated. A friend of mine and I have yet to have our Christmas outing. We were going this morning but we got almost 5" of new snow. We go out to breakfast and exchange gifts one morning after Christmas. One year we went to lunch.

    1. I'm sorry your son couldn't make it home for Christmas,but it sounds like you needed to rest from so many activities...very wonderful activities that I am certain were a blessing to many. Sometimes Christmas has to be spread out over a few weeks or even the month out of necessity or unusual circumstances...but Christmas is not a date that is fixed on a calendar...it is a state of the heart and Spirit...and can and should be celebrated anytime two or more are gathered in Christ's Name! So relax, and enjoy your Christmas with your friend whenever you can get together w/o stress...same with your son.
      Thank you for visiting today. Happy New Year!!! And Merry Christmas too!!


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