Tag Archive: Christmas


But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. – (Luke 2:19, NLT)

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, NIV)

 

Mary, the one whom God chose to bear the Savior of the world, experienced wonders and miracles both before Jesus was born, and throughout His lifetime. I love how Luke points out that Mary made a point to treasure each event in her heart and remember what the Lord had done, as this is how a mama’s heart is wired. As my own children have transitioned from baby, to toddler, to children and now into teenagers, I too, have treasured the moments of significance in my heart, and likewise, I think of the moments and movements of God often. Christmas is the gift of God with us. Heaven came to earth so that we would know the wonder of Christ’s nearness, rather that God out there. Though we may not all be mamas, we all have moments and miracles to keep in our hearts and think about often. May we take time today to celebrate God with us, and the glorious gift that came to us so that we could have life everlasting as we remember the reason for this sacred season. Merry Christmas, and may your heart ponder the treasures He has given and continues to give.

 

When Love made way down,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

From heaven to earth;

Such glory beheld,

In Christ’s sacred birth.

Though in modest scene,

No crib for a bed;

Jesus came to save,

And peace and love spread.

Just as His mother,

Held dear in her heart;

May we hold moments,

Of Love from the start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that Love could come close. Thank You that Mary modeled the importance of keeping close to our hearts, all that You have done in us and for us and through us. Forgive us for not paying attention or for not recognizing the significance of all that You do. Teach us how to treasure each moment that You give us. Show us how every movement and moment matters to You. Help us to love as You love, so that people may see Your heart through the way that we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that You have done, and think about these things often. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

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For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, NLT)

 

This is the night where the world takes pause to remember the most sacred occasion where heaven came to earth in the form of a baby boy. Born in a stable, not fit for the Savior of the world, yet God gave incredible assurance that this was indeed the way Mary and Joseph were meant to walk as they brought this blessed bundle forth in a stable surrounded by animals. Angelic visitations had announced that He would be born, heavenly hosts proclaimed His arrival – flooding the night sky over the heads of shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, and a bright star shone on His behalf to lead the way for those who were meant to find Him. Though not necessarily the beginning we might envision for the One who saves the world from sin and shame, Jesus’ arrival changed everything. Because He came, grew, walked in obedience, willingly laid down His life in our place, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father, we have way to be restored to right relationship with God. May we stop the activity on this day long enough to really recognize the significance of this most holy night that we celebrate. Jesus is the gift, and the reason we can give. Our Counselor, our God, our Father, and our Peace – these are the reasons we have light and life and love. Joy to the world, the Savior has come!

 

For a child was born,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

A Son was given;

The weight of the world,

He has forgiven.

The great Counselor,

Most mighty our God;

The Father who lasts,

Let our hearts applaud.

For He is our peace,

Born so we might live;

May we honor Him,

Through gifts that we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your only Son into the world so that we might be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You love us so much that You willingly laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for not having our priorities in place and for forgetting the real reason for this most sacred season. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that all that we do is a reflection of You. Show us how to love and give as You do, so that our words and deeds are Your heart being made known to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as so many take the time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. Let Christ be lifted high this Christmas. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV)

I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. – (Psalm 121:1-2, ERV)

 

For me, there is nothing like getting out in nature to regain perspective as to who God is, and how awesome His power and might. All it takes is a glimpse of the crashing waves of the ocean or the mighty peaks that rise before me, to realize how great He is and how small I am. This morning, I have the opportunity to go and reset. In the midst of the madness of Christmas shoppers and chaos all around the city, some dear friends and I are going to escape for a few hours to hike in the snowy woods. Fresh air and the beauty of God’s creation await. I cannot think of a better way to spend my morning on this wonderful Wednesday before Christmas. May you all have an opportunity to find rest and reset amidst the madness, and recognize how great our God is, and from where our help is found.

 

As I lift my eyes,i-look-up

What is it I see?

The glory of God,

Created for me.

The very same hands,

That made earth and sea;

Are ready to help,

All who choose seek Thee.

Our help comes from Him,

The Lord above all;

Who loves us to life,

And lifts when we fall.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your creation. Thank You that the very same hands that hung the stars in the sky are willing to come close and hold our hearts. Forgive us for not looking to You to be our help, or for neglecting to recognize the majesty of all that You have made. Teach us to see You and Your creation with a holy perspective, so that we would recognize how great and mighty You are. Show us how to love fiercely, so that others too, will be led to look to You as their Source of help and hope. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look up to You to be our help in all things. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

 

After a good, but seemingly extraordinarily long day, I did not realize just how weary I had become. For whatever reason, when I returned home from work, I jumped right into cleaning and laundry mode without really pausing to take a break. From there, I went to my kettlebell training session, and then onto a Christmas gathering with dear friends. Despite the joy in seeing everyone, I felt like I needed to head home to check on one of my sweet sons who had been sick and missed school. Once home, all was well, the boys were resting and content, so I went to my room to lay down for a few minutes. Of course once cozy and warm, the few minutes became many hours. I woke at 2am, and had already slept five hours. Surprisingly, I merely turned off my bedroom light and went back to sleep until a more reasonable hour this morning. Nearly nine hours of sleep later, I am better rested than I have been since summer. God knew what I needed, and rest was granted beyond what I would have sought for myself. The Lord provides where we are lacking, and longs for us to seek Him to find rest. May we remember to seek the Lord in this sacred season, and allow Him to take our burdens as He is the One who will grant us rest.

 

Come all you weary,where-strength-is-reborn

Unto Christ the Lord;

He takes our burdens,

As rest He affords.

The Lord knows our need,

And lovingly gives;

Help to the seeking,

In grace, He forgives.

Bring all your burdens,

You weary and worn;

His rest is ready,

In Him, strength’s reborn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You when we are weary and weighed down, and You will give us rest. Thank You that at times, You provide the rest we don’t even realize we so desperately need. Forgive us for trying to gut things out in our weariness, and help us to seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, as You are our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us well, and where we can help bear the burdens of those around us through practical help and support. May many come to know You as their Savior this season as they see Your heart through the actions and encouragement that You place around them. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and worn, and receive the rest that You so graciously give so that we may go and do likewise. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21

We are at an interesting place of pause between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. For my boys and me, our break seems to have been passing us by on fast forward. It was intentional that we traveled over the snow-covered pass to spend a few days with my mom. Here, in this wondrous winter wonderland, there is quiet, calm, and rest. The option of constant motion is available, yet it somehow ends up being a space of resting, game-playing, moving watching and the like. For a few days, we slow down, and it is good.

 

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5, NLT)

 

For me, my natural rhythm and routine of rising early to spend time in the quiet solitude with Christ, remains. However, I find that there is something about the surrounding silence, that causes me to quiet my heart more often, and have a sort of lean in and listen posture in this space where I am surrounded by such majesty. I cannot help but be in awe at every turn, and remember that my hope is found in He who created all of this. If God can create such beauty out of nothing, He can bring order where there is chaos, hope to despair, freedom where things are bound, and peace to places of unrest. There is nothing that we have to do to earn His favor or convince Him that we need His help. Our charge is to ask, trust, and then wait quietly before Him. If He has a part for us to play in His provision, He will make it clear. May we wait quietly before Him with all that we are, and place all of our hope in God.

 

In sweet silence lies,IMG_1849

God’s grace and presence;

all hope we can trust,

despite circumstance.

The very same God,

Who created all;

loved us with His life,

so we would not fall.

He calls us to come,

to quietly be;

in the sweetest space,

where we find we’re free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we allow all that we are to wait quietly before You, we find all hope is found in You. Thank You that You are our rest and our refuge, our safety and our strength. Thank You that You love us to life, and grant us hope for all that is yet to come. Forgive us for not slowing down and quieting our hearts before You, as we lose sight of hope in our constant motion. Teach us to trust You more so that we would be intentional in our quieting of our hearts and minds before You, giving You all that we are in uninterrupted spaces. Show us how to embrace the hope that You grant us, so that we may share it with others in how we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we let all that we are be quiet before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. – James 5:13

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. – (John 14:27, NLT)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – (John 14:27, NIV)

 

God sent His Son to us so that we might know what we had never known before. His perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, comes and dwells in our hearts when we make our heart His home. His presence – His mercy, grace and love that lead to peace of mind and heart, are the greatest gifts we’ve ever been granted. We’ve done nothing to deserve them, yet He gave anyway. When we choose Him, we have His peace to navigate every situation and circumstance, knowing that He is our strength and our fortress, so we need not be troubled nor afraid. Though in our broken humanity we do become fearful or anxious at times, we have the Source of all peace dwelling within us, and need only slow down to recognize that He is as near as our next breath. May we set aside our troubles and fears, and embrace the most glorious gift of peace that we have been given as we celebrate this treasured Christmas season.

 

A gift we’re given,

for both heart and mind;ç€À

God’s sweet treasured peace,

in Christ we shall find.

There’s no other place,

where such peace is found;

there’s nothing on Earth,

as sweet and as sound.

May peace overflow,

throughout this season;

as we celebrate,

in truth and reason.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son – our perfect gift of peace of mind and heart. Thank You Jesus, that You give in a way that the world cannot, and that in You, we need not be troubled nor afraid. Forgive us for our fearfulness and angst and for not trusting in You to be our Source of peace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will know Your peace, no matter what comes our way, and not allow our circumstances to dictate whether or not we have Your peace. Show us how to love others in such a way, that they too may come to know Your perfect peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we embrace the perfect gift of Your peace, and share it with all whom we encounter. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. – (Psalm 62:5)

 

Now that the final days of school have passed, and our big community outreach event for church has happened, I look ahead to Christmas week and have a choice to make – do I fill every free moment, or will I allow myself to sit in the silence and quietly wait before God, remembering the real reason for this season? My natural inclination is to fill every moment of every day with movement. Run here, visit friends there, last minute shopping, appointments, workouts, activities for the boys… Though each of these things are good, when my days are without pause, they tend to pass me by. If I have built in spaces of silence, I am more reflective, and remember how remarkable my Savior is, and how all of my hope is held in Him. He brings to heart and mind the ways in which He has been my help and my hope, and shows me how I can encourage, love and care for others. If I don’t take pause, I may miss all that He has for me during this most wonderful time of the year. May we all make time to wait quietly before God, and recognize that our hope is found in Him.

 

On a silent night,

Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

image by Diana Lovegrove

in a stable bare;

came the still small cry,

as hope filled the air.

For the baby born,

came to save the lost;

little did they know,

what our sin would cost.

This Love that came down,

hope for all mankind;

that would save the lost,

give sight to the blind.

May we choose to wait,

quietly before;

the Lord of all hope,

Christ, whom we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make Yourself known to us in quiet stillness, and that we can place our hope in You. Thank You that You are present when we draw near, and You remind us of who You are and how You love. Forgive us for getting caught up in the chaos that can come this time of year, and for not making time to wait quietly before You. Teach us to slow down and sit in Your presence, so that we might recognize the hope that we have in You. Show us how to love, encourage and bless all whom we encounter as we go about each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we wait quietly before You, and place all of our hope in You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

May God Almighty grant you mercy. – Genesis 43:14

 

Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness… and to guide us to the path of peace. – (Luke 1:78-79, NLT)

 

Christmas is our reminder of exactly this – that Christ, our morning light from heaven, was sent to us in our darkness to guide us to the path of peace. God did this not because we were worthy, but because of His tender mercy. This most holy season is a space where we are given a vehicle to spread His loving light to those entrenched in darkness. Acts of kindness and generosity are more readily received in the name of Christmas, than any other season. May we remember God’s tender mercy that was granted to us, as the morning light from heaven shone brightly upon our own darkness, and led us to His path of peace. In this space of remembering, let us go forth and extend His mercy, light and love to all whom we encounter, so that they too, may come to know His tender path of peace.

 

Let tender mercy,Truth and Light

direct all our steps;

may we choose to love,

through our thankfulness.

As Love came to us,

from heaven to Earth;

light came to darkness,

through sweet infant birth.

The Christ who shows us,

the path to His peace;

our Mighty Savior,

from whom light’s released.

May we each embrace,

the love of our Lord;

and go give away,

the peace He affords.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the tender mercy that You have for us. Thank You that You sent Your Son from heaven to Earth, so that we who were stuck in darkness, could come to know Your glorious light. Thank You that in You, we come to know Your guidance, as You lead us to the path of Your peace. Forgive us for hiding in our darkness, or for not reaching out to those who are stuck in spaces where there is no light. Teach us to trust You more for our protection and direction, and lead us to love others with Your tender mercy in a way that shines light into darkness and points people to Your path of peace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we embrace Your grace and go forth to give as we have been given. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

They will celebrate Your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of Your righteousness. – Psalm 145:7

 

 

With Thanksgiving behind us and the Advent season before us, it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the preparations for Christmas celebrations. However, Advent is an entire season of anticipation, in and of itself. Advent, is “The Arrival.” This is the season in which we celebrate the arrival of our Savior, as He came to us, from Heaven to Earth, making peace within us, possible.

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – (Isaiah 9:6-7, NIV)

Isaiah foretold Christ’s arrival long before it came to pass. There had been much anticipation of Christ, the coming King, for far too long. No one anticipated a baby being born in a stable, yet He came. He arrived in a most unassuming and approachable way, and went on to establish His kingdom in the hearts of all who call on His Name. His peace is available and present as we seek Him. His peace within us, can be passed on to those around us, if we slow down and are intentional to prioritize people, not calendars, acquisitions, or agendas. May we be filled to overflowing with His peace during this wonderful season of His arrival, and in turn, let us go forth and be utilized as agents of peace to all people.

With hearts full of thanks,Candlelight

in awe we recall;

tender arrival,

sweet baby, so small.

Precious Son given,

so much more than known;

the great Prince of Peace,

His grace to be shown.

Kingdom established,

in the hearts of all;

who earnestly seek,

on the Lord, we call.

He upholds justice,

righteousness is His;

His reign’s forever,

and in Him, we’ll live.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for an intentional season of thanks. Thank You for the blessings that You poured out upon us as we offered our praises to You. Thank You that as we usher in a new season of anticipation, we celebrate and remember with awe and wonder, Your arrival. Forgive us for not embracing You and the peace that You alone provide, and for allowing ourselves to get too caught up in the chaos that can come with the season’s festivities. Teach us to trust You more, so that we fix our hearts, eyes and energy on what matters most. Show us how to love people as You love, so that Your peace would flow out of us and bring calm into places of chaos. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we are in awe of Your arrival, and seek to be agents of Your peace to the people all around us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. – James 5:11

 

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. – (John 18:37)

 

Though Pilate recognized the truth about Jesus, he chose to reject the truth that stood before him for the sake of pleasing the masses. Many find themselves at a similar crossroad at Christmas. They hear the truth of who Christ is, and must decide to either receive and embrace the truth, or to reject the Redeemer before them, for the sake of upholding sin and selfishness. As believers, we must model a life lived for Christ. If His love does not clearly flow through us, what possible appeal will the truth hold for those who know Him not? May we be vessels of His light and love unto the world, and may many come to embrace the truth of who Christ is this Christmas.

 

Though many have heard,Majesty Moved from the Cradle to the Cross

they have not embraced;

the mercy of Christ,

as sin He erased.

Jesus is much more,

than infant domain;

He’s the Mighty King,

from His throne, He reigns.

May each seeking heart,

hear the truth, made plain;

and receive the Lord,

to come rule and reign.

Let each heart who knows,

go forth and love well;

shining light and life,

may our lives truth tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that regardless of a person’s decision to accept or reject the truth, the truth remains. Thank You that You are the King. Thank You that You came into the world to testify the truth so that all might come to know You. Forgive us for not embracing the truth we know, or for neglecting to stand firm in all things and at all times. Teach us to trust You more, so that we completely rely on You. May we trust the truth, no matter what comes our way. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that many may be directed to embrace the truth that is found in You alone. Be exalted O God, as we live and love in such a way, that the truth we embrace is evident. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

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