Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thankful Thursdays - Celebrating Hanukkah with Friends

Hanukkah blessings, rejoicing

In the book of Romans, Chapter 12, verse 15, we are told to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." 

After many days of prayer on behalf of a friend who has suffered great loss, we had the opportunity to rejoice with friends on Tuesday evening. Both commands are great, and call us to support those around us with love. They show the heart of Jesus to those whom we share with. They offer both His comfort and His encouragement.

Tuesday night we celebrated the first night of Hanukkah with friends. Hanukkah means dedication, and is a Jewish holiday that remembers when the Temple was freed from the control of the Syrian Greeks in 165 B.C. and the Jews re-dedicated it to purify it from what the Greeks had used it for (worshipping false gods and unholy practices.) While I am no Hebrew scholar, I think I understand enough to know why our friends of Jewish heritage celebrate. Their hearts are overflowing with thankfulness of the miracle God wrought on their behalf by allowing the dedication oil (that appeared to be only enough for one night) to last for all eight nights of purification. 

In the grand scheme of Jewish Holidays, Hanukkah is often considered only a medium holiday, yet one which our friends freely share with us. There is joy is rejoicing with those who rejoice! There is also great joy on our behalf, knowing that these particular friends of ours are Messianic Jews, who also worship Christ as their Savior.

For myself, this simple celebration with our friends reminds me of how God has grafted me into the vine of His people through Christ's redeeming grace. Celebrating Hanukkah with our friends reminds me that God does still work miracles of provision in our lives. His great hand that provided for the Widow of Zarephath so she could feed Elijah in 1 Kings 17, also provided the oil for the temple purification celebrated at Hanukkah. We have often seen that same great hand provide for all of our family's needs when there just didn't appear to be enough.

We know that God created all that there is (Genesis 1:1,) and He still owns all the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10,) there is no need too great for Him to provide (Philippians 4:19.) Whether you have spent your week mourning with those who mourn, or rejoicing with those who rejoice. . . please choose to join us in offering a thankful heart to the God who continues to provide for us all!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas decorations

Several friends have posted recently about their Christmas decorations. I like Christmas decorations, I always have. For me, they point me to the manger, where Christ was laid as our newborn King. Christmas decorations can be big or small, or none at all. Whatever you choose, I pray you look to the manger, find a Savior, and be like the shepherds who pointed others to Christ.

This year our decorations are small. Our tree is a ceramic one my Dad painted when I was little, before it sits the tiny manger scene I painted when our girls were little. We are celebrating our Savior's birth. The baby Jesus will be added Christmas morning. 

I celebrate Christmas because it constantly reminds me of Jesus' purpose in coming to earth, to give his life as a ransom for mine. We celebrate His victory over death at Easter, but today, we're celebrating His birth.

Christmas is abut Jesus

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thankful Thursdays - 12/11/14 - The Stars Have Names

Psalm 147:7 tells us that God named all of the stars. 

I live in a small city, there are a decent amount of streetlights, so most mights there are only a few dozen stars visible. I grew up out in the country, where on a clear night you can see hundreds of stars over the open fields. When I look at the pictures taken by telescopes, I see thousands of stars.

I am thankful for a God who can give the stars each their own name. I am thankful for a God who is big enough to remember all their names, and still remembers me. I am thankful for His grace and mercy, and I am reminded of them every time I look at the night sky.

Even in the winter, when the wind is cold and blows the snow clouds across the moon and stars, I can look up to the heavens and know the stars are there. Even when I can't see the stars, they still have names. 

God knows their names, and He knows my name. What blessed thought!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Thankful Thursdays - 12/4/14 - Jesus

Isaiah 9:6

I am thankful for the birth of my Savior, Jesus Christ. In the midst of all that happens in our world, I know I can find peace and rest in Him.

Praying you have a blessed week!