Archives For Christmas

Renee Ann Smith(Click to Tweet)

A Meditation for Christmas Week: The Christmas Paradox, part II

He who is the Bread of Life began His ministry hungering.
He who is the Water of Life ended His ministry thirsty.
Christ hungered as man, yet fed the multitudes as God.
He was weary, yet He is our rest.
He prayed, yet He hears prayers.
He was sold for 30 pieces of silver, yet He redeems sinners.
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.
He died, and by dying destroyed death.

~Unknown Author~

“You are familiar with the generosity of our Master, Jesus Christ. Rich as he was, he gave it all away for us—in one stroke he became poor and we became rich.” ~II Corinthians 8:9, The Message~

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

I’m visiting my sisters in Memphis for the week. May Christmas find you joyful & satisfied & surrounded by those you love.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

Find more Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Christmas Paradox, part I

Christmas Memories

The Rising Light

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of the little nativity in our school lunchroom. Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

The Christmas Paradox

Renee Ann Smith —  December 12, 2014 — 6 Comments

Chesterton Christmas Quote

Christmas is built upon a beautiful & intentional paradox;
that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.
~G. K. Chesterton~

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In the Bleak Midwinter
by Christina Rosetti

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

Christmas Memories

The Rising Light

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of my freshly snow-covered street on Thanksgiving morning, 2014. Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

Christmas Memories

Renee Ann Smith —  December 11, 2014 — 6 Comments

Renee Ann Smith Christmas House

Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather & dance. Each beautiful, unique & too soon gone. ~Deborah Whipp~

(Click to Tweet)

The Christmases I can remember were far from perfect.

My early Christmases were filled with wonder. But my teen years found me bored with Christmas—and life in general.

In recent years, it seems that almost as many Christmas seasons as were characterized by bubbly, effervescent  joy, were the ones made poignant by deep grief.

Yet this remains true: My Heavenly Father sent me a Savior before I even knew I needed one.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Love Was When
by Don Wyrtzen & John Walvoord

Love was when God became a Man,
Locked in time and space, without rank or place;
Love was God born of Jewish kin;
Just a carpenter with some fishermen.

Love was when Jesus walked in history,
Lovingly He brought a new life that’s free,
Love was God nailed to bleed and die
To reach and love one such as I.

Love was when God became a Man,
Down where I could see Love that reached to me;
Love was God dying for my sin
And so trapped was I my whole world caved in.

Love was when Jesus met me, now it’s real;
Lovingly He came, I can feel He’s real!
Love was God, only He would try
To reach and love one such as I.

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Rising Light

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of my house now that it has its Christmas on! Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

The Rising Light

Renee Ann Smith —  December 10, 2014 — 7 Comments

Rising Light 2(Click to Tweet)

~Isaiah 60:1-3~

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

~Revelation 21:22&23, The Message~

The City doesn’t need sun or moon for light.
God’s Glory is its light & the Lamb, its lamp!
The nations will walk in its light
And earth’s kings bring in their splendor.

~Revelation 22:5, The Message~

Never again will there be any night.
No one will need lamplight or sunlight.
The shining of God, the Master, is all the light anyone needs.
And they will rule with him age after age after age.

I love this little Nativity set up in a corner of our high school lunch room. Just like in our greater world, this holy scene might be easily overlooked during the daily hustle and bustle. Yet the message of the light that came to dispel darkness is there for all who wish to take notice.

And I love the promise it speaks to my heart—that someday His Light will shine so brightly, no one will be able to miss it!

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Gift of YES

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of the little Nativity set up in our school lunch room. Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link. Continue Reading…

The Gift of YES

Renee Ann Smith —  December 9, 2014 — 5 Comments

Evergreen Susan May Warren

“Maybe, however, you’re Mary & God is asking you to be willing to say YES to whatever He asks.”

~Susan May Warren, Evergreen~

(Click to Tweet)

~Luke 1:38 & 46-55, The Message~

And Mary said, “YES, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me just as you say.

I’m bursting with God-news;
    I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.

God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
    I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
    the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.

His mercy flows in wave after wave

    on those who are in awe before him.

He bared his arm and showed his strength,
    scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
    pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
    the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;

H
e remembered and piled on the mercies,
piled them high.


It’s exactly what he promised,

    beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”

As you can see from the verses above,
Mary enthusiastically embraced God’s plan—
in spite of the censure, ridicule, judgment & emotional pain it would bring.

What a beautiful gift she poured out before the Lord.
May we all seek to trust His heart with that same, resounding YES!

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

You can find my other Christmas/Winter graphics here . . .

The Gifts We All Can Give

His Radiance

Swift & Sure

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic from an iPhone pic of my school’s elementary nativity play from years gone by. (It features a dear friend & former student’s daughter, who is growing up so quickly!) Of course, PicMonkey, is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.

***And, YES, Susan May Warren’s novella Evergreen is a great Christmas gift idea! My high school students loved it! Order the book here.

Here’s another version of the same quote, where I went for a Christmas card look . . .

Advent Susan May Warren(Click to Tweet)

Continue Reading…

 

Christmas Gift SuggestionsChristmas Gift Suggestions

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.

~Oren Arnold~

(Click to Tweet)

~Proverbs 3:27-28~
“Do not withhold good
From those to whom it is due,
When it is in your power to act.”

Or as it says in The Message . . .
“Never walk away from someone who deserves help.
Your hand is God’s hand for that person.
Don’t tell your neighbor ‘Maybe some other time’
Or ‘Try me tomorrow.'”

These words remind me that the most important gifts
we can share with each other can’t be wrapped & placed under a tree.
Let’s not be stingy but give freely from our hearts—at Christmas time and all the year through.

I’ll be posting Christmas quotes & Scriptures every day this week, so I hope to “see” you again soon.

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made this graphic last year using resources from PicMonkey, my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.

Continue Reading…

Scripture graphics

He is the radiance of the glory of God & the exact imprint of His nature. ~Hebrews 1:3~

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This seemed a fitting Scripture for the first day of Advent, the season where we celebrate God sending us His beautiful Son!

Here’s how Hebrews 1 sounds from The Message:

By his Son, God created the world in the beginning,
And it will all belong to the Son at the end.
This Son perfectly mirrors God,
  And is stamped with God’s nature.
He holds everything together by what He says—
Powerful words!

And I love these words from the folks at Desiring God about His Radiance:

“The glory of God is the holiness of God put on display. That is, it is the infinite worth of God made manifest.

When the holiness of God fills the earth for people to see, it is called glory. God’s glory is the radiance of his holiness.

It is the out-streaming of his infinite value. And when it streams out, it is seen as beautiful and great.

It separates God from all that is common—like the rarest and most perfect diamond in the world.”

What can I add to those words but —Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I snapped this iPhone pic on my way to work Friday. I love how it captures our first snow here in upstate New York. Of course, PicMonkey is my editing tool of choice. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Just let me know in the comments. You can find me here

***Let’s connect on Instagram! I so enjoy scrolling my Instagram feed & admiring everyone’s pics. Let me know if you’re on Instagram or find me at this link.

Continue Reading…

Evergreen: Life Flourishes

Renee Ann Smith —  September 15, 2014 — 9 Comments

I don’t think Christmas should ever be perfect.

Maybe because my most treasured Christmas memories seem to be the times when God helped me find joy in the midst of far from perfect circumstances . . .

***Like that winter during my childhood when I was sick for every holiday. Dad carried me outside to see the Christmas lights my brother and sisters had set up. On the way back in, he slipped on the ice and fell, cushioning me with his body.

And I learned that I would always be safe in his arms—no matter how often we failed to see eye-to-eye in later years.

***The first Christmas after my dad died, decorating our mother’s house because she hadn’t the strength. My sisters dragged an ugly Charlie-Brown tree out of the woods and gave it a makeover. The tree made my mother cry, and we cried with her.

And we discovered that we could cry and laugh and eat and live, even though we never stopped missing the one we had lost.

***That time I went Christmas shopping with my best friend of twenty years. She dashed around Walmart on a scooter, spreading smiles and laughter like a holiday elf, and we shared a joy made bittersweet by knowing it was her last Christmas on earth.

And I saw that breast cancer can’t stop a child of God from rejoicing in her Savior—or keep a determined woman from one last shopping spree!

I’m thankful for those Christmases. And also for the ones that were mediocre or boring or left me with a feeling that surely there was more to the holiday—or life—than this. Because they taught me that what our hearts long for will never be satisfied by anyone or anything on earth, by anything less than Christ Himself.

So for me a “real” Christmas is when we’re able to celebrate the coming of the Christ-child no matter what pain or problems plague our hearts.

And isn’t that why Jesus came in the first place? To fill up all those empty places inside us and make something beautiful out of our messy lives.

This is the truth that threads throughout Susan May Warren’s lovely winter novella, Evergreen . . .

Evergreen Susan May Warren“In the wake of good-byes, life endures. Even flourishes.”

(Click to Tweet)

The story focuses on empty-nesters Ingrid & John Christiansen and their efforts to thaw the “chill that has settled over their marriage” by creating the best Christmas ever—even though their adult children are spread far and wide, beloved family members are struggling with heartbreak & abandonment & addictions, and their own hearts have grown cold towards each other & God.

As sad as Ingrid and John’s situation might be, the storyline that sucked me in & had me grabbing for the tissue box involves a beautiful lost boy named Romeo. His hungry heart & sweet spirit change every character—and reader!—he comes in contact with.

Though this novella is short enough to be read in one sitting, it’s impact will last long after finishing that final page and leave you with a few gems to stir your faith & warm your heart. 

And whether or not your church has ever tried to pull together a Living Nativity, you’ll vicariously enjoy the event at the Christiansen’s church!

Evergreen Susan May Warren“Maybe, however, you’re Mary & God is simply asking you to be willing to say yes to whatever He asks.”

(Click to Tweet)

GIFT SUGGESTION: Evergreen would turn a gift basket into something special or be a great stocking stuffer. If you’re gifting a reader, you could pair it with an Amazon gift card or the rest of the Christian Family Series. Good for any age—my high school students LOVE the Christian Family books!

Purchase your copies of the novella at this link. ***Thanks to Susan May Warren & Litfuse PR for providing a copy for me to review.

About the author: Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. Susan May WarrenShe served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists.

In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Visit MyBookTherapy.com to learn more.

You can connect with SMW

***See my reviews of the Christiansen Family Series at the following links:

I’m truly thankful that you stopped by today. Blessings, friends!

***Let’s be Twitter pals! If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world!

***Photo Backstory: I made these graphics from iPhone pics—of our church decorated for a winter wedding & my dear friend’s daughter playing Mary in our school chapel a few years ago. And, of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking & adding text. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. Continue Reading…