Emmanuel, God With Us

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What a night!  Before I go any further into detail, here is my December 24th favorite:

What is your favorite Christmas carol?  My favorite Christmas carol is “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”  Now I will continue with my story.  I have been battling a cold for two weeks but was offered an opportunity to sing at my church’s Christmas Eve candlelight service.  I have been praying for God to bring along such opportunities so I said yes and trusted that He would do the rest.  I did not talk all day today and babied my throat.  I was very nervous, but I kept praying and reminding myself for Whom I was singing.  When the time came, I sang “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”  I was so worried about my throat and the sound of my voice, and yet everything was fine.  I continue to learn this lesson: When one’s heart is in the right place, everything else will fall into the right place.

Stay merry readers!  Only 1 more day until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

“O come O come Immanuel, And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appears
Rejoice, Rejoice, Immanuel
Shall come to thee O Israel.”

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Merry SNLmas

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Give it on up for Homelessville!  If this line is familiar to you, chances are you have seen the hilarious Saturday Night Live Christmas special.  Before I give too much away, let me introduce my December 23rd favorite:

What is your favorite holiday TV special?  The Saturday Night Live Christmas special.  I love the holiday season but understand that it can be quite stressful.  Laughter is the perfect medicine for such an ailment.  My prescription is Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Will Ferell, and a pinch of Adam Sandler and Justin Timberlake.  Not only do I enjoy the variety of talent in the special, but Justin Timberlake’s “Homelessville” sketch is my favorite SNL sketch.  How many times do you hear the lyrics of contemporary songs changed to soup references?  Only Justin Timberlake can pull it off with equal parts comedy and vocal skill.  Instead of jabbering on and on, I will end with the encouragement to take a break and laugh.

Stay merry readers!  Only 2 more days until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Christmas isn’t about Santa kicking a cup of soup in the croutons.  It’s about giving.”  – Justin Timberlake, Saturday Night Live

 

Prairie Christmas

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I am sitting in the TV room with my mom catching up on Christmas movies and specials, and I can’t help but shed a tear.  Christmas is coming to an end.  I hate that the best time of year has to end, but I suppose it must.  Moving on to happier thoughts, here is my December 22nd favorite:

What is your favorite holiday TV episode?  Back in my childhood days, I would put my hair in two braids and skip around with a pretend lunch pail.  I even attached two belts to a chair and created my own buckboard (a.k.a. a wagon).  I was practically Laura Ingalls, minus Almanzo Wilder.  Years later and I am still watching Little House on the Prairie and dreaming of such a life.  After all that, it is easy to deduce what TV show my favorite holiday TV episode comes from.  The episode title is “A Christmas They Never Forgot.”  The synopsis is as follows: The Ingalls, Kendall, and Wilder families are gathered for Christmas along with Hester Sue.  They get snowed in at the Ingalls homestead and spend the night reliving memories from Christmases past.  The episode is charming and wholesome, as is expected from the beloved show; it also reveals unknown details about Almanzo Wilder, Caroline Ingalls, and Hester Sue.  Diehard fans are given an opportunity to connect on an even deeper level with the characters.  If you are an LHOTP fan and crave nostalgia, this is the episode for you.

Stay merry readers!  Only 3 more days until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Nostalgia is a powerful feeling; It can drown out anything.”  – Terrence Malick

No Place Like Home

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During the holidays, there is much to see: Christmas lights, family and friends, holiday shows, store displays, etc.  But, in my mind and heart, there is nowhere better to be than safe and snug within one’s own home.  Here is my December 20th favorite:

Where is your favorite place to be at Christmastime?  I could say my house and be done, but that is not my full answer.  I told my tale of Christmases past involving a Christmas tree farm, but this post revolves around the results.  It feels good to complete the process of cutting down a tree, driving it all the way home, grooming it, maneuvering it into the house, setting it up, watering it, and decorating it.  Why not take a step back and admire the finished product, a question that brings me back to my main point.  My favorite place to be at Christmastime is snuggled up on my living room couch admiring the glow of the Christmas tree lights, preferably at night.  Another positive side effect is how beautiful the other decorations look bathed in the glow of the colorful lights.  In the case that my family does not purchase a tree, I am satisfied with laying on the living room couch and staring at the nativity scene.  Each character has a unique, meaningful story, and each story centers around one being: Jesus, the Reason for the season.  What a way to spend the day!

Stay tuned for my favorite ornament and favorite decoration.  Yes, those are two different things.

Stay merry readers!  Only 5 more days until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Let there be light.”  – Genesis 1:3

Seasonal Smells

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It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas!!!  Today’s post is all about the senses, specifically smell.  Here is my December 19th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday scent?  This is an easy answer: Evergreen (a.k.a Christmas trees).  I don’t think it has to do with the fact that Christmas trees are a common family tradition.  When I think of Christmas, I think of winter and walking through snow therefore I like the the scent of evergreen because it reminds me of the picturesque outdoor scene in my head.

Discussing Christmas trees has reminded me of a childhood memory, and I have decided to share that memory with you as a bonus.  My family did not participate in the Christmas tree tradition until we moved to Texas.  A few years after our move, a couple from our church invited us to accompany them on their annual Christmas tree farm trip.  The drive took 1-2 hours, but it was well worth it.  The entire day consisted of riding in a trailer, picking and cutting down a Christmas tree, spinning on a tire swing hung from a tree, eating hot dogs cooked over an open flame, and drinking hot cocoa.  Even though we only repeated the experience twice, it is something I will never forget.  I am holding those memories especially close this year because my family does not have a tree.

Stay merry readers!  Only 6 more days until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Not only green when summer’s here,
But also when it’s cold and drear.
Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are so unchanging!”  – “O Christmas Tree”

Mary & Joseph

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If you are not a hopeless romantic, this blog post may not be for you.  If you are a hopeless romantic or just plain curious, read on.  Here is my December 18th favorite:

What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?  I will stop here and inform you that it is your choice what Christmas story you pick.  In my mind, the Christmas story is the story of Jesus’ birth.  My favorite part of the Christmas story is the relationship between Mary and Joseph.  Many christian authors write about love stories from the Bible, but Mary and Joseph are left alone, most likely out of respect for Jesus.  Not a lot is said about either of them, but I can clearly see a love story in what is unsaid.  Back in those times, Jewish marriages were arranged by the parents.  The marriages were not based on what we would call “true love” or “love at first sight”, but that does not mean love did not exist.  I see love in Joseph’s faith to obey God and marry a girl who was seemingly pregnant out of wedlock.  I see love in Mary’s willingness to accompany her husband to Bethlehem despite her circumstance.  The story of Mary and Joseph is not a romance novel full of public affection but rather a story of love quietly developed over time through unity and virtue.  Intimate details are not required to create an attractive love story.  Love is a powerful thing; in pure, genuine form, it’s beauty should speak for itself, no words required.

I am sorry to those of you who aren’t really into romance.  Please stay tuned for the next blog post tomorrow.

Also, the most important part of the Christmas story is Jesus.  My choice was made based on all options apart from Jesus’ birth because that is an obvious choice for any believer.

Stay merry readers!  Only 7 days left until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yetdid not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”               – Matthew 1:19-20

The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”  “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”  The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.”  “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.  Luke 1:28-38

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world(This was the first census that took place whileQuirinius was governor of Syria.).  And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  Luke 2:1-7

 

 

Faith in the Unseen

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This post is all about faith.  Leave now if you are not ready to receive such a message.  Here is my December 17th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday quote?  My favorite holiday quote is from the movie “Polar Express”: “…sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”  Based on personal observation, people today put more emphasis on believing in what can be seen than what cannot be seen.  Why is that so?  I can answer this because it is true for myself: It is easier to mentally process something that can be seen and physically touched.  Putting faith in something invisible means giving up control, and that is not something our human nature takes to easily.  This world is not giving me much to put my faith in.  Why not give up control and believe there is something beyond the physical and visible?

Stay merry readers!  Only 8 more days until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele  :)

“…sometime the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”  – “Polar Express”