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The Significance of an Empty Present

One thing I’ve especially enjoyed about this series is being introduced to new ideas from fellow bloggers. 

Today’s idea comes from Natasha Crain’s ChristianMomThoughts, Inspiration for Intentional Christian Parenting.

It’s all about wrapping an empty present under the tree—a beautiful lesson for little ones and adults alike when it comes to the gospel in action. It’s a meaningful Christmas gift idea.

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. Proverbs 1:8,9

When Crock-Pots and Worship Collide

The closer we get to Christmas, the busier our days tend to become — which is why today’s idea has to do with slowing down, savoring the senses, and enjoying more quality time with the Lord, family and friends. 

Grab your crock-pot and set the timer for five minutes! That’s all the prep time you’ll need for one of our favorite recipes, Balsamic Pork Tenderloin. It’s quick, easy, and due to the multiple meals it creates, you’ll also find it budget-friendly.

I’ll send you to Addapinch.com for instructions (Warning: photos may cause swoon-like symptoms) but here’s the ingredient list to give you a peek:

  • (1) 2-3 pound boneless pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

I didn’t use the red pepper flakes and I substituted the 2 cloves with 2 T of minced onion from my fridge due to convenience. I also used low-sodium soy sauce to cut down on the sodium.

No doubt you’ll want to bookmark this Web site. It’s a go-to favorite of ours!

Enjoy the meal, the extra time in your day, and especially those who surround your table. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17



No Gift Tag Required

Today, let’s consider giving one of the most freeing and grace-filled gifts we have the privilege to share with another person, or perhaps ourselves: forgiveness. 

  • It isn’t wrapped in paper or bows, but laid-bare before another. 
  • The power of forgiveness doesn’t diminish based on the recipient’s response because it’s not given based on our feelings, but rather, faithfulness. It is an act of the will. (1 Cor. 15:5)
  • Forgiveness hinders the enemy’s power in our lives and frees God’s best. (2 Cor. 2: 7-11)
  • No gift tag required. (John 13:34-35)
Is there someone on your Christmas list who needs/wants something from you much greater than any material possession?
“Not forgiving is like drinking cat poison 
and then waiting for the rat to die.” 
– Anne Lamott

Downloading A Gift of Worship

Music moves the heart to worship like none other — especially during the Christmas season. Some of my favorites:

Michael Card
Andrew Peterson
Frank, Bing, and Johnny

This year, I’m delighted (and very proud) to add another favorite to the list. Our son, Brandon, is a worship leader in OH and just released his first Christmas EP. It includes 3 songs:

Go Tell It On The Mountain
O Come O Come Emmanuel
Christmas Medley

The EP can be downloaded for $3.00 via online or you can purchase a 10 card bundle to slip into your Christmas cards. It’s a meaningful way to share the gift of worship. 

If you’re local, our youngest son, Zach, Brian, and friends from his church will be leading in a time of worship on Sunday at 6:00 p.m., Providence Baptist Church. All are welcome! 

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”

[Psalm 95:1]
– See more at: http://www.prayers-for-special-help.com/bible-verses-about-music.html#sthash.Zg4FfTGZ.dpuf

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23
“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!”

[Psalm 95:1]
– See more at: http://www.prayers-for-special-help.com/bible-verses-about-music.html#sthash.Zg4FfTGZ.dpuf

Christmas Camp Out

One of the boy’s favorite Christmas traditions was camping out in the den. Mid-evening, we’d sometimes make a tent that opened towards the TV so they could watch their favorite Christmas movies as they fell asleep. Other times, we’d just let them roll out their sleeping bags by the Christmas tree. Once they fell asleep, all lights went out.

You may wonder what this has to do with having a worship-filled Christmas. I’m not exactly sure — but here are two things I do know:

  • God created families before the church, which speaks to the importance of family in the big scheme of things.
  • Families who desire to follow Christ are especially targeted by Satan. If he destroys a couple, he destroys a family. If he destroys a family, he destroys a community. If he destroys communities, he destroys the nation.

There are many ways to strengthen the family unit and for us, one of those ways was to create simple traditions such as the one above. They offered stability, security, and a lot of joy over the years. 

Now, we build tents for Piper and look forward to Gabe and Liv joining in the tradition!

So what’s your favorite family tradition?

Tiny House on the Hill

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