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christmas

music monday: go tell it on the mountain by tenth avenue north

Tiffany NicoleComment

My most favoritest Christmas song is Go Tell it on the Mountain. It is fun how many different versions there are to choose from but there is nothing like singing alongside others live. My favorite recorded version to date is by Tenth Avenue North. Have a listen.

Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere

After the shepherds saw Jesus, they went to tell everyone about his birth and what they saw. The people on the low scale of society were witnesses to the birth of the savior. Following their example, we also have things to tell about Jesus, as well, as he commanded (Mark 16:15). Although we do not have to literally tell it on the mountain or hold up signs on corners or billboards - unless God directs you that way but that is another story. But we do get the privilege to live it out. To tell the good news of the life of Jesus with our actions and speech each day we are given breath. We get to proclaim the good news of Jesus and what he has done in our lives. About how he saved us from the sin that so easily entangled us and how we are victorious because of him.

About how he has restored us to better than we have ever been and continues to guide our steps in hope and joy.

There is so much truth in the little saying: share the gospel, use words when necessary.

Our lives speak volumes for themselves. Our actions and demeanor. How we respond to others. How situations are handled. How we interact with the barista or sales associate or co-worker or husband or friend. They are all indicators of where our heart is resting - with God or otherwise.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 1 Peter 3:15-16

Peter tells us to always be prepared to give an answer when someone asks why we do what we do. Why we act the way we act. Why we have hope in hopeless situations. Why we have joy through financial hardships or illnesses or job loss. Why we have peace when others speak maliciously against us and try to tear us down. 

Be prepared because people will be able to see the difference in you, whether or not they comment on it. You are different. You are chosen. You are God's beloved. 

Praying that you would seek God for direction in your actions and conduct. Praying that God would open your eyes to what you are telling on the mountain about him with your life and that it would glorifying to him. Praying that you would think about what you post on Facebook or Instagram before you hit post. Praying that you would consider your activities and current events and how they relate to your telling of God's story in your life. Praying that the words you use would be ones of encouragement, not only to others but to yourself.

Praying that you would be bold to tell others of what God has done in your life and not be ashamed of where God took you from because someone may still be where you once were.

Praying that you would follow the guidance of the holy spirit as you go about your day and enjoy your daily encounters with family and friends and neighbors and co-workers and managers and each person God places in your path. 

Here's to words to speak and actions to accompany them. Here's to telling it on the mountain. 

music monday: you're here by francesca battistelli

Tiffany NicoleComment

As I sat listening to the telling of the Christmas story during my first pregnancy, my perspective on it was forever changed. And the Christmas following the birth of my daughter changed it even more. Seeing things from a mama's point of view tends to do that.

Perspective on logistical things, like traveling on a donkey during the third trimester of pregnancy. A donkey. I had issues traveling via car. And what about potty breaks?

Sleeping on the ground while nine months pregnant. No pillows?

The smell of the animals in the stable. I could hardly stand the smell of a fridge.

Giving birth in a stable. A. Stable. With. Animals. With your first child. Not knowing what to expect.

Mary was a champ. I know this is all silly but part of Mary's life and things I cannot even envision.

Then there is the emotional side of it. Giving birth to the Savior of the world was a pretty big deal. And the responsibility of raising him was, too. 

The love that Mary had for Jesus was different than that of anyone else.

One of a mama. A chosen mama, who was with child before she was married. The love of Mary for Jesus is unimaginable.

There is nothing like the feeling of your baby being placed on your chest after birth and the first looks. The first official meeting of the one who has been wiggling and moving and poking around for months. But meeting the Savior of the world after carrying him for months and looking in to his little eyes and touching his little hands, that I cannot fathom.

You're Here by Francesca Battistelli really conveys this aspect of Mary as a mama. Have listen.

I don't know how long I'm going to have you for

But I'll be watching when you change the world

Look at your hands, they're still so small

Someday you're going to stretch them out and save us all

Having a child is like having a little piece of God with you. God has given you his creation as a special gift. Whether through birth or otherwise. A gift none the less. A gift to raise and teach and mold. To give laughter and life. You do not know the length of the duration or what he or she will grow up to do but you have him none the less. You get a front row view to watch as he changes the world, little by little, with whatever God has made him to do. It can be daunting to think of the outcome of decisions you have to make while raising and all the what ifs or if you mess him up. But God has grace to give and wisdom to guide. And Mary was already in charge of raising the Savior of the world, so no pressure on you. 

Praying that this Christmas season you will look at the Christmas story a little differently, as well as your children. Praying that you would see the gift in each smile and laugh and all the learning and discipline. Praying that you would see the humanity of Jesus, our Emmanuel, God with us, as well as his glory. Praying you would truly enjoy mamahood this Christmas with gratitude and love. 

Here's to mamahood and Mary. Here's to the birth of Jesus. 

And just in case you missed the past few Music Monday Christmas edition and looking for some Christmas tunes, here they are:

A Hallelujah Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone

music monday: a hallelujah christmas by cloverton

Tiffany NicoleComment

The past week has been a little blurry. Trips to the ER and text updates and preschool volunteering and of course the care of two littles and their activities and has filled my days. It was a trying week but God has been so faithful. No matter how physically exhausted or tired, he always blesses. He blesses the conversations and keeps it going a bit more and allows rest and keeps giving peace that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). He constantly leaves little blessings and reassurance throughout the day. One of the verses on my phone this week was Ecclesiastes 11:5:

As you do not know the path of the wind, 

or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, 

so you cannot understand the work of God, 

the Maker of all things.

It was such a beautiful reminder and made me laugh. I never understand God's plans but I know he works for the good of those who love him and that is enough for me to know (Romans 8:28). It is one thing to say we trust him but another to get the opportunity to live it out. To see it played out as you trust him to do good. To do good in the health of loved ones. To do good in work relationships. In children's decisions. In your life.

He is doing good.

Can you see it?

Can you see him weaving his goodness in to your moments and hours and days? Can you see it this Christmas season?

Can you see it in the humble birth and teachings of Jesus who died to save humanity?

To save you. Cloverton's song, A Hallelujah Christmas, is a beautiful rendition of this. Have a listen. 

I know You came to rescue me

This baby boy would grow to be

A man and one day die for me and you

Praying that your eyes will continued to be opened to see glimpses of God's mysteries in your life. Praying that whatever you are going through that you will be able to trust God. Truly trusting in His word and what he promises. They are not empty or void but full of life. Praying that you would be able to see the development of your faith as you cling to them and that you would come out with more than you knew you had.

Praying that you would focus on Jesus and all that he has done in your life as you celebrate Christmas. Praying that you would find hallelujahs throughout your day and praise God.

Here's to more hallelujahs and trusting. 

music monday: merry christmas everyone by rend collective

Tiffany NicoleComment

Happy December. Happy last month of the year. Happy almost Christmas and New Year. Oh happy day. This month commemorates the first year of our little man and we are excited to celebrate that, along with the birth of Jesus, of course.

The weekend after Thanksgiving we start hanging Christmas decorations and put up the tree. We drink warm apple cider and eat yummy, homemade sugar cookies and listen to Christmas music. Just a simple tradition but one that we love none the less. This year Rend Collective came out with their own Christmas album, which is fabulous and perfect for Christmas decorating dance parties.

This song, Merry Christmas Everyone, is so fun. How can you not get in the Christmas mood and spread some cheer? Have a listen.

Time for parties and celebration. And people dancing all night long.

Christmas is fun, right? But what about Christianity? When you hear the word Christianity do you think fun? When you think of the savior of the world coming down, living with man and dying for the sins of humanity? For you. For me. Does that convey fun? Is following Jesus fun to you?

When you move out of hearing the word of God to living it out and doing it (James 1:22), the party starts. Comfort zones start to lessen. Random conversations with strangers begin and Jesus fills the time. The adventure begins. And the fun. The fun of sharing life altering news with others you never dreamed of sharing with. And doing things you never thought were possible. New experiences are sure to abound.

In Acts, after being persecuted for believing in Jesus, Peter and John rejoiced for being found worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41). They are rejoicing because of persecution. Fun? Definitely not to my standards.

But they were excited to be found worthy to suffer for Jesus.

They understood the extent of what Jesus did for them and they were able to rejoice accordingly.

In Mark Batterson's book, Wild Goose Chase, he talks about how ancient Celtics referred to following the holy spirit as just that - a wild goose chase. You cannot fathom the direction it will go. Just where it will turn. What terrain it will run to. Where it will lead you is an unknown. When you follow the holy spirit, you will be lead to places you cannot imagine. You will have unexpected conversations and friends you never thought possible. Healing that nothing can compare to. And you will find yourself having fun along the way.

Praying that among the shopping and wrapping and baking and embracing our Emmanuel, Christ with us, that you have fun. That you would enjoy the ability to purchase items for loved ones and have fun. That it would not be burdensome or out of obligation but of loved. 

Praying that you see the fun and joy in Christ and that your spectrum would be broadened this season to see God with an increasing clarity.

Here's to fun and Christmas and Christianity.