Solemn Stillness

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth
To touch their harps of gold:
“Peace on the earth, goodwill to all,
From heaven’s all gracious king.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

It is difficult for me to carve out a chunk of time for solemn stillness, especially during the Christmas season. Our retail business is so very busy in November and December. This year was especially busy which was why I decided to do PrayerPoints for Advent. It isn’t that I needed one more thing to do, I needed to do this very particular thing.

I needed set aside time to consider the coming “all gracious king”. I needed to find some peace and calm in my day.

It works!

What I gain from “giving up” this time (I could be working on any number of business things) is a peace that extends through me all day. And I do appreciate that I wake up each morning, anticipating where God will take this devotional time. What I say in PrayerPoints may not be profound to you because I don’t always find the best words to express what God is doing in my heart.

I am so very thankful for His peace in my life. I encourage you to make time to enjoy His gift of peace today.

Come, Lord Jesus!

* By: Edmund H. Sears

Hark! The herald angels sing

Hail, the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

We don’t use the word hark so much these days. But I could benefit from listening more. One of the things I love about this time of year is that there are so many reminders, mainly through song, of the Prince of Peace.

Even those who are struggling with their faith.

They hear the songs all over the radio. They might catch a line here or there that gives them something to ponder. These hymns have some great messages tucked inside.


There are so many amazing Christmas hymns that are broadcast all over the radio and in stores. I love that it is the background music but I also need to let the messages come to the forefront and penetrate my heart. Thinking about some of these hymns, verse by verse, helps them sink in just a little more. I love to read a verse and then find one thing that strikes me in that verse and ruminate on it.

Do you have a favorite Christmas hymn?

Come, Lord Jesus!

* Words written by Charles Wesley 1707-88

Me first….

I usually defer to others. Not because I don’t consider myself worthy of whatever it is we are deciding or doing but because I often do not really have a preference. When I do have a preference, I share it. But there are absolutely times when I need to be first:

in Confession: While I am not required to confess to others in order to be forgiven it does go a long way in relationships. It is good for me to be first to confess my wrongs. There are plenty of them, of course. But waiting for someone else to confess when I am in a conflict with them isn’t helpful. The longer I wait, the longer I am stewing and justifying my own behavior. Instead of digging my heels in and waiting, I should take the first step.

In Forgiveness: I should never hesitate extending forgiveness. It actually benefits me more than the offender. God knows the heart. And He certainly knows mine after all these years. He knows all I have been forgiven for. And while He casts my sins as far as the East is from the West, it would be good for me to remember just as a point of reference. It is a huge shame to withhold forgiveness. But when I do, the true damage is done to me and my relationship with God.

In Giving: When it comes to sharing, I can start things off: lead by example. Others may not follow along, but it should not dissuade me. Giving often does more for the giver than the receiver and the act of giving grows my heart and my compassion.

Come, Lord Jesus!

As we prepare for Jesus in these days leading up to Christmas, PrayerPoints will be published daily. To learn more about the history of Advent and history behind the advent wreath and candles, CLICK HERE!

Meaningful Gifting

There seems to be a crazy frenzy around the holidays. Bigger seems better. People look to buy happiness even though deep down inside, if they pause for a moment, they know that a moment of euphoria does not bring lasting satisfaction. The growing consumer debt so common these days often crushes marriage and destroys families with the weight of seemingly insurmountable financial burdens. Why do we want so much? What are we looking for? Will we know it when we find it? Why do we want to keep up with the Joneses when we don’t even like them?

One of the biggest challenges in gift giving is meeting the expectations of others and of ourselves, but gift giving doesn’t have to be about buying anything.

I love the book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It has some great insight into relationships and really takes a look at what makes some people tick and I think it is fairly accurate overall. The people close to you want to be known. Can you tell what their dominant language is? Do you know your own? Many of these love languages can cross over into one another and often do. If you are obsessive about the categories you will miss out on the concept. Don’t do that!

The Love Languages (in brief–please get the book from your library and read it!)

Gifts — some people groove on being given what might seem the smallest, most inconsequential treat to you: a hard to find candy bar, a loaf of homemade bread, a bag of incredible coffee, a package of cool notecards, some gluten-free cookies, a great coffee mug, etc. If you bought or made it with them in mind (and I do feel that is the key here) then it is indeed a precious gift.

Time — For some people, making a date for something as simple as a cup of coffee and conversation is a treasured experience. Time together is invaluable. With life moving along at an incredible speed it is important to make and take the time to connect.

Words of Affirmation — Encouragement is certainly not found everywhere. If you find you think and speak encouraging words on a regular basis, then you, my friend, have an important gift. Sometimes a written note gives a gift the recipient can re-read when they are feeling discouraged.

Touch — this love language can get you into trouble if it is your main way of communicating and rightly so. Touch is so personal and clearly not what everyone wants or likes. Be very sensitive to this as you may not know “why” behind it and there may not even be a big “why” behind it. Sometimes it is just how we are wired. If touch is important to you be aware of healthy boundaries. But if you don’t mind giving a foot rub and someone very close to you loves them, wow, that can be a great match!

Acts of Service — many people find themselves so out of time that taking a job off their plate is truly the best gift. An extra set of hands working alongside yours during a difficult time can be a huge blessing. An act of service might be as simple as grabbing a gallon of milk at the store, shoveling the sidewalk for a neighbor, or an hour of free childcare.

Every love language has value. As you mature you might find that you are very open to receiving outside of your preference because you look to the giver and see the thought, sacrifice, and the love behind the gift. You may find that your preferences change with age or as the people in your life change. Probably the most important transition you can make in this area is moving away from always giving what you “speak” as far as languages go and being able to have “basic conversation” in all languages. You may be most fluent in one or two but can adjust to the preferences of others.

As you prepare to give to others during throughout the year, take a step back and think about what and why you give. Establish your boundaries and work to live within them. The expectations of others can often pose a challenge but most people can accept what we do and how we do it….eventually. Sometimes counter cultural action takes a little extra time to process.

And because shopping always seems to make its way into our season, consider shopping small businesses, locally, where you have a connection to the owners, and with those who promote and encourage what is important to your life.

What have been some treasured gifts you have received? What categories do they fall into? Do you seem to have one dominant “love Language”? Or do you find you can speak multiple languages with different people?