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    Getting to Bethlehem: The birth plan and how God worked out the details

    On the video blog this week, I am reading one of my all time favorite daydreams (Week 4 Day 1).  What if Mary and Joseph knew that their baby was supposed to be born in Bethlehem?  Did they talk about this prophesied birthplace for the Messiah?  Did they think they should make preparations to go there?   I hope that you can take some time to listen in to how God worked out every single detail of their birth plan. Christmas is just around the corner. Let’s keep making room to remember Jesus together … Do you still have wrapping to do? I do.  As we  wrap gifts, let’s remember that…

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     One of the lovely and unexpected gifts of writing Wrapped in Grace has been getting to share this favorite season and familiar story with friends, both new and old. Every fall I fly from Phoenix to Grand Rapids to spend a week with my family, attend the Breathe Writers Conference, eat apples and donuts with my nieces and nephews, and to experience fall as it is supposed to be.  It is always super busy. We have a big family and we never get to do everything we would like to, but we savor the moments and fill every day to the brim.  I love that this week is scheduled into my…

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    Peace and Hope

    I love the lights and the music, and children dressed in bathrobes and angel wings for their Christmas pageants. In our new neighborhood, just around the corner, busloads of people come to look at an entire street decked with  lights and decorations.  The backyard of one house is set up to resemble a walk through Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born. December has been a time of joyous anticipation, but the reality for many of us, is that it has also been a season of navigating hard places. The eternal and true God really became flesh and blood, not for only for our celebrations, but also for our heartaches. I want to carefully enter the upcoming weekend , aware and…

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    Prepare Him Room

    Prepare Him Room Hi friends! This post is part of a blog hop for Advent. At the end of my post you’ll find links to some wonderful blogger friends who want to help you prepare Him room. Take some time to read them all. You will be encouraged. A Manger in the Middle of a Family Reunion I am learning that welcoming Jesus is less about perfect preparations and more about scooching over. My sister Karen and I start talking sometime in September about simple Christmas recipes and scheduling well for the upcoming holidays. We long to stay focused on what really matters, but even the best-laid plans sometimes get…

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    Advent Begins Today

    This is the kind of year I dream about.  The very earliest date to begin the season of  Advent is November 27th, and 2016 is a November 27th year.  It won’t happen again until 2022,  We have four whole weeks to anticipate the coming of Jesus.  Four weeks to prepare and ponder the miracle of the manger. Let’s connect here often  during these next weeks,  and may this be our prayer: Let’s not let the season trump the Story. Let’s anticipate Jesus together. Let us allow the whisper of his name to cause us to breathe more deeply, to encounter again the absolute wonder of the story — That God became flesh.…

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    Uncle Bill

    May I introduce you to my dear Uncle Bill? He is a  painter, potter, and lover of God’s good story.  He has gifted his corner of Cleveland and the life of our family with beautiful pieces of art and the faithful prayers of one who lives and walks with Jesus. We talk a few times a month, and sometime in October he said, “Send me ten Wrapped in Grace books.  I’d like to give them away to my friends as gifts for Advent.”  Like I said … dear Uncle Bill.  Just last Saturday he left me a message that he had received the books and already has six people in mind to give them…

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    New Books are here!

    I know, I know – it isn’t even Halloween yet, and I am thinking about Christmas. True confession — I think about Christmas a lot. Partly because I love  everything about Christmas,  and partly because writing and editing a book so that you can have it before the season is in full swing, means I get to think about Christmas in July. (Which is really just a good excuse for me to do something I love.) One of my favorite things about the Christmas story is how God used ordinary people who were willing to say YES to him, to tell his story.  Mary was a teenage girl planning her wedding when God asked her…

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    Home for Christmas

    For most of my adult life, I have have lived many states away from my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. More often than not, it has not been feasible to make the trek home for Christmas to an unpredictably snowy state, thousands of miles away from where we live, with five kids in tow. The last time we did it (in 2002) we got stranded overnight on Christmas Eve about six hours from the first family stop, because of snowy and icy roads. Truthfully, it made for a fun family memory. We eventually saw all of the grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and had a blast. Over the years…

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    The Sound of His Name

    Settling on the perfect baby name may take all nine months. We make lists. We think about how a name will fit within our families. We want it to sound right; we want it to mean something.   For Mary and Joseph, naming the baby was a whole other story. Jesus.  A name chosen by God and made known to them through an angel. Go to the Advent Video page or click here to listen to Day One, Week Three: He Will Save His People from their Sins.   Dear Jesus, I love your name because:    

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    Grace chases us…

    ….regardless of our worthiness.  How lovely it is to celebrate a season that was shaped and formed by grace. From Week Two // Day Three: How is it going for you?  Jesus came to Bethlehem to show us what it is like to see grace walking around in a body.  He has bestowed grace on us so that we can offer it to others.  Who are the people in your world that could use a touch of grace this week? Who has blessed you with grace?