A Year of Smiles – Day 349: The SMILES of Christmas

Adobe Spark (7)

Christmas SMILE #15 (Reason to SMILE #349): THE SEASON OF GIVING

What do you want for Christmas?

That tends to be the question we hear this time of year, especially when talking with children. It’s part of the whole season. I love to hear little children rattle off their Christmas lists. Their eyes sparkle. Their faces glow and their bodies wiggle with excitement. Mom and dad, on the other hand, may not share in their child’s excitement as the list tends to go on and on and on.

Children always have an answer to “What do you want for Christmas?”. In fact, most people can come up with something. However, when my husband asks this question of me, I never seem to be able to answer. I’m not sure why. It could be because I don’t want him spending any money on me. I’d rather we spend our money on the boys. But I have no problem spending our money on gifts for him (which drives him crazy, by the way) so money can’t be my excuse.

Maybe I can’t answer because I’m not a decision maker. Of all the wonderful things in the world, it’s possible I simply can’t choose. If you take into consideration my problem with choosing what I want to eat in restaurants, it seems quite clear that my decision making skills could be the issue. There are too many yummy foods offered. How can I choose just one? How about one of everything! 😉 That’s it! Maybe I want it all for Christmas.

Nah, that can’t be it. I don’t want everything.

I believe the reason I can’t tell my husband what I want for Christmas is I just don’t think about it. I’m busy trying to figure out what I’m going to give to everyone else! To me, giving is a huge chunk of the Christmas fun. Searching for the perfect gift for those I hold dear and packaging those gifts in brightly colored paper and bows is a joy. And nothing compares to seeing the SMILES on each recipient’s face or the tears in their eyes as they open their special gifts.

Shouldn’t giving be our focus at Christmas, anyway? After all, a gift is the reason for our celebration. In a manger more that two thousand years ago, a baby was God’s gift to the world – a baby that would give His own life to save yours and mine. That is why we give. We give because we have been given so much more than we deserve. We give because God gave to us.

What are you GIVING for Christmas?

Me? Well, at the moment, I’m giving the gift of salsa! 🙂


A Year of Smiles – Day 172



Wednesdays, I think, are my favorite day of the week because I get to have fun at Kids Central, the children’s ministry at my church.  Our biggest group of kids attend the mid-week activities and I love seeing each and every one of them.  Wednesday nights are jam-packed with music, skits, games, snacks, crafts and, of course, Bible study.  It’s organized chaos at it’s finest.  Did I mention how fun it is?

Tonight was no different. A whole lotta kids, a whole lotta chaos and a whole lotta fun.  But my SMILE actually came before the evening activities kicked off.  A sweet little girl, who had arrived early, walked up to me with a package of sorts and said, “I made this for you.” Anytime this happens, I can’t help but SMILE but as I opened her precious gift, my heart soared.  Check it out:

Hover over the pictures for a “translation”. 😉  There was a message on the inside of the main envelope (top right picture).  It says, “I love you and God is awesome and Jesus is awesome and you are awesome too and I wish church is every day. Good bye.”

This is a SMILE worth treasuring!


It’s Christmastime!

It’s Christmastime everyone!

Time to deck the halls –

Time to string the lights

‘Round the tree and on the walls.


It’s time to go a-wasselling –

Wasselling?  Hooray!

Don’t know what it is

But we’ll have fun anyway.


It’s time to join the bustle,

Time to shop the stores,

Time to wrap the gifts –

Wait! I need just one thing more.


Celebrations everywhere,

Yummy treats to eat,

Old friends to laugh with,

And memories, oh, so sweet.


Families all together,

Loved ones held so close,

Christmas is the time

That we truly love the most!


But the joy of this season

By all is not shared.

There are those burdened

By a heavy load of cares.


There are those who are hurting,

Those who have no hope,

Those who are hungry,

Those who cannot seem to cope.


Christmastime to these dear ones

Is just another day

To struggle all alone,

Not a time to sing and play.


They simply can’t comprehend

The reason that we sing.

Their woes are too great;

They think miracles silly things.


They’re searching for an answer,

Escape from their plight.

They’re holding back tears

As they kiss their kids goodnight.


Oh, it’s time we look around –

Open up our eyes

To a dying world

That thinks no one hears their cries.


Our lives are filled with plenty;

We’ve so much to give.

We’ve a Hope to share

With a world that longs for it.


It’s Christmastime, after all!

Time to spread the news,

Time to tell of Jesus

And His love for me and you.


It’s time to go a-serving!

Serving?  Yes, indeed!

Meeting needs of others –

What great joy and peace it brings!


So, let’s celebrate this season

Telling of His birth,

Giving unto others,

Spreading Hope and Love on earth.

Sing Like the Stars: Just Be You

Praise him, all his angels;

    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.

Praise him, sun and moon;

    praise him, all you shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heavens

    and you waters above the skies.

Psalm 148:2-4 (NIV)


The stars sing.  Did you know that?  I didn’t until recently and I was awed by this discovery.  The Lord is always faithful to reveal Himself and the wonders of who He is but oftentimes, I miss it because I am not paying attention.  Lately, I have attempted to make a habit of leaving my car radio off after I drop my boys at school in the mornings so I can spend the remainder of my morning drive talking with God.  And oh, how He has used that time!

While driving and praying, I saw beautiful trees swaying in the wind.  I saw the most glorious Oak tree with large, twisted branches jutting out and down toward the ground and then curling and stretching up ever so gracefully toward the streaming sunlight overhead and I came to a realization.  These trees don’t have to be anything but trees in order to please their Creator.  A tree does not have to look exactly like the tree growing next to it.  A tree does not have to cover the earth like the grass.  A tree does not have to expand and transform itself into a cascading mountain range.  A tree does not have to reduce itself to a dainty flower.  A tree just has to be a tree – exactly what God created it to be.  What an example for us humans, for the creatures that God created “a little lower than the angels”!

When I taught Sunday School, I often told the kids in my class that even the creatures on this earth praise God just by being what God created them to be.  A dog’s howl and a cat’s meow are beautiful music to the ears of their Creator.  A lion’s prowess, a woodpecker’s peck and even a caterpillar’s crawl all give glory and honor to the Giver of Life.  Oh, and the stars – I almost forgot the stars.  Not only do stars praise the Creator with their shine but they also create steady beats and varying tones that echo through the galaxies in a symphony of worship for God Almighty.  (How cool is that?)

So why do we want to be anything more than what God has created us to be?  Why do we strive to be the same as others?  God has wonderfully created us with a purpose in mind.  Each one of us has different talents, different capabilities and different characteristics that make us who we are.  Be who God created you to be.  Use the gifts and talents He has given you for His glory.  Take those characteristics that you think are quirky and weird and put them to use in fulfilling God’s purpose for you.  When you do, you’ll find that your life, just like the trees and the stars, will create a beautiful song of praise and honor for our Great and Loving Creator.