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December 2019

Making Space for Jesus - December Newsletter

Hello Fellow Encouragers!

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? December – so soon!  Oh, my. A wonderful season. A stressful season. So, I'll put this question out there. Are you making space for Jesus?

Oh yeah, Jesus.

Sometimes, He gets lost in all the hub-bub.

I wasn’t raised on Jesus as the reason for the season. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties I awakened to the richer, fuller meaning of Christmas. A Christmas where Jesus dominated the focus. As the years have gone by, my wonder at the birth story, and my familiarity with the narrative, has dulled my appreciation of the truth wrapped in swaddling cloths. Jesus changes my status.

Jesus changes our status

“But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.” (1 Peter 2:9-10, The Message Bible)

His birth marked a change in my status, in your status, with God. We are chosen to be holy servants sharing hope and love.We are called to share God's unique brand of love, especially during this season as many feel loss and loneliness more acutely.

We are chosen, called, and distracted. The activities and stress captures our attention. Because of all of this, we need to intentionally make space for Jesus.

Are you wanting to inject more wonder into your heart during advent? If so, let yourself be filled with wonder and reverence for the birth of Christ by asking Holy Spirit to fill you to overflowing. 

Holy Spirit will respond and lead you in the proper direction.

During December, I'm intentionally fighting the urge to  mindlessly wander without wonder through the holiday season. I'm choosing to narrow my focus to the birth of Christ via the Nativity. For several years, I’ve made it a habit to place the Nativity in a distinct location separate from the other Christmas decorations. Each evening before I head to bed, I linger in front of the Nativity allowing only the glow of the Christmas tree to cast light upon it. It’s a solemn, sacred space for remembrance. It's a dedicated time to dwell on God’s gift of Jesus and Mary’s willingness to be a servant.

How might you dedicate a few quiet, peaceful moments before the nativity? Consider lingering before the Nativity imagining the scene, making yourself an observer. What do you see in your mind's eye? What questions come to mind? Let yourself wonder over the birth and life of Jesus. I invite you to join me as I challenge myself to create a sacred space for and with Jesus. Praising the Lord, Terri


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 3 Book Reviews and Awesome Gift Ideas

Book #1

The Weekly Prayer Project: This journal is specifically for praying, reflecting, and connecting with God. The book is set up for 52 weeks and it’s divided into seven sections: Requests, Gratitude, Lament, Intercession, Faith, Repentance, and Awe. You can journal by the sequential weeks or you can select a section. Or, you can mix it up selecting a week at random. 

The hardcover book is beautifully illustrated and costs $16. Each week contains a verse, a brief narrative to set the focus, and writing prompts or questions. The pages are of substantial thickness allowing it to become an art journal, if desired.

My friend, Sarah, gave me this book while I supported her during her book launch. I love to journal so it delighted me when I found the pages allowed me to use my ultra-fine Sharpie pens.

Book #2

Blessed: A journal for the highly creative soul is a fun book with space to color, write, sketch, and doodle. There are wonderful prompts and verses throughout to encourage your creative self to spill onto the pages. This hardcover book is $13.

My friend, Coleen, surprised me with this gift, and I often look forward to sitting down with it at the end of my workday.

Book #3 

EXCITING NEWS! My dear friend, Beth Steffaniak, has published on Amazon a great book for the Advent Season called Messiah in a Manger.

Click on the book title above and it will take you to Amazon. The paperback is $6.99 and $2.99 on Kindle. Check it out! Below, you'll find a description of the book as written on Amazon:

The most inspiring story ever—Christ's birth, based on the gospel of Luke—is examined and explored in this ten-day study. Beth uses her signature W.O.R.T.H.Y. Bible study method to go deep where other Bible studies and devotionals often stay shallow or cover too much ground in one day's reading. Not only will you learn how to use this powerful Bible study method from reading and watching Beth glean the Scriptures, but you'll also gain incredible insights from the research she pours into every day's worth of notes. You can use this study in your own Bible study time, as a daily devotional that you and your spouse/family can discuss and/or with your church's small group ministry.

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   Closing Notes

I’ve kept the newsletter short for December as we’re all crazy busy. For those of you wondering, the Hearts Encouraged Private Facebook Group is slated to start in March (maybe sooner). The content will be short to include quotes, Scripture, challenges, and action cues all to help us grow closer to the Lord. My desire is to create community with you to support and encourage. I’m creating the posts now and it's slow going because I'm listening to the Lord for the content. If God's in the messages, then we'll be more richly blessed by the words. Thank you so much for reading and your encouragement!

Loving Jesus,