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Christmas Devotional by Guest Podcaster, Jan L. Burt. Episode 118

CLICK HERE to listen to Episode 118 A Christmas Devotional for Your Mom Heart by Guest Jan L. Burt

Jan was kind enough to also make write a devotional blog post for us as well. So, MERRY CHRISTMAS, my mom friends, from Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM and from guest Jan L. Burt...

My name is Jan L. Burt and I am so honored to be part of Val's continual ministry and encouragement to moms. The Practically Speaking MOM truly is a blessing to so many, isn't it? Today I just wanted to share a Christmas devotional with you, and I hope it blesses and refreshes you right where you are at, today, as a mom. When our children were younger, each Christmas we would read the second chapter of the book of Luke from the Bible as part of our nightly Advent celebration. Our kiddos had their nightly candy from their Advent calendars and we had a variety of little fun things we would do each night, but the primary focus was on reading God’s Word. Advent is, after all, about Jesus coming to earth as a baby. And Luke chapter 2 details that amazing event. We followed a simple plan - on December 1st, we would read Luke 2, verse 1. On December 2nd, we read Luke 2, verses 1 & 2 and so on through all 21 verses of the Christmas story. For the last few nights leading up to Christmas, we would review all 21 verses (and we often had events - Christmas caroling, some type of a party to attend, and the ice skating show that our children were often a part of, for example - which meant there were a couple of evenings in December when we missed Advent due to not being at home). We easily fit the 21 verses into our schedule and it truly is one of our children’s fondest memories when they look back through the years. In fact, I doubt any of them will ever be unable to recite the entire Christmas story when it is read aloud. What a great benefit for them to carry all the days of their lives as a result of something we did as a family each December. In addition to having this passage committed to memory as a family, a few things have stood out to me over the years - as will happen when we read and re-read a particular portion of Scripture time and again. Could I share some of those things with you today? Verse 6 says that while Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem to be counted, registered and taxed by the Roman government, something happened. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born. And of course, we know from verse 7, that there was no room for them at the inn. Could I encourage you today that even if there is a situation that is difficult (not that seems or feels or could be perceived as difficult - but that actually is difficult, as were the birthing arrangements for Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus) - even if there is a situation that is difficult occurring in your life, either now or in the future or perhaps something you remember from a time in the past that still smarts a bit, God knew the exact time that it would take place. He sees - He knows - He misses nothing. Isn't that comforting? When the time comes for something new in our lives, it may also coincide with there being no apparent room for said thing to occur. {"How does this fit into my life right now, Lord?", we may ask. "Is this really the right time? Did I miss something along the way - take a wrong turn, perhaps? How can this new thing come at this exact time, when there is seemingly no good place for it right now?" Ah, even though we know this story of the birth of our Lord Jesus so very well, we don’t always apply the overlap to our own lives. But we should! If the time comes for a new thing that the Lord God Most High begins to work out in our lives, and at the same time there seems to be no room for the new thing, or worse yet, no room for us to sit at the table with others as we go through this new experience, these changes and upheavals, when we most need to be seated at the table with others… right then, right there, don’t fail to remember Mary and Joseph. God had not abdicated His throne, and no detail of their life story, or of yours, was missed by the Lord. He knew this would be the way Jesus would enter our cold, sin-hardened world. And He also knows what you are dealing with. You may not have a seat at the table, a room in the inn, or the comfort of loved ones around you or other luxuries, when a new thing begins to be birthed in your life. But if God has ordained it that way, could it be that He has a desire to be close to you, closer than a brother, in this time? Could it be He has allowed this to happen at a time when the noise of life would be lessened in order that you would draw near to Him above all else? And if, by chance, those who come to celebrate and rejoice with you are not those you would have expected or invited - if, say, lowly shepherds come to give glory to God for what He has done - then maybe God has plans to bring great honor to Himself through the grand work He is doing in your life, even if it seems to be happening in obscurity.

What if obscurity isn’t always a bad thing? What if God has far bigger things planned than we could ever imagine? What if, this Christmas, you and I could remember that we are in good company when we find ourselves in this place. If this is how He chose to bring His only begotten Son into the world to begin His redeeming work of salvation, could we rejoice as the shepherds did that God has chosen to let us birth new things in hard circumstances, too? And don’t forget, there is always room for you at the foot of the cross and in the throne room of grace, even when it seems as if there is no room for you at the inn. Now, in addition to talking about Luke chapter 2, I would really like to share one simple piece of advice with you this Christmas. Here it is - you ready for it? Give yourself permission to enjoy your life, all the varied aspects of it, right where you are this Christmas season. For every mom listening, enjoy your life right here, and right now. I can tell you for certain that you will not be out of God’s will in any way, shape, or manner when you take joy in the life that He has given you. Of course you know that - but sometimes it is so good to be reminded of it. Be joyful always, the Apostle Paul instructs us. Rejoice in the Lord always. Not just at Christmas, to be sure. But most certainly at Christmas we should take great joy in our Lord. In light of the unique and complex circumstances this year, which may have caused gifts to not arrive on time, food options to be abnormal, ingredients unavailable, give yourself the grace that the Lord offers to you. Whether or not it is a Pinterest perfect Christmas, whatever the lay of the land may be for you this year, my friend, this Christmas podcast episode is intended to ease your stress, grant your permission to rest, and let the blessings the Lord has for you, dear mama, fall upon your life as you enjoy the peace only Jesus can give. One of the greatest things we will ever learn to do as mothers is this: Give yourself permission to enjoy your life. Specifically this December, I want to implore you to allow yourself to fully enjoy the Christmas season, no matter what is transpiring around you. Could I share with you the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas carols? I think it serves as a great reminder of the peace and joy we so need this Christmas. "God rest ye merry, gentlemen Let nothing you dismay. Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day. To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy! O tidings of comfort and joy!" "In Bethlehem, in Israel this blessed Babe was born. And laid within a manger upon this blessed morn. To which His mother Mary did nothing take in scorn. Refrain From God our heavenly Father a blessed angel came; And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same; How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name. Refrain "Fear not, then," said the angel "Let nothing you affright; This day is born a Savior of a pure virgin bright, to free all those who trust in Him from Satan's power and might." Refrain The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind. And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind. And went to Bethlehem straigt'way this blessed Babe to find. Refrain And when they came to Bethlehem where our dear Savior lay They found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay. His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray. Refrain Now to the Lord sing praises, all you within this place. And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace; this holy tide of Christmas all others doth deface. Refrain God bless the ruler of this house and send him long to reign. And many a merry Christmas may he live to see again; Among your friends and kindred that live both near and far - Refrain That God send you a happy new year, happy new year. And God send you a happy new year."

I take great comfort in remembering that nothing ought to dismay me ~ Christ my Savior was born on Christmas day to save me from Satan's power when I was gone astray. I give to you these tidings that you, dear mother, might grab ahold of God's comfort and joy which He so freely offers to you this Christmas. Enjoy your life right here, right now, and take time to revel in, to bask fully in, the great love the Father is even today lavishing upon you . You are doing a good work for His Kingdom as you train up your children in the way that they should go. You, my friend, are allowed to fully and truly enjoy your life. Merry Christmas & God send you a happy new year! Jan L. Burt author of "The Power of God's Will - 40 Days of God's Promises Devotional" & host of The Burt (Not Ernie) Show podcast
To connect with Jan and her podcast:

Thank you, Jan, for sharing from your heart with us this Christmas!!

NEXT WEEK on the Practically Speaking MOM Podcast Guest Host Katie Waalkes of Life in the Mundane! We will look at parenting middles and teens!!



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