Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas in "Ohmahoma"

On Friday the McManus Clan packed up and headed north to Muskogee, Oklahoma (Connor calls it Ohmahoma) The 4 hour drive took us almost 6 because of a horrible traffic jam and a much needed stop to stretch our legs. The boys did great considering that is the longest they have had to be in the van. We stayed on the river on Granddaddy and Granny's boat.
The boys absolutely loved exploring the boat, riding on Granddaddy's golf cart, and throwing rocks into the water.

On Saturday the cold weather came earlier than expected. So we took the boys up to Granddaddy and Granny's church and let them run around the gym. The played basketball, soccer, hula hoops, and just ran around. It was a great idea since they are used to a bigger area than what is on the boat. Afterward we had lunch and stopped by the mall.

Saturday night we went to see Christmas lights at the local garden. You drove through it and saw lot's of beautiful lights including some moving Christmas scenes. After that we drove through the largest collection of Christmas inflatables. It was totally cool and I wish I could have recorded Bryce's reaction every time he recognized a character, it was adorable. Our last stop was the "Christmas Castle" filled with goodies, more decorations, a real "father Christmas, the Grinch, and other renaissance characters.

Our sleeping quarters. Adam and I slept on one bed, Connor on the other, and Bryce in the middle. The boys loved sleeping in the same room together and giggled the first 30 minutes every time we put them to bed.

On Sunday we got up, braved the 10 degree weather, and went to church. The boys had a great time. Connor walked right into his class and starting playing with another boy. Bryce (who I was worried about) overheard the teacher ask if it was okay if he had donut-holes for snack and walked right in without so much as a wave goodbye. That kids loves his food.

The trip was a great success. The boys had a blast and on the drive home completely zonked out for over 2 hours.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Devotion

Ooooh Christmas I just love Christmas, don’t you? I mean celebrating the birth of our Savior, and every year it just feels like everyone’s heart is just in a different place around Christmas. I love the Christmas songs right? O Holy Night, Silent Night, Away in the Manger, and The First Noel. I love the story itself; faithful and scared Mary and Joseph, giving birth in a manager, (ok that doesn’t sound so glamorous), the angels singing and praising His name, the bright shining star to show everyone the way, the shepherds and kings, and garland, and Christmas lights, and mistletoe, and presents, and Frosty the snowman, and Rudolph and of course Santa. Alright I might have added a little there, but isn’t that how it is each year. We always start with such good intentions about celebrating Christmas right, with Christ as the center. But we get sucked in by all the beautiful decorations and food and trees and stockings and to-do lists and parties and shopping and traffic and driving and traveling and and and. Before we know it were sitting at the Christmas Eve Service, if we even make it and we find ourselves convicted that once again this Christmas season was like every other. I want us to make these year different. My prayer is that God breaks our heart to see what Christmas is really about. I pray we fall on our knees and remember why this night was so important.

I hear so many of us refer to the birth of Christ as the beginning of the greatest story of told. That statement is false, Christmas is not the beginning of the greatest story ever told. After all let’s see where the Christmas story is found in the Word. Ah Ha right here in the middle, but wait if this event is the beginning of the story then what about all of this. What about the Old Testament, is it just a fancy introduction written by some other authors? A little bit of the Israelite’s history or maybe some would say it is the history of Jesus’ descendants. Ha we have been studying these books for months now and I believe that they are so much more. I believe that when we started this study in Genesis that that was the true beginning of the greatest Love story ever told.

Some have trouble connecting the two books. When we say that the same God who destroyed generations for disobedience is the same loving God who gave His son for all of humanity to some it makes no sense. Many don’t like the God of the Old Testament, we instead love the stories of the gracious, forgiving, merciful, sacrificing, God of the New Testament. It is hard for some of us to see the God of the Old as the same God of the New. I know that I had struggled with this.

Let me be honest the God of the Old Testament scared me at times, I mean destroying cities, killing his people with snakes, punishing generations for sins of their fathers, a man being eating by a fish, the list goes on. There are times where I just go huh? What we see in the Old Testament many times is the holiness of God. Holy is a hard word to define, how would you define it? Belonging to or derived from or associated with a divine power is the way the dictionary tries to explain it. But even after reading that definition, I go what? Holy is God. It is his character and his being. It is just God.

Then we have the God of the New Testament, still of course the same one and only God. But we get another picture of him. We get his “love”, the love that is willing to sacrifice his only son. I picture the moments I had when I first gave birth to my sons and let’s just be honest, there is no way. There is no way I could sacrifice my baby boys for a bunch of sinners, who may or may not accept me. But God did. His love for us is so big that he was willing to do just that. He is love and is willing do anything for my love.

So how do we wrap our little minds around a God who is Holy and a God who loves us so much. Some don’t want to know a God as Holy as He is. Some are not willing to accept the amount of love God is willing to give. And yet God made it so easy to see the perfect picture of His Holiness and Love together. He gave us Jesus. Jesus, that cute little baby we celebrate every year is the key. He is the Holiness of God and the Love of God, together as one! So here we are this Christmas trying so desperately to keep Christ as the center of it all. Well it starts here. It starts in our heart. It is impossible to think that we phase out all the distractions in our everyday life when our hearts are not right. So I challenge you today, to take a heart check. Where are you and God? Were there times this year where you didn’t believe in the depth of God’s love? Were there times this year you made God small and minimized his true Holiness?

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Santa "Clause"

I recently read and responded to a friend's thread about Santa Clause and how everyone does it? The big issue for Brent, the original author was that he never wants to lie to his daughters. As Christians we try daily to model, teach, and share the love of Christ with our children. Our ultimate goal being that one day they decide to accept Jesus into their heart and make faith in Christ their very own. If we explain to our children that Santa is a real dude year after year and then one day have to confess that he isn't, do we lose valuable trust we try to build with our children and make it harder for them to understand why God is real? Hear is how I responded.....

Hey Brent,
I liked your thread and thought I would share what we believe and practice. I do believe in telling children the truth, but I always keep it appropriate to their age. When Connor asks me, Where do babies come from?, I will give the truth, but not the whole truth. I will tell him what is appropriate for a 3 year mind, not let’s say what Adam will explain later to him when he is 10. With that in mind, we tell Connor that there was a man called Santa Clause or St Nicholas, who loved Jesus just like we do. He loved Jesus so much and loved the gift that he was, that he gave gifts to children who needed them. He loved people because God first loved us. So each year when we celebrate Jesus’ Birthday on Christmas, we also celebrate a man who had a faith so strong that he loved people. We give gifts to those whom we love, give gifts to those in situations not a good as our own, and most importantly we thank God for the best gift of all, Jesus. Does Connor get that all yet? No way, but one day I hope that he sees how fun it was to see Santa each year, but also understands that we remember a man who once lived and gave so much to others simply because he loved Jesus. In the future during family devotions around Christmas we will celebrate others like St. Nicholas/Santa Clause who loved God, loved people, and loved the world.

What do you think?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Family Pics

Every year I "torture" my family and make them all sit still, dress up, look at the camera and smile. I don't ask for a lot, but I need a family picture each year it is just my thing. This year we had Keegan, one of Adam's coworker come over and take them for us. We actually got some good shots. Stay tuned and check your mailboxes I designed my own Christmas Card this year. Enjoy!
The money shot! Everyone smiling and looking at the camera!
Sweet Brothers!
My two men!
Bryce and Moma

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving with Adam's parents; Granddaddy and Granny this year. Rhonda made a fantastic dinner since I was running to the bathroom most of the day. Connor had a special job this year, which was to decorate the name tags. He was very proud of his work's of art.

Bryce waiting for the show to begin!

We got Disney on Ice tickets for us, Adam's parents, and our great friends the Minter family. We all had a blast. Connor loves anything Disney and this show had; the Incredibles, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, and a Parade. When I asked him which part was his favorite he said the Pirates, the robots, and the spiders(there was no spiders but there were webs during the Haunted Mansion number, Connor saw the webs and just put the two together.) Bryce danced on Granny and Granddaddy's laps 3/4 of the show and fell asleep during the last two numbers. Connor has not stopped talking about Micky on Ice. What a great night!

Saturday we went to Ikea and bought one of Connor's Christmas presents; his new BIG BOY BED! He loves sleeping on the top bunk and playing in the "fort" on the bottom. My big boy is growing up so fast!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...