Remembering to Make Room

Standing at the beginning of December, I’m already seeing very full days when I look at my calendar.  The joy and excitement of the Christmas season can often be matched equally with busyness, and busyness quickly leaves little room for anything else.  

We find packed calendars instead of leaving room for quieting ourselves.  We find ourselves wading deep in stress instead of leaving room for peace.  We begin drowning in parades, lights, parties, baking, Santa, holiday movies and Christmas shopping, instead of leaving room for being still and remembering why we are celebrating.  We can easily find ourselves doing so much, yet not remembering to intentionally make room for the One who we are celebrating this season.

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Even on that very night when Jesus was born into this world, there was no room for Him.  As Mary and Joseph searched for a place to come in that night, they couldn’t find anyone who had room for them.  It wasn’t until an innkeeper finally made room that the Savior of the world was born.  We need to remember this season to make room for the most important part of Christmas: Christ.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in the manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” –  Luke 2:7

I’m a Christmas junkie and love all things Christmas celebration, lights, parades, parties, and all of the festivities.  In the same breath, I’m also a homebody: an introvert who not just likes her quiet and alone time but desperately needs it for sanity and de-stressing.  When I pull up my calendar and see something marked on nearly every box in the month of December, I can feel my stress levels rise without having even done any activities yet, despite how good and fun those activities would be.

When both my introvert-self and Christmas-junkie-self come hand in hand, it makes for a rather awkward marriage.  I imagine there are a number of you who resonate and understand exactly what I mean; the deep desire to do all the fun Christmas things (because despite the Christmas season being more than three weeks, it just doesn’t feel like enough time for it all!) and simultaneously the aching need to just curl up in the quiet of your home in front of the fire.  How do you do both and not sacrifice one for the other? How do you make room for what matters in this season?

For me to try to successfully do both, I’ve had to carve out specific time to quiet myself.  I already wake up earlier than my children for such a reason so this seems like a perfectly good time to be intentional with my heart, mind, and relationships in this Christmas season.  Women, if you’re like me, you’re the member of your family leading what activities get put on your calendar. With this also comes the responsibility of not tiring your family with so many activities that the proper room is not made for Christ.  We must not just be hopeful in trying to leave room for Jesus, but we need to intentionally make room.  

My morning quiet times are always dear to me but especially so in the Christmas season.  Sitting quietly in the soft light of the tree, with the fireplace raging, and a hot cup of coffee in hand makes for a beautiful and delightful quiet time.  Not just for the glamour and ambiance of the space but for the intentional room and rest I make in my heart during this otherwise busy time. For if I am not first pointing my own heart back to Jesus and clearing space for Him, how well can I lead my family’s activities to do the same?  

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Friends, I want to encourage you to intentionally make room for Christ this season.  Let the other noise quiet down and rest in praise and the knowledge that a Savior was born unto us, and God is with us. He made room for our names in his book of life and gave up his space in heaven to come down to redeem our broken world.   

“’Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’  All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet: ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’” Matthew 1:18-25


Kayla AndersonKayla Anderson is married (for better or for worse) to the one who she knows without a doubt that God created her to be companions with.  Together they have four young children, Ezekiel, Asher, Ellery, and Alder, and run a hand-crafted soap shop.  She is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom and is in a season of learning how to gracefully be the central point and glue of their family.  Thank the Lord that she has Him to look to for wisdom, guidance, and strength!  She loves reading in the quiet, early morning hours, decorating their sweet little home, writing has been part of her soul since she learned how to write letters, and her love of coffee runs deeper than her coffee pot.  You can find more from Kayla on her blog or Instagram.
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2 Lessons from the Magi (Plus a Free Printable)

It’s just turned December and I’ve already almost completed my Christmas shopping. I’m not normally so prompt in my shopping, but I’m not really a last-minute gift-giving gal either. I love choosing the gifts thoughtfully for my family and friends. It’s a reflection of my love for them.

The Magi’s ( also known as the wise men) gifts for Jesus were carefully chosen as well. In fact, they were a fulfillment of prophecy. Isaiah 60:6 says, “They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.” The time between this particular verse and the actual event was around 700 years later. Talk about living in anticipation.

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We have two profound lessons to learn from the Magi that will help us every day:

1. Come as you are.

 The Magi were Gentiles, and Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. This to be profound because it means come. Come as you are to Jesus. We are no longer held by Old Testament rules. Jesus came to Earth so that we no longer had to have someone enter into the highest temple for our behalf to worship God. We can come to Him, without reservation.

2. We offer our gifts as worship.

Gold, incense, and myrrh were of significant value. Gold was the metal of kings. Giving Jesus this precious metal was stating HE was the long-awaited King. Frankincense was used in temple worship, and giving Jesus this gift meant the Magi saw Jesus as the High Priest (who ultimately connects us to the Father, God). Finally, myrrh was the gift I find to be most intriguing. It was used for embalming bodies. The Magi foreknew this small child would one day embark on death, the greatest death of all. Their precious, symbolic gifts were humbly given to Jesus, the King, the fulfillment of prophecy. 

As we give our presents to others this Christmas, may we be thoughtful. We may not be taking our gifts to the feet of the Savior but we do love others as a way to show our love for Him. May we offer our trinkets of love, but also the gifts within us. as worship to our Holy King.

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Click here to get your free printable of Matthew 2:11

Jesus came to Earth, born of a Virgin, lived fully as man for thirty-three years, died on the Cross, was buried in the grave three days, and rose again. He is the greatest gift of all. Won’t you receive Him this Christmas season?


Sarah DohmanSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globetrotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah on her blog or on Instagram.

Finding Purpose in the Pain of Christmas

Author: Karly Grant

Christmas. For some, that word brings feelings of excitement, glee, celebration, and magic. For others, that word invokes grief, dread, lost hope, or sadness. Or maybe you find yourself at a crossroad of all these emotions like I do? No matter where you find yourself this holiday season, I want you to know that you are seen, you are heard. The One who we remember and celebrate this season cares so deeply for you, about the real you and your emotions, more than you can ever imagine.

I am the first to get excited when Christmas decorations start going up, music with jingle bells starts playing, and Hallmark publicizes their list of new cheesy movies. I literally squealed with excitement upon arriving at work one day to see that decorations had started going up. I love the magic of Christmas; the excitement, the beauty, the memories, the laughter, the family time.

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When I dig a little deeper beyond the surface aspects of the holiday season, that’s where the fairy tale ends. It is so easy to be reminded in this season of all the hopes, dreams, relationships, and people lost. It’s amazing how quickly, with just one thought, the feelings of cheer can switch to those of sadness.

For me, as well as many others, cheerful Christmas memories include estranged family members and people who have passed away. Where these losses are felt year-round, they can be especially hard during this time of year. It is difficult to gather with family and reminisce about the good ol’ days, when there is someone dearly loved that is not there to celebrate with you.

Another area of pain in this season comes in the form of unfulfilled hopes or dreams. We all have that perfect Hallmark picture in our minds of families gathered around the Christmas tree, caroling, festive parties, and happiness. While I love all of these things, nothing brings up thoughts of inadequacy or dreams lost for me as quickly as a holiday party. As a woman in my mid-30’s, I am reminded almost immediately upon arrival at such festivities of my singleness. I know it is never the intention of the people hosting the parties, but I quickly notice the seemingly happy couples and feel left out of a part of the cheer.

I always dreamed of being a happy family. I looked forward to the day that my husband and I would stay up all night assembling gifts, only to be awoken too early by our children and relish in the joy on their faces as they opened gifts on Christmas morning. The older I get, the less likely it is that I will get to experience this dream that I’ve placed on a pedestal and that hurts.

So the question remains, how do we find the balance between the cheer and the pain? How do we embark upon this season while keeping it real, but not allowing the enemy to speak lies that will either gloss over the pain with fake cheeriness or allow ourselves to have a pity party that brings gloom to the whole season? For me, I’ve found the answer is in Advent.

Advent is a season recognized by some churches that leads up to celebrating the birth of Christ. It is not something prescribed in the Bible as something that Christians must do, but something that I have found helpful in the last couple of years. As a child, my great-grandmother used to give me an advent calendar. I looked forward to opening up a window every day in December and eating the waxy piece of chocolate hiding behind the yuletide art. As an adult, I find the depth of diving into the words of God so much more fulfilling.

Last year was the first year that I purposely focused on the season of Advent. I did it imperfectly and missed some days, but it was definitely helpful to remember how much God loved me and to combat the lies that Satan brings during this season.

Last year during advent I focused on the word “joy” and even bought a little nativity set with this word prominent among the display of the manger. It was a year of hope as I looked forward to what I thought was ahead. I thought it would potentially be the last holiday season with my family for a while. God had another plan, but that’s another story. Joy is not the same as happiness. I still felt the pain of the hard times, but I knew that I had true joy because of the baby in the manger and the sacrifice that He made.

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This year, I still have the nativity set on display in my window sill, but as I look forward to the advent season, my word is “intentional.” I am going to intentionally spend time in the Word of God, intentionally focus on being real with Him in my prayers. Hard times will come. Emotions will come, but as I dive deeply into God’s Word and remember the truth of why we have so much to celebrate this season, I will be intentional about not allowing the lies of the enemy to overtake me or lead my thoughts down a road that only leads to destruction.  I pray that this year people will see the joy that comes from Christ as I am intentional about celebrating Him, even amongst the hard times, as I try to live out the words of 2 Corinthians 10:3-5:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”


Karly Grant headshotKarly is a single 30-something who is striving to follow Jesus and trust Him in every situation. She can be found with a cup of tea or a good beer in hand while cozied up with a good book or enjoying a laugh with family or friends. God has her on a wild journey, but she is willing to trust Him.

Hope for the Dark Days of Christmas

Christmas has always been one of my most favorite times of year.  In the middle of the darkest months of winter, we decorate with lights, bright colors, and cheer.  If there is reason to be sad, we can effectively hide it behind joyous carols and celebratory gift giving.

And yet, for many, Christmas is a deeply painful time.  Well-meaning celebrations become reminders of what’s lost and broken.

When finances are stretched there are few reminders as bold and blaring as Christmas time sales.  When a loved one has been stripped from your arms, few reminders are as painful and stabbing as the Christmas time merriment.  When you’re emotionally or spiritually lost, Christmas seems more a mockery to pain than a gift from God.  When your family is broken, family gatherings, or lack thereof, can allow a dark loneliness to set in.

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The lives we live are often surrounded by hardship and the  resulting damp, thick fog of sorrow can press in and easily take hold during the “most wonderful time of year.”

When I was a girl, I was always the first to object if the Christmas decorations had not been pulled out as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey had cooled.  Even as a child, one of the most beautiful things in the world to me was staring at the bright colors of Christmas as they broke through the darkness with a sense of hope and belief in something better.

I still live by that hope.  Even when life is hard and I lament the way things are, I can’t shake the hope and deeply seeded belief that the light always breaks through the darkness.

Right now, things are hard.  There are so many things threatening to dampen the joy of the season or snuff out the light in my heart.  But, hope always persists.

Jesus came into a world full of darkness: Political darkness, spiritual darkness, and emotional darkness.  Many sorrows had been suffered by the people living in those turbulent times.  Much like today, people were divided and an underlying thread of anger, hostility and fear had threaded its way into the culture.

And where was God?

God had been silent for some 400 years.

But we make a mistake if we believe that silence is the same as distance.  God hadn’t left or forgotten his people.

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And on that night, so long ago, the light of a star broke forth into the darkness and an infant took his first earthly breath.

Hope.

The beauty of Christmas isn’t a promise that life will always be what we wanted.  The beauty of Christmas is the belief that wrong doesn’t get to win; it’s the hope that no matter how bad it hurts or how difficult it is right now, that darkness doesn’t get the last word.  There is hope for healing and hope for betterment and hope for our souls.  There is hope for eternity and hope for our futures.

There is Christmas hope when darkness reigns.

Look up!

Lift up your head and see.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

That is what we celebrate.

That is what we celebrate when there is nothing else.  That is what we celebrate when everything else hurts.

We celebrate the hope of Christ and the hope that God hasn’t given up on us yet, even if he does seem silent for a time.

We celebrate the hope that what’s broken can be fixed.

We celebrate the hope that God is in the redemption business and the last page of our stories hasn’t been written yet.

Because Christmas is all about hope; hope that what’s lost will be found.


Jacqi Kambish

Jacqi Kambish is a Christian mom to three spirited children striving to balance the daily demands of parenting a child with special needs and meeting the needs of typically developing siblings while working full time and writing.  She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Bible Theology and Youth Ministry from William Jessup University.  Jacqi lives with her family in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and enjoys reflectively writing about parenting, faith, and the joys and trials of life while leaving her readers with hope and encouragement.  Her blog The Presumptuous Ladybug can be found at and you can connect with her on Facebook.