Heart Choices: Unwrapping Jesus -->

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Unwrapping Jesus


I'm jamming today with the Faith Barista.  We're sharing our Unwrapping Jesus discoveries.

My life has literally turned upside down in the past year.  Living in a temporary dwelling with boxes everywhere is a bit difficult. 

Christmas had been so organized in the past. 
  • I set up our tree with all the decorations the day after Thanksgiving. 
  • I'd shop throughout the year looking for special presents for family and friends on my long list.  I loved to find the perfect gift for each one and even loved wrapping them. 
  • The Christmas cards were signed and mailed. 
  • The menus were planned for Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and Christmas Day.

This was me several years ago.  I remember feeling so organized at the time.  Everything was in its proper place.

Every ornament was in place.  The fireplace was lit.  Greg and my stockings were hung.

I even created a Christmas card using this photo of our Christmas tree.

And then my life changed. 

I'm not buying a long list of presents.  In fact, I've not even set foot in a mall in quite some time.  I will send out a few Christmas cards using leftover ones from previous years.  I hope to make a few gifts and do a bit of  baking (if I can find my pans in the boxes in the garage).

But ...
  • I get to see the excitement in the eyes of the little children I'm teaching as they get to place ornaments on our class Christmas tree.
  • I get to listen to Christmas carols playing softly as the children take a nap after lunch on their mats.
  • I get to listen to their excited voices as they tell me what they want for Christmas.
  • I get to hear their sweet voices sing "Jingle Bells".
And in the midst of this Christmas ... I hear God's voice.

He whispers to me that He has a plan and a purpose for my life.  He promises to never leave me nor forsake me. 

And so I can celebrate Jesus. 

Unwrapping Jesus is:
  • A gift of His perfect love for me
  • The freedom He provides
  • The peace I can have with God
  • The gift of eternal life
After all, this isn't my permanent home.   I'm just passing through on my way to my home in heaven. 

God has changed my perspective and opened my eyes in new ways this past year.  And I am so grateful. 

As I celebrate Christmas this year, my focus will be on Jesus.  How about you?

Blessings and love,
Debbie Petras
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  1. Precious friend, I miss you while I took a few weeks offline and I appreciated your messages.

    I am celebrating Jesus with you dear friend. I love that you listed all the things you have faced through His grace and then the but...

    And it reflects all that you are able to celebrate in Him and that's what it's all about -- HIM.

    I've been very pressed in to the study When Life is Hard by James MacDonald which I recommend. It has given additional insight and further encouragement.

    I'm praying for you dear one and Greg. I love you.

  2. He whispers the same words to me. Isn't it amazing! A simple celebration is what we're looking forward to. Slow, quiet, and filled with Jesus.

  3. Yes, beautiful post and I love it that you feel so content in what is truly a celebration in your life. It's not about stuff. Thank you.

  4. This is a beautiful message, Debbie. Life is full of change. But God is always faithful. And Jesus remains the Gift.

  5. This was beautiful...thanks for sharing. I need to focus more on Jesus and less on my to-do list.

  6. Debbie! What a beautiful heart filled post! You are so beautiful inside out! I love you!

  7. This was a great post Debbie. And I am right there with you. This past year has brought GREAT change for many of us. How wonderful though isn't it that He remains the same? That His grace and mercy are new every morning YET His presence is constant? He is faithful. A gift just doesn't get any better than that. ENJOY this season. HUGS

  8. DITTO
    I love this Debbie, and I love where you are finding joy and the growth that has come to you 'in the midst of'...

    You said this beautifully!

    Love you!

  9. Debbie,
    You so beautifully illustrated the unchanging rock-solidity of Christmas that transcends the constant changeability of this earth life. Your expression of contentment and joy despite your personal changes is such an inspiring example to follow. Thank you!

  10. You have a great attitude, Debbie! I know that changes like the ones you have been through are difficult, but as you have said, your focus is on Jesus...and what a blessing that is! I pray that your Christmas this year is full of joy and Christ's love as you celebrate His birth.

    Living for Him, Joan

  11. Ah, there is nothing quite like seeing the beauty of Christmas the eyes and voice of children and finding Jesus in the simple truths of life. Beautiful post!

  12. You are so beautiful, Debbie, inside and out. I'm always so blessed reading all your posts. I'm thankful that 2011 is right around the corner for both of us, and even though 2010 has been difficult, it has been full of God's love. May your Christmas be a blessing to you and all those children you are with.

  13. This is a great reminder to us, Debbie, that it's not about being organized, it's about Jesus and the freedom He brings if only we have eyes to see in those hard times.


  14. I'm choosing to be content with less this year too. In fact, this year we've decided to not send out Christmas cards and it surprises me that I'm ok with that, being the real mail person I am. But we decided the money spent on cards and postage could go toward the things we support at church.

    We'll put up a tree this weekend and that's the extent of my decorating. Gifts are also being kept at a minimum.

    Without distractions we are able to see more of Jesus.

  15. I hear the echo of Apostle Paul's words in your post -- "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances..." Phil. 4:11

    Amazing you can put these two pictures of celebration and give encouragement with a a faith-filled heart. My Christmas wish for you is a very special Christmas touche with a memorable joy-filled moments with those you love around you.
    You are rich beyond measure.

  16. Rejoicing with you in our temporary home of Arizona and for eternity in our permanent home!

    Hugs to you sweet friend,

  17. I'm a fairly new reader here, so I am not familiar with all the changes that have taken place in your life this year. But it sounds like you've made good choices - to be thankful, and to focus on the good. God has been so faithful to me, and I know He will continue to be in the future - and to you, too!

    Blessings to you and yours this season as you remember the real reason we celebrate!

    Merry Christmas!

  18. What a lovely post. You are truly Blessed with Him.

  19. Thank you Debbie for sharing your heart with us. I praise GOD for how you seek JESUS and how faithful HE is!
    This has been a difficult year for so many, reminding me that life is hard but GOD is good...all the time.

    True Christmas blessings to you and yours. ((HUGS))

  20. The "perfect" Christmas comes in different forms at different times in our lives. I love the way you've embraced your new version.

  21. I love when God interrupts our lives and poses a question to our hearts. I totally agree with this "this isn't my permanent home. I'm just passing through on my way to my home in heaven." We put so much effort in making our lives here on earth so comfortable when we should be thinking about where we will be spending eternity.We are only a vapor-only here for a short time. Nice post!;)

  22. I've experienced many changes this past year as well. Yet even despite my losses, God has been faithful and has given me so much. I am truly celebrating with you in the JOY of our Savior's birth this Christmas!

  23. What a perfect post Debbie. I too have had so many changes in my life this past year & I can say I have grown so much in my faith and trust in the Lord in ALL things. I've been able to have complete peace even with no money & barely any groceries sometimes.

    But He always provides. He has stretched me to the point of breaking sometimes but when I turn to Him, I am full of His comfort and then can comfort others.

    My new motto is:

    Shine His light within you on those around you.

    Have a Blessed weekend!


  24. God is so faithful. This is a post that really spoke to my heart.

  25. Debbie, thank you for this timely post, it was such a comfort to me as I too have had such a change in my family environment since last Christmas.

    Looking at your tranquil pictures of your home on your previous Christmas, reminded me of how I felt this evening, as I dressed the Christmas tree with my two beautiful blessed granddaughters.

    My married daughter and her family had problems with rented accommodation in July of this year and the Lord led me to open up my house to the whole family. It has been a very tight squeeze and has been challenging at times.

    However, I continually ask my Heavenly Father for more grace, wisdom and faith for each situation, knowing that He is with me every step of the way.
    I am so glad that I serve a God that never changes and I am looking forward to celebrating the birth of our precious Lord.

    God Bless you more

  26. You continually bless my soul with your heartfelt entries.

    Oh, so glad this isn't my permanent home! Love your Unwrapping Jesus is: Yes, we can celebrate Jesus. And, really nothing else matters but this world would sure have us think that there is more that matters.

    Heavenly blessings to you Debbie!

  27. Debbie,
    You have so many comments that you surely do not need mine. But I wanted to add my heartfelt appreciation for your "attitude of gratitude".

    As someone who knows what it is to lose everything, I can sense your true heart in this. God bless you - Marsha

  28. I'm glad I stopped in today. You really know how to put things in perspective. Thank you, Debbie.

  29. Sometimes our circumstances help us see and hear what may have been there all the time. It's almost like when someone looses one of their senses, they experience things more vividly and clearly than those who can see or hear. Perhaps your circumstances are giving you new perspectives. You've always been a sweetheart, but God has given you new insights, deeper understanding. You are already using it to touch others, it will be interesting where He takes you next year. Love you.

  30. There is not much more I can add to the encouraging comments already shared, Debbie, but if I could, I would reach out and give you a hug and say "Thank you" again for sharing so honestly. Celebrating Jesus does help us all keep this "home" in perspective. He is my focus this year. also, and I find great joy sharing about Him with our grandchildren. Such a blessing!

  31. Dear Debbie...this was a special post to me today. I can totally relate to what you're saying here. More than you can ever know.
    Hope that the Lord will continue to strengthen and encourage you as you in turn encourage others out here. Lots of love,

  32. This is so much like our Christmas this year, and me in the past too... But it will be a special Christmas for both of our families because it's been God-designed this year - instead of perfectly planned and executed by us. Right? :-)

    Love you~


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