Mourning, the Gospel and Joy

There is much to mourn these days. Tears. Pain. Prayers. Groanings.

And as I mourn, I am seeking the heart of God. Knowing He is still good. Knowing He is still God. Knowing that even as we struggle with evil acts, sin, pain, suffering, we are about to celebrate the moment our Savior clothed himself in flesh and felt what we feel. He felt what we feel. He wept. He hurt. And Christmas is about that- the moment He became our High Priest who can identify with us. This is the Gospel.

"When we consider all that Scripture teaches about God and evil, we are led inextricably to the gospel: the good news that God has taken the very worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the world (the death of His Son) and He has turned it into the very best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world (the salvation of sinners). Evil is tragically real, God is supremely great, God is absolutely good, and the gospel is shockingly glorious." ~David Platt

And because God is supremely great, absolutely good and the Gospel glorious, then even when we mourn, we can have joy and proclaim His goodness, even as we cry, through the avenue of thanks.

"Giving thanks is that: making the canyon of pain into a megaphone to proclaim the ultimate goodness of God when Satan and all the world would sneer at us to recant... Never doubt it, wondering world: Even if the tail still rampages, the snake’s head is crushed...
To solely spend our attention on evil pays homage to Satan... In the face – no, the tail – of evil, in spite of everything, there are bold songs still, still." ~Ann Voskamp

This weekend, even as I've mourned, I've also given thanks.

On Saturday night, I went on a date with my oldest son. We've had it planned for a while now, but what a joy it was on that day of all days. He is 6 years old and in 1st grade. And we had a very sweet night together. We've been learning about Tchaikovsky in school. We read the story of the Nutcracker and listened to selections of the music. And our curriculum suggested going to see it, if we could. So, I got tickets for Caleb and I to see the York County Ballet's production of the Nutcracker on Saturday night. We went out to dinner, got hot chocolate and coffee from Starbucks and then enjoyed the ballet. I loved every minute. He is a joy. I am so grateful

601. date night with caleb

 On Saturday morning I woke up and found this on the back porch.

We have a secret pal giving us gifts this Christmas! I have no idea who it is. The boys are thrilled! They have loved the anticipation each day. On Saturday evening I heard a loud sound at the front door and found this

Then last night I got this tweet: "On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me.... go check your mailbox! @carriesfamily @jacklikescoffee." That's right, our secret santa has a twitter account! I checked to see who they are following to see if I might discover who it is (the mystery is killing me even though I love it!). They are following Santa, Rudolph, Buddy the Elf and me and Jack. Ha! Here's what I found in the mailbox

What a joy-filled, anticipation filled, fun weekend we've had thanks to our mystery friend.

602. secret blessings filled with laughter and anticipation

On Sunday we went to church and then out to lunch at Cookout, as we always do. After I got our food and got our crew settled with our lunch, an older gentleman in the booth behind me asked me if they were all mine. I told him with a smile, that yes, they are all mine. And he told me they were precious, and I heartily agreed. As we were finishing our lunch, that kind stranger and his wife came over and handed me a $20 bill and told me to take my kids out for a treat. The boys showered him with thanks and I cried. What kindness. I was so very touched.

603. the kind heart of a stranger

A sweet friend gave me a very thoughtful gift at church on Sunday. She made me a mug with a list of some of my 600 gifts that I have recorded thus far on it. It is beautiful. And so personal. And I cried.

604. a mug of thanksgiving

And my two sweet college girls came over last night and we watched Pride & Prejudice and snuggled on the couch. And one gave me a sweet, sweet note of thanks.

605. girl time
606. kind words on a christmas card

And Sunday I dressed my little princess in a hot pink tu-tu and she found a necklace and put it on all on her own. I could have just eaten her up.

607. little fashionista

We've spent the past few days without Jack with lots of things to stay busy, help the time pass, and experience some joy. What fun we've had.

608. icing covered faces

609. children's  museum imaginations

610. cell phone photos from jack and to jack

611. early morning snuggles

612. starbucks and donuts

613. josiah reading words- the triumph in his eyes!

614. animal ornaments

615. christmas books


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