Friday, December 19, 2014

A Christmas Wish

The Advent season is a time to prepare our hearts for the coming of His son; the birth of His son Jesus Christ. We celebrate the promise of the Savior, both His birth and His return. 

What does His coming promise?

The Gospel of Luke tells us in 19:10: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” And in John 3:16, “God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life.

This Advent season I also reflect on the greatest picture we have of what Jesus did for us.  The ultimate sacrifice He made for us. 

He came to earth as man knowing He would go to the cross for our sins.
He knew His destiny.

For the past four years, on the second Saturday of December, I have joined an organization called Wreaths Across America to remember our fallen heroes and honor those who have served and continue to serve.

Throughout the country, this organization works toward placing a wreath on the grave sites of all the men and women who stood ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for us.

They raised their hand.
They stepped forward.
They came before us and said, “I am willing to die, for you.”

And many did die for us. They made the ultimate sacrifice.

They died for the hatred in this world because we choose not to love. Yet they choose a sacrificial love. They choose God’s kind of love.

Last weekend my husband and I placed wreaths together. We placed two wreaths. Before we placed the wreath we stood before the grave marker and said a prayer. We prayed for the family of the fallen hero. We prayed for them to know the sacrifices their loved one made have not been forgotten. They will always be remembered.

And we wept as we prayed.

My husband went first. With tears rolling down his cheeks he asked, “Why am I crying? I do not even know this man.” He continued to weep as he knelt down to place the wreath. He wept for the sacrifice this man was willing to make . . . for him.

This particular man – this hero – lived a life beyond his service but again, he stepped forward willingly. He was willing to die . . . for us.

Then it was my turn. I prayed. I wept. I knelt down and placed the wreath. We will never forget.

My wish for us all is, to remember. As you reflect on His coming, reflect also on the picture these heroes give of what Jesus ultimately did for us.

Yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate His birth. But He came for one reason. He came for a purpose. You were His purpose. We were His purpose.

Allow this truth to change you in a new way as you approach the New Year. Let it change how you love others. Strive for an agape love. Strive for His kind of love.

Many of us choose One Word for the year to focus on. I think my word for 2015 will be SELFLESS. Please, Lord, help me to place the needs of others above my own. Help me to love with Your kind of love. 

There are so many good words to choose.
Ultimately, He wants us to love one another.

Above whatever word you choose, may the real word on your heart be LOVE.

The Bible is all about love. It’s God’s love letter to us.

His greatest wish for us is this:

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” John 13:34-35 (Voice)

Choose love. Choose love over and over again.

To those brave men and women, you will never be forgotten.
To their families, they will never be forgotten.

To my husband and son, who stand willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, my pride and love for you overflows.

To you, I wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. May His love for you change you from the inside and out. Only He can perform the heart transformation we really need.

Let Him in.
Let Hope in. Let that Hope in. 
Let it change you.

God bless.

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  1. Beth,
    Simply beautiful...what a wonderful way to commemorate the loving sacrifice these soldiers made for that we could enjoy our freedom. Freedom to worship a Savior who also came as a sacrifice for us all. I love your word "selfless" for 2015...that is a great one to build your year upon! Joining with you in sharing His agape love with the world...
    With love and ((hugs)),

    1. Much love to you, friend. Your friendship has been such a blessing to me this year. xoxo

  2. Your call to truly love selflessly as we move toward Christmas and beyond is one that I wish to accept in my own life so others may see the light of Christ in me. I pray we may all be able to let God's love into our lives and in turn we share that hope with others and accept the call to live as God has planned.
    Beautiful post! May this Christmas be blessed and may God continue to lead you in your own life as you walk into the New Year with Him. Hugs my friend!

    1. Joining you in that prayer, Mary. Much love to you. Wishing you the most wonderful Christmas. (((hugs)))

  3. Oh, Beth...there are tears welling up as I read and look at the photos and remember the many, oh so many, who have fallen for me, my freedoms. I think of Arlington and the vastness of that sea of white markers with my parents there. Then I know and am humbled by the sacrifice my Jesus made for me and know that He loves me.
    Thank you to both you and your husband for doing this and for reminding us of the men and women who cared for this country and for Jesus Who loved us each so much. I am so grateful that your precious husband is home safely and is with you, doing this with you this year.
    You bless me, sweet girl.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    1. Linda, you and your family were in my thoughts the day we laid wreaths and as I wrote this post. Wishing you a Christ-filled Christmas. Much love. xoxo

  4. Everytime I stop here, I can just feel your love permeating your words. Tears welled here as well reading your words and seeing your pictures. God bless you, Dear Friend and Sister. Thank your husband and son for us as well. Love you.

    1. God bless YOU, Lauren. Thank you so much for your friendship. Much love. xoxo

  5. Tears welled up in my eyes too. What a beautiful memorial to those who have served our country. You could probably submit this for publication somewhere... :-)

    1. You are so kind, Betsy. Thank you! Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Blessings.

  6. What a lovely tribute (and beautiful pictures!) to our fallen soldiers, and also to our hero's today. They are all around us, and I pray for each and everyone one of them and am so thankful for their sacrifices and commitment. Your word for 2015 is just perfect Beth, and I know you will stay devoted and faithful with your generous heart! Love you sweet friend.....wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas filled with joy and God's amazing grace!

    1. Thank you, Denise, for your kind words. You always make me smile. There is such kindness and JOY in all you share. Merry Christmas to you. Much love. xoxo

  7. How beautiful. Thank you for sharing your experience and your heart!

  8. Love these wreaths. And that you and your husband got to pray together over the graves. May we always remember the sacrifices others made for us. Including yours and your husbands. Thank you! May you have a blessed Christmas.

    1. It was a very moving morning, Lisa. It's a tradition I am so glad we have established. Wishing you a Merry Christmas. Blessings. xoxo

  9. Beth, as always, I am deeply moved by your words. I love the wreath project. A couple of years ago, my husband and I had a chance to visit the traveling Vietnam Wall - a replica that tours the US. My husband was eligible for the draft in the early 70's, but never got called up. To this day, he is deeply touched by the soldiers who served and died in that war. We have so much to be thankful for to so few. Please extend again our heartfelt appreciation to your husband and your son.

    Selfless is a great word. And if that's the one you choose, I can think of few people who would *wear* it better.

    Wishing you and yours a very MERRY CHRISTMAS. May your home be filled with His love, joy, and peace.


  10. Love you friend. Thanks for these beautiful words. Thinking of you often.

  11. Beth, I love that you selected this word for 2015. It is perfect for you. If we all could incorporate this into our lives just a little more, we could solve so many problems in the world today. We could be Jesus, just as He has commissioned us to be. I'm still working on my word.

    Love that they do the wreaths each year. My family has been a military family since I was young. We have been blessed to have our loved ones return. It is such a great honor and sacrifice that lives on.


  12. It's a beautiful idea to place those wreaths. Hope and God's love are both beautiful things.

  13. Hey Beth, just wanted to stop by and wish you a most Happy New Year! I have so enjoyed sharing this journey of JOY in 2014! Hope you have some time to post something about your thoughts about what God taught you. I did that, and the reflecting was such a sweet thing.

    My new word is coming next week. It will be interesting to see what God teaches both of us in these new words. He is so generous in His patient teaching, and we are blessed by His heart that always seeks to reveal more of His love to us.

    Looking forward to sharing our friendship and our journeys in 2015.


  14. I did this last year here at Fort Leavenworth and it was an experience I will not soon forget. I completely can identify with your husband's feelings. As a Soldier, we automatically create a bond with our brothers and sisters- past and current-- because of the common bond of being in a profession of arms. I had a particularly emotional moment when putting wreaths on the part of the cemetery that had the unknown Soldiers. And in my mind I kept saying: "nobody should die for their country and end up in a tomb with the letters "unknown" in their tombstone. It was a beautiful yet emotionally charged day. Thank you and your husband for taking part of this event again.


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