An Unlocking Femininity Christmas

unlockingfemininityxmasTis the season again.

Our Christmas trees are finally up. Our calendars are overbooked with Christmas parties and holiday events. Our frantic search for the perfect gift – or any gift – has begun for each relative. Yet in all the hustle and bustle, our prayer is that we keep our hearts and mind tuned to the reason for Christmas… the coming of our Savior. A Savior who gave up the glory of Heaven to live among us. A Savior who always chose people over plans, traditions and appearances. A Savior who gave his life for people who hated him. Our prayer is that we celebrate this Christmas in a way that lifts high that Savior. May the 2011 holiday season bring glory to Jesus Christ!

 

~ Diane’s Christmas ~

This Christmas will be very unique, difficult and full of blessings. This will be mine and my husband’s last Christmas in the States with our families before we go overseas to do mission work. The Lord has impressed upon my heart to savor all the moments of the Season. To enjoy all the joys of friends and family at this time of the year. I’ve been convicted to not waste these moments because they’re a blessing that may never come around again. The Lord has blessed Alex and I with a future on the mission field ,which could not be more exciting! But He’s also blessed us by surrounding us with wonderful family and friends this year. I’m praying I use this Christmas season to meditate on His goodness, His faithfulness and His life-giving present of His Son, Jesus Christ.

The upcoming Christmas month may be a difficult one for you but as the hardships come, remember the Lord brings many blessings in your life as well. Take the time to remember all His good deeds, His faithfulness in your life, and His love for you when He sent His son to earth to save us! Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow! And if you find yourself feeling exhausted and drained, feel free to read The Cure for Spiritual Exhaustion.

As you probably know from my bio – Red Velvet Cake is one of my all-time favorites, with its vivid red color and the decadent cream cheese frosting – YUM! It’s the perfect Christmas dessert. But since this Christmas is a special one for our family, I decided to up my game with Red Velvet Cheesecake.

 

~ Sarah’s Christmas ~

For me, Christmas is all about family, and that’s exactly who I plan on spending this holiday surrounded by…family, my mom and dad, my wonderful teenage nieces, my brothers and their families, my favorite aunt and her family, and my crazy Uncle Bill (every family has at least one crazy uncle, and I love mine!).  But this past year has not been the easiest year for the lot of us, my aunt was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer this summer, my brother’s family is going through a rough time, my nieces have at times fully embraced “teenage-ness,” and I have been states away from all of them all year.  So this Christmas I am looking forward to really ministering to them as much as I can.  I plan on visiting my aunt during her chemo treatments, loving on my brother and his kids, and having little “come to Jesus” sushi dates with my nieces.

Because Christmas is a season of giving, what more precious gift is there than yourself.  Sure, an iPad would be great, or some fabulous KitchenAid appliance (right, Mom?), but when it comes right down to it  we can’t take Christmas presents with us after life.  Matthew 6:19-20 says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  This Christmas season, let us focus on the important things in life, those things which are eternal, the Word of God and the souls of men.

Holidays in my house are full of fun, snowy Christmas traditions. They have also been a season of overeating, with the promise of “New Year Resolutions” around the corner offering a justifiable excuse to the mentality of indulgence.  This year though, I will have to consistently re-read the lessons I learned in My Inconvenient Conviction if I am to stay strong with the changes God convicted me to make in my life.

I tried this recipe out at Thanksgiving, and it was such a hit that I think I will have to try this Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake out over Christmas holidays, too. (Of course, it will be all about portion control cause this sucker is fully of the yummiest calories on the planet!)  Hope you and your family enjoy it as much as mine did!

~ Gabrielle’s Christmas ~

This holiday season God has captured my heart with a vision of what the holiday season should look like for those who bare the name of Christ. Compassion over consumption, kindness trumping chaos, giving not getting, loving rather than surviving, being not just doing, Spirit conquering flesh. Christ came for us, for others, for people who hated him at the time. God really used the post ‘Pity or Compassion?’ to put things in kingdom perspective this holiday. As a follower of Christ, this year I am making my celebration about the needs of others – family, friends, church, and those in need around the world.

God gave me Colossians 3:12-17 as my focus for this season, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”

And while I am loving and giving thanks, I will be making some amazingly decadent Christmas treats to share with family and friends, including Red Velvet Cake Balls and Salted Caramel Shortbread.

As is tradition, we at Unlocking Femininity will be taking the remainder of December off to be with loved ones, but we will see you back here in 2012! Have a very Merry Christmas!

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