Sharing: Heart Longings at Christmas

CHRISTMAS HEART LONGINGS

**CHRISTMAS** Little children light up with a glow of excitement when the word is mentioned. The word itself has become a season all its own. But why is it that the word “Christmas” stirs in our hearts a longing for gathering together and rejoicing? Sometimes we might feel that the tradition of Christmas is so ingrained in the fabric of our culture that we are set in a way of thinking not of our own choosing.

Or is Christmas a season of preparation that goes much deeper than tradition? What is the true heart longing we feel at Christmas?

THE TRUE HEART LONGING FOR CHRISTMAS

Perhaps the heart longing that we feel for Christmas is actually a PRAYER of waiting for our Savior. Many faith communities practice the season of Advent—waiting for the Savior—during these four weeks before Christmas. Even if you have not belonged to a community where Advent was a part of your tradition, perhaps it is a new tradition you could add this year.

What if we included, during these four weeks of Advent, a time to pause and pray about the longings in our hearts as we wait for our Savior? If we would be honest, we each would see that there are deep places in our hearts that need the touch of our dear Redeemer.

Rise up; come to our help! Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love! PSALM 44:26 ESV

Our Father in Heaven knew that we would need a Redeemer. He knew the longings that would fill those deep places in our hearts. And so, He shines a light on those places by stirring up longings within us.

SCRIPTURE PRAYERS SHOW US OUR HEART LONGINGS

He gave us so many Scriptures that are filled with those same heart longings, so many prayers expressed by those who came before us. And He wants to meet with us in those very places of longing.

Will you join me during this season of Advent, of Christmas longing, to pause and to pray? This month at Chronic Joy, we are sharing four prayers and Scriptures, one for each week of Advent. Will you pray with us as we lift our heart-longings for Christmas up to Him?

Click here to join me over at Chronic Joy Ministry, to listen to the audio blogs, and to join us in praying this month.

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If you are looking for a family Advent Devotional, the book that I co-authored with my dear friend, Ifeoma Samuel, A Christmas For Us, is once again being offered for free this year at her website. Click here for the link to download this great collection of 25 short readings, Scriptures, and meaningful family activities. And make sure to check out all of the other great resources she offers there too!

I have so appreciated all of your prayers during this time of my slowed-down season of blogging. I look forward to sharing with you something new that the Lord placed on my heart this summer. During this time of pausing, even as my own body continued to feel the weakness of this disease, the Lord asked me to trust HIM with the strength to share. While I felt the weight of my weariness, He gave me words for a book, a short 12 chapter story about the journey that my husband and I walked through during our years of ministry.

And so, as God gives me strength, I plan to share the book, one chapter at a time here, on the first week of each month beginning in January. Many have asked me to share our story, and I long to be able to share each chapter in an audio blog format too. I hope to post here one other time during the month, as the Lord gives me grace, the Prayer Prompts that I join in with at the Chronic Joy Community. I am still in this journey of “BettieGsRAseasons,” but you may notice a slight shift in content and pace of sharing here on the blog. He is still teaching me more about this lifestyle of listening so closely for HIS pacing for my days.

May His grace be showered upon you all, my dear friends, with a lovely Christmas. May you feel the breath of God bringing new life into your own weary days. And may we all keep our eyes lifted to the sky, watching for the appearing of our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. HE is the One our hearts long for.

35 thoughts on “Sharing: Heart Longings at Christmas

        1. Thank you, dear Athira. It’s been a rough fall, as I am on minimal treatments for my RA. But even on days when the pain flares up so high, Jesus keeps meeting me right there. I am so grateful we can pray for each other. Hugs to you across the ocean!

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    1. Dear Wendi,
      Oh, thank you for your beautiful soul-encouraging words! I am so blessed that the Lord brought joy to you last year through our book. And thank you for your beautiful prayers for us too. I pray that you are flooded with the love and joy of Jesus this Advent Season. Many blessings and hugs across the miles! xo

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  1. Oh, dear Bettie, may God strengthen and bless you during this time! You are always sharing with us and blessing us so much. Thank you! And I can’t wait for you to publish your story! Much love to you, dear sister, with blessings and gentle hugs! xoxo

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    1. Dear Gayl,
      Thank you so much for your dear support and encouragement that you always share so freely with me. I can’t begin to tell you how much that has meant to me! I pray so much that your Christmas Season is blessed with all of the comfort and love of the Lord pouring over you and your family! Blessings and gentle hugs for you too! xoxo

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  2. Dear Bettie, I think you’ve touched on an important part of Advent. It truly is like a prolonged prayer. One of deep longing mixed with expectation and hope, culminating in rejoicing in our Saviour’s birth and abiding presence with us. We cannot help but think of His eventual return to earth in considering His birth. Thank you for the beautiful prayers over at Chronic Joy. I’ve left a comment there too. And for the sweet reminder of the lovely Advent resource you co-authored, coupled with the promise of your personal story being related here in the new year. That’s a great gift for your readers to look forward to! May these efforts be met with all the energy, wisdom and strength you need. And may God bring a deeper measure of healing and recovery to your poor pain-filled body as you rest and wait on Him during Advent. Sending blessings, love , prayers and gentle hugs to you across the pond. xoxo ❤️

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Thank you so much for all of your understanding and sharing in this walk of waiting and longing. He has truly shown you the blessing of waiting upon Him, and of lifting up your own longings to Him, through the very trials you have faced also. I am so grateful that we can share our journeys in Him with each other! I pray those same blessings of healing and recovery for your weary body as well, dear sister. May you and your family be blessed with such a beautiful Advent Season too. Gentle hugs and love to you across the wide ocean! xoxo

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    1. Dear Lisa,
      Thank you for your sweet prayers! Your encouragement means so much to me in these places of trial. What a gift of grace to be able to share in that together!

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  3. I love your heart-stirring prayers, Bettie. So soothing to my soul as I pray them along with you. I had to go back to this line again – “Father, thank You that You have seen our suffering in the dark, and You have opened Heaven to rescue us.” Amen! I love the song, too! I’m looking forward to your story. Love and blessings of hope, strength, and peace for each day!

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    1. Dear Trudy,
      Oh, I am so thankful that the Lord blessed you through His Scriptures and the prayers. He truly has lifted and rescued us! And, isn’t that song so good? It’s one that I listened to almost every morning during the early stages of my Chronic Illness journey. The Lord knows how to keep us following and trusting Him. I pray that you have a Blessed and joyful Christmas my dear friend. Love and hugs to you! xoxo

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  4. Bettie, every time I visit I am blessed beyond measure. The beauty of your heart shines through in your writing! I enjoyed this post and am seeking to stop and pray throughout this Advent season, but sharing the longings of my heart did not occur to me until I read your post! Thank you dear Friend for your faithfulness. I have downloaded the beautiful resource offered and eagerly await your new book! May God wrap you in His grace, strength, love and providence as you continue your journey of faithfulness to Him!

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    1. Deer Donna, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comments. I am so glad the Lord blessed you with thoughts of the way he meets us in our longings. And I pray so much that you are blessed with his presence this Advent season. I appreciate your beautiful prayers for Grace, strength, love and Providence. I have an extra dr’s appointment this week, and your prayers bring such uplifting peace to me. Blessings and love to you!

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  5. I look forward to reading your stories from your time in ministry! Praying you have comfort and refreshing in your Christmas! I miss the feeling of Christmas from when I was little and I wasn’t in charge! I miss the family and friends I celebrated Christ’s coming with – yet now, on Christmas I celebrate with gratitude not just that He as born but that He came to give us Easter, to redeem us! What a season of praise this is! Merry Christmas, Bettie! ~ Maryleigh

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    1. Oh thank you dear friend for your encouragement and blessing! I am so thankful that we can share our stories together to bring him praise. And truly as you say, this is such a season of praise. I pray that you and your family will be so blessed making new memories in this time and season. Merry Christmas to you also!

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  6. I too will look forward to the story of your years in ministry. (Was it the pastorate? My husband served in that capacity for 40 years.) I pray that you are able to enjoy a very blessed Christmas, Bettie!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comments and encouragement dear friend! We were children’s pastors and we later we traveled with our family drama Ministry. Blessings to you as you remember how the Lord led you and your husband as well. Merry Christmas and love to you!

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  7. Dear Bettie, you have encouraged me and lifted my eyes to our Savior once again. Just as you have every time I have the opportunity to read your words. I am praying for you as you prepare to share your ministry story. Can’t wait!!! May the Holy Spirit strengthen and uplift you, as you tackle this new venture for the Lord. Praying for the sweet Presence of our Savior to be your light and hope. Rejoicing in our Savior’s first coming and longing for His return! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Dear Melissa, Oh your words are such an encouragement and blessing to me also. I appreciate your dear prayers so much. There have certainly been so many hindrances in the way–including my old tablet dying, and having to use an older device and learn its ways too. But I am continuing to trust God that the “sweet Presence of our Savior will be my light and hope.” Even in our weaknesses, HE is so worthy to praise. Merry Christmas to you and your family also! And may you be blessed this New Year!

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