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Update: November 6th, 2014

So, I tried. I simply couldn’t wait until any longer to connect with all of you Jesus hungry sisters who have signed up for our Advent Invitation, A Heart Wide Open Christmas.

Granted, I am crazy excited about walking through Christmas together but it’s more than that. Last weekend convinced me that our mutual resolve to turn a deaf ear to the material racket and actually live Christmas may need some reinforcing before our the advent season even begins. Or, maybe I should just speak for myself…

My man and I just returned  from a much needed and greatly appreciated getaway to a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Our grown children were literally celebrating because the two of us never get away together. Between his farm work and my ever present deadlines, it always gets put off for a better time. Phil and I consider couple time getting to our chair and a half while the night’s still young. I mean, we intend to, we talk about it, it just happens once in a blue moon- if at all.

Last week may change that. I refuse to go on and on about how perfectly wonderful it was, and how relaxing the hot tub on the porch was or how we got snowed in on the last night,

snowedin

and made a snow man the next morning,

snowmanfun

because that isn’t why I’m writing and it would just be insensitive. Oops! Moving right along.

During one of our trips into nearby Pigeon Forge, TN, we visited the Christmas Village. (By “we” visited, I mean my man went to the Dickens store nearby for work jeans while I wandered around the gazillion square miles of Christmas merchandise.) It was beautiful. Every Christmas themed room, every nativity set, every light display, down to the smallest ornament. It was all a feast for my eyes that threatened to unravel my Heart Wide Open Christmas resolve.  There was only one thing to do.

I had me a come to Jesus meeting right in the middle of that store.

With shoppers and sales clerks bustling all around me, I slid into that quiet place in my heart where He lives with me and cried for backup, admitting what He already knew. The latest shiny stuff looks good but I don’t need more shiny stuff.  I need more Jesus.

I laid my priorities at His feet and asked Him to order them and then we shopped, together, the King and I. We strolled, we admired, we enjoyed. I even bought a couple heart ornaments because they meant something to both of us in that moment, because I felt Him smiling as I clung to Him and I knew that whether I bought a Christmas decoration or not wasn’t the issue. Once again, He had reminded me that when my heart is His, the world is mine.

anticipatingHWOC

As we looked for hearts together, mine brimmed up and melted. It was exactly the type of Heart Wide Open Christmas moment I want more of this year. Immanuel, God with us.

The next morning, after my man and I had a sweet couple devotion, I slipped out onto the porch of the cabin with my blanket and coffee for some time alone with God.  The landscape was covered in snow, making everything around me so bright it took my eyes a few minutes to adjust to the glare. My spirit was already overwhelmed with gratitude at His goodness when I settled on the porch swing. I was knee deep in praise when I saw it.  There, on the banister directly in front of me, at eye level.

A heart shaped leaf.

heartleaf

Like it had been placed there just for me.

I scanned the rest of the porch, checked all the other banisters. There wasn’t another leaf on any of the other railings, and not another heart shaped leaf to be found on that floor– or the porch on the second level above me. I checked.

And then I sat back down with my leaf, (after I ran inside for my phone to take it’s picture, of course), and I praised this God who loves us so, who became one of us so He could reveal Himself to us.

Immanuel, God with Us.

Let the season begin.

We’d love for you to let us know you’re with us for A Heart Wide Open Christmas by filling out the contact form. I’ll email you when we’re about to kick off!

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Hugs,
Shellie

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