Monthly Archives: December 2014

12/23/14

10 Things to do on Christmas Morning {regardless of what’s under the tree}

Last year, I saw this post on Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience… truly one of my favorites. Great spiritual vitamins there for your faith walk!

She posted “10 Things to do on Christmas Morning, regardless of what’s underneath the tree”, and I thought it was a great thing to share, but I also wanted to share some traditions that our family has during the Christmas season as well.

1. Throw a birthday party for breakfast!

Ann says to bake the cake, scoop the ice cream
{man, I would have been onboard with this as a kid!}, break out the streamers and party hats even, light the candles, and sing praise to Him! He came, He died, and He redeemed! How wondrous…

Ann tells of the recipes her and her family only prepare for Christmas morning– French Toast bake with fresh whipped cream, berries, sausage bake, cranberry slushes, and orange juice. We too have special recipes at Christmas time, as most families do, and I so await that first bite of sausage cheese pie, cranberry orange breakfast cake, and then later Mom’s steaming mugs of White Christmas chili.

“He’s invited us to His table, adopted us, made us one of His own— and we have time to come, to say yes to His invitation!”

2. Gather as a Faith Community

Emmanuel… it means “God with us”…

Pray together. Gather humbly. Talk about His goodness to you and your family unit over the past year. Proclaim His good news and prosperity, and then share in the heartache of sorrow, or ask for comfort in the ongoing suffering in a certain circumstance. But, just gather, and give thanks in all things.

As a family on Christmas, we gather, just the 3 of us, and we take up all the Christmas cards we collectively received this year and we pray for each of the people and/or families represented individually. It’s a sweet time to celebrate those relationships God has given us.

God is with us…

3. Gifts for the Birthday Child

Gifts to the newborn King! And Jesus says what we do for the “least of these, thou does unto me.” So yes, exchange gifts on Christmas, give meaningfully, but also give someone a greater, deeper joy.

Serve a meal at a local shelter.

Pack a shoebox for Operation Shoebox Child.

Buy Christmas gifts for a family in need whose father lost his job this year.

Give Christmas away. It is always better to give than to receive.

4. Serve Him a Meal

A loaf of fresh-baked bread to a neighbor.

A tray of cookies to the elderly at your grandmother’s home.

A hot pot of soup delivered to the new widow in your Sunday school class spending her first Christmas alone.

It is a life-saving, life-changing, life-giving meal for some. Serve Christ a meal this Christmas. He is the bread of Life!

5. Invite someone in need

Is there a lonely person you know in your faith community? Someone new in town? Or a new widower perhaps?

Christ came to a world with “no room for him” and now He calls each and every one of us to show true, genuine, and kind hospitality to those He came and died for.

6. Give a Talent Show

What can you give of yourself to God and to others on Christmas morning? A song? A poem? A tap dance? Whatever it may be, it is praise.

7. Join Creation!

Scripture says that even the rocks cry out! So, join in!

Spend time outside, sun on your face, wintery winds blustering about you, but walk around. Inhale. Exhale.

Speak with your neighbors. Watch the children play with their new-found treasures.

Sit. Read. Savor.

Decorate trees. Feed the birds. Let your dog run around wildly, as they will do.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

8. Tell the Story

We do this every single year; without fail.

Read the Christmas story anew. Read it from different translations, from different gospels. Read it from excerpts in Genesis, to the Messiah foretold in Isaiah, to the gospel of Luke, to the crucifixion, and finally to this 2nd Coming in Revelation.

He’s coming to save us.

9. Sing Hallelujah!

Somewhere, somehow, some way, sing this today. Because today of all days deserves a Hallelujah!

Sing it outside, inside, in the shower, as you walk down the street, as you prepare your family’s meal. Proclaim His faithfulness.

Just sing! You won’t believe how it makes your heart light.

10. Follow the Light

Turn down the house lights. Light candles. Go outside. Carry flashlights. But, get still, quiet, and in the dark. Pray together. Spend the last few moments of Christmas night reveling. Watch the stars.

Meet Him in the quiet, in the silence, in the stillness of your ordinary, busy life.

Savor Christmas.

It truly is a miracle.

From my family to yours, have a blessed Christmas!!!

xoxoxo……………….

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12/19/14

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

What can I say about this chili?

It just warms my heart.

It’s a long-time standing tradition that Mom will put a big pot of this on Christmas morning right after breakfast & we can ladle up a bowl anytime throughout the day.

Hence the name, White Christmas Chili. It’s our special holiday soup to savor as we sit in our PJs, visit with one another, open gifts, and watch movies.

So, when Katie and I decided to throw a little casual holiday PJ party for our small group ladies, I knew this had to be on the menu!

So, let’s get started. You are going to want a steaming mug of this stuff this week!

White Chicken Chili 

{recipe adapted from White Christmas Chili recipe from Southern Living issue November 1998}

Ingredients:

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, baked, cooled, & chopped or shredded (I prefer my chicken shredded for this soup, but it’s personal preference)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 boxes low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cans Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 4.5 oz can chopped green chiles (I normally run my knife through them so the pieces are a bit smaller)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper
  • Assorted toppings: tortilla chips, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

1. In a skillet over medium heat, cook onions and garlic in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until cooked through and translucent. Add diced green chiles and saute a few minutes along with the onions & garlic.

chili 1

Set aside & allow to cool a bit.

2. To your slow cooker, add your cooked chicken, beans, salt, pepper, and all other seasonings, and your onion and garlic mixture. Stir to combine. Then pour in the stock & cook on high until mixture boils.

chili 4

3. Then turn your slow cooker to warm until ready to serve with all the fixins!

chili 5

Then ladle yourself up a big bowl of it & top it with my personal favorites- sharp cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips, and a tear of cilantro if you feel so inclined.

This is a dish I love to share with others this time of year! The traditions we share with others are the best traditions.

And speaking of the “best of”…

small group 1

small group 2

small group 4

I love these women! They lift me up, encourage me, pray for me and with me, and always point me to Christ. I am thankful for them.

So, Merry Christmas from our small group!

xoxo

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