The Thrill of Hope

Penelope Poppy Print | Oh Come Let Us Adore Him:

I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner, and it’s already time to look back on 2016! This time last year, Chad and I were celebrating our first married Christmas and had just decided to put our home up for sale…with no real concrete plan of where we were going, or when, or how. All we had was trust and hope in a God who promised to be faithful. And we also had questions – a LOT of questions!

It was an exciting, somewhat scary, year of surrender – and He was incredibly generous to us. This year held so much more than we could’ve imagined. It was harder than we could’ve imagined. And it was redemptive, and refining, and sweet. I have no idea what 2017 has in store for us (really, we don’t have any big, tremendous plans for once)…but I’m so lucky to be here now, at the end of 2016, with gratitude for the past and tremendous hope for our future.

This year, I learned the hard way to stop, savor, and appreciate the current season that we’re in…rather than wishing for a different situation or longing for the “next thing” to begin. I missed out so much on beauty right in front of me, because I was worrying about what I might be missing elsewhere. I’m spending some time taking a break from blogging and all social media until 2017. We’re flying home to Philadelphia this morning, and I don’t want to miss out on all of the perfect little moments with people I’ve missed so much, because my eyes are fixed on a screen. I’ve really struggled with this mistake in the past – and I want to get it right this year. I want to love my people better and bigger.

Before these last few days of 2016 dwindle away, give yourself the gift of stopping to reflect and celebrate how far you’ve come, how much you’ve grown, and what God has done. Count all of the ways that He’s shown up and provided for you this year, time and time again. Even in the midst of heartache, loss, grief, doubt, waiting and wandering – He is still working in our lives and promises to love us every step of the way. In this year, and the next.

The key to a full Christmas? It's not how much you can cram into your schedule or under your tree. It's not even the amount of good you can do or peace you can feel. The key to a full Christmas when we allow Jesus to fill the empty places in our soul and lives.:

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