Jackson Five Friday: Home Signage

Hey Friends,

I hope you’ve had a great week. This week, along with every other week, I’m grateful to live with people who make me laugh. No matter what is going on in life or the world, my husband and sons seem to find ways to crack me up. I never want to take that for granted.

If you know me, you probably know that I don’t watch TV. I truly do not know a single channel and never turn it on. I don’t have any interest in it. I can get into it when others are watching, especially a game or occasionally a documentary, but most of all, I like commercials. Commercials are more my speed. Short and sweet, and sometimes quite entertaining. The one I like now is the Progressive guy who helps people not become their parents (click here if you don’t know what I’m talking about). The slide to becoming our parents does feel almost inevitable. The coach holds up the artful sign, “Live. Love. Laugh.,” and queries his students, “Do we really need a sign to live, laugh, and love?” They think maybe they do, but he’s direct and firm: “The answer is ‘no.'” The music and the whole vibe add to the humor. But here’s the thing, if we swap out “Live. Laugh. Love.” with another popular home sign, “Gather,” the bit wouldn’t work, would it? Why is that?

First of all, the coronavirus has eliminated a great deal of gathering. My little family of introverts has been relatively unscathed. We spend a lot of time with just us, anyway. My sons have all been back to school since August, and our church meets in person or online. I’ve had in-person Bible study and book clubs that have continued to meet, except now they are outside. We can attend Nate’s basketball games, and limiting our social imprint is entirely consistent with our frequent family card games on weekends. My parents are both deceased and we don’t live near any family. Would I be eager to attend a beautiful dinner party of some sort? Of course! But, I’m not devastated by the absence of such outings either. However, I am increasingly aware that my situation is somewhat uncommon. I see the isolation taking its toll on people. I hear the low-grade depression in their voices. Are we just not concerned with mental health anymore? COVID-19 seems to be the overwhelming health concern, despite the statistics (for example, drug overdoses are truly staggering). President Biden said the death toll is like that of World War II (over 400,000). The average age of a soldier in WWII was 26. Do you know how many Americans have died of COVID-19 in the 15-54 year old demographic? The answer, according to the CDC, is 25,076.

What is the agenda of people who use numbers to so skew perceptions? Losing 400,000 soldiers when the total population of the United States was 131 million is not remotely comparable to losing 25,000 people today. Why do people want to hide the fact that the vast majority of deaths are among the aged? I find it all very perplexing. We are all going to die. Every single one of us. Increasingly the pertinent question has become, how many of us are going to actually live?

But back to the “Gather” sign and the Progressive coach, maybe it’s a reminder we actually do need. The verse I used to name this blog is from Hebrews 10:24: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” But the next verse continues the thought: not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” So whether you have the signage or not, the Bible counsels against giving up gathering.

So how are you doing from a mental health perspective? How about those around you? Do you need to find ways to safely gather as the writer of Hebrews counsels? I hope you have great discernment in evaluating the many risks we face each and every day. I hope you do not fall into the trap of thinking this virus is the only potential harm in the world.

Praying tonight for my family to wisely weigh costs and benefits, to seek first the kingdom of God, and to continually spur one another on to love and good deeds.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: The Death of Credibility

Sunrise 1/15/2021

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve looked so forward to sitting down and processing life through writing. I’ve jotted down all kinds of blog ideas and if time allowed, I’d write a mega post — there are so many issues I’d like to fully unpack. But the day is almost over and I’m just now at the computer so I’ll be brief: sadly, so far 2021 seems like more of the same. Lies, lies, lies and more lies, accompanied by shameless attempts to craft certain pre-determined narratives. It can be very discouraging. Are facts no longer relevant? Does common sense play any role at all? Are thoughtful questions no longer allowed? On the one hand the death of credibility is disheartening. We long for someone on the national level to be honest, upright, even noble, but on the other hand why would we think it would be any different?

We are steeped in sin at birth. Even on a personal level the reality of this truth packs a punch. You may think the world of someone, but eventually you learn that no person is disappointment-free. The facts are every person is a hypocrite, no one maintains credibility, and disappointment is an inevitability. It’s sad, and yet awesome at the same time. How is it awesome? Because the pervasive letdowns should lead us all to the feet of Jesus. Because He is never hypocritical. He will never lose credibility, and He will never disappoint.

One of the first verses my sons learned was “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). It’s such a simple concept, but what a great reminder for 2021. The world may feel insanely out of control, but Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. He does not change. He’s not surprised by anything that is going on, and His love for you is just as unquenchable as ever. Love the people in your circle of influence. Continually point them to Christ. Recognize there is nothing more toxic than unforgiveness. Ask God to reveal and ruthlessly dig out your own bitter roots. And proceed with peace, knowing deep down that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Happy or Holy?

Hey Friends,

I’ve been thinking about what it means to really really love someone. Does it mean that you want that person to have everything their heart desires? A carefree, healthy and happy life? In a sense I guess it does, but even more than that I believe if you really really love someone, you want what’s best for them. This is how God loves us. Most modern-day Christians are familiar with the refrain “God doesn’t want you happy as much as He wants you holy.” Are you able to love those closest to you like that? I’m not suggesting we can discern what’s best for others all of the time, but sometimes we are granted the wisdom to know at least what isn’t best. Are you willing to speak truth into the lives around you when you can see a situation or path is not edifying? Can you prayerfully muster the resolve to lovingly tell someone they’d benefit from guardrails? These are hard things to do and obviously only effective within loving relationships, but I believe it is unloving to fail to speak.

The interesting thing is that God’s ways are not our ways. Isaiah 55:8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” And it may seem counterintuitive or even paradoxical, but the holy life is the happiest life. If you’ve lived long enough you’ve seen this play out over and over again. The happiest people are not the richest, the happiest people are not the smartest, the happiest people are certainly not the most famous or the most powerful, the happiest people are the ones who are the holiest. Just last week I posted about the 21st Century church ladies who go around telling others how to live. Their holier-than-thou vibe whether based on purported concern for the health of others, the environment or whatever their pet project may be, is of course not the kind of holiness that is fulfilling. Instead, the holiness that leads to joy is trust in and obedience to Jesus. So the question for 2021 is how will you trust and obey more this year? Every ounce of good in us is because of God’s grace, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is our only means of trusting and obeying, but we can still aim to build holy habits, to put our sinful little selves in the endless fountain of his mercy and grace. How do you thrust yourself — even when your flesh resists — into the fountain? What are your holy habits?

I have not started the year with a lot of discipline. My boys are not back in school yet and so I’ve been in an extended vacation mode. In fact, when the national news broke this week, Nate, Sam and I were making memories without phones and so we didn’t even know what had happened till later in the day. But I plan to re-read Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline before the end of January, and I have also started a new Bible reading plan. I’m doing The Bible Recap. The reading takes less than twenty minutes a day and has an accompanying podcast that is less than ten minutes. The brief discussion of the reading is a game changer. So, I highly recommend both Foster’s book and The Bible Recap reading plan and podcast. And I’d truly love to know what you plan to do this year.

Finally, speaking of loving enough to value holiness over happiness, how do you think that applies to nations? Do you think the United States is a holy nation? Do you think we can be blessed as a nation without a return to God and His Word? You probably know what I think. In fact, the Stuart Townsend’s lyrics have played over and over again in my mind this week: “In Christ alone my hope is found…” Praying for revival and that no American would put their hope in any person or institution, but in Christ alone.

Love to you,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: The 21st Century Church Lady

Happy New Year, friends! Hope you had a sweet time with those closest to you ringing in 2021. I’ve been thinking about the old SNL skit with Dana Carvey. Do you remember the Church Lady? She was appalled by the behavior of many and had many opinions about how others should live. Her righteous indignation stemmed from her 20th Century religion, implicitly Christian but certainly not representative whatsoever of the gospel of Jesus.

Oddly, and only somewhat amusingly, the 21st Century has ushered in a new religion with devout fanatics. Uptight Dana Carvey-like church people are everywhere. Most of these people are not aware that they are religious zealots. They fail to overtly acknowledge the tenets to which they subscribe. But there are two primary ways to identify them: (1) they tell other people how to live; and (2) they derive meaning and self-satisfaction in showcasing their own superior choices.

Thomas Sowell wrote about this in his 1995 book The Vision of the Anointed. Sowell observed that the “anointed” of society believe they have the answers and must impose them on the uninformed masses.

Great social or biological dangers can be averted only by the imposition of the vision of the anointed on the less enlightened people by the government…Perhaps even more important than the specific tenets of this vision is that these prepositions are not treated as hypotheses to be tested but as self-evident axioms. Evidence is seldom asked or given — any evidence to the contrary is often ignored or answered only by a sneer.

p. 242

The sneer of “church people” may have been a thing 26 years ago, but social media combined with untrustworthy media and an intense season of fear-mongering have combined to produce a concentration of benighted condescension never before seen. In 1995, there was some effort to obscure the desire to control. But not anymore, there is no hiding of intent. Instead the aim to control is unabashedly front and center. The we-know-better-for-you-than-you-do mentality doesn’t even meet with much resistance. If you know me at all, you know I find it all utterly revolting. People I would think would resist have succumbed to joyless judgmentalism. Not one of these people — not the Dana Carvey character — nor any of the modern day equivalents have one minute of true happiness, not one. Do you really think this is what Jesus meant when he said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”? Of course not! May the abundant life of John 10:10 be a consistent aim of 2021.

How are you glorifying God for His many gifts to you and living abundantly? Are you praying for those who are in bondage (whether the bonds be fear, addiction, or something else)? I am resolving to do these things better in 2021.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: A Christmas Card Injury

Hey Friends,

Have you seen social media quips like “I’m old enough to remember when…”? The thrust is that times change so quickly these days that what is being remembered happened last week. It’s kind of amusing. Other threads talk about how you can identify where you are or where you’re from without actually saying it. For example, I’m from the state that people use their right palm to illustrate the geography. Well, I have a sad twist on that kind of thing: I’m so old that I hurt my neck writing out Christmas cards. Like for real. My neck has not been right since last Saturday. On Thursday all five of us were in the car (a gift in itself), and I randomly cringed and moaned with various turns and bumps.

One of my sons said, “Geez, Mom! Do you need to see a doctor?” To which Will responded, “Hey, I’m a doctor.” The good doctor insisted on “working” on my neck yesterday for a solid fifteen minutes, no matter how much it hurt. I think he may have cured me. Oftentimes the cure requires pain. Christmas is the beginning of the ultimate illustration of this truth.

Christmas is not about Santa nor exchanging gifts, as fun as those things are. Christmas is about the incarnation of God. God became flesh to dwell among us. He left Heaven to endure the hardships of life, and no one has ever been treated as unfairly as Jesus. He lived the perfect life, modeling for us precisely how to live. He was the kindest, most loving person to grace this earth, and yet He was mocked and killed. For a few days it looked like evil had prevailed. But sometimes the cure requires pain — certainly for my neck injury, and infinitely more so to cure our sin natures. Jesus paid the price for all our sins because God is just — no wrongdoing is just swept under the rug, eyes are not averted. No, indeed every sin is known. Every sin has a cost. Jesus, that humble babe in the manger, endured the penalty. May we give thanks today for the beautiful Christmas decorations, for the gifts under the tree, but most of all for the truth that although sin left a crimson stain on our lives, Jesus washed it white as snow. In that sense, we all are offered a white Christmas: the Christ-child paves the way to a white-as-snow record when we stand in judgment before the Ultimate Judge, who is also the Lover of our souls. Praise the Lord, that my many many stains have been washed away by the loving sacrifice of my Lord and Savior. I hope He is your Lord and your Savior too. Merry Christmas!

“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.”

Isaiah 1: 18

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Goodnight Moon

Hey Friends,

Even though I woke up at 3:45am, I’ve not had a chance to sit down and write the post I intended to today. Now I’m in bed and looking out at the moon that looks like a cow should be jumping over it, just like in the children’s classic, Goodnight Moon. It sits whimsically low in the sky and is crescent shaped, with a hazy golden tint. I hope you got to see it tonight too, and that it reminded you of Psalm 19:

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.

 They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

May we always have eyes to see the heavens declaring the glory of God, and may we pray for clear skies to see the Christmas Star on the 21st.

But as for today, “Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Joy and Pain

Hey Friends,

I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. On Tuesday I wrote out some cards, mailed some books and donated some clothes. I felt a surge of accomplishment because I’d been meaning to do these things for a long while. That same day my husband texted in all caps: PASSED THE BOARDS!!! This is a snapshot of the chasm between us.

Me: “Woo hoo, I remembered to drop off the donations!”

Him: “I passed the boards.” Unstated but equally true was “in the midst of a global pandemic with an incredibly stressful and taxing job, I somehow managed to redeem tiny snippets of time between meetings to study for and pass an eight-hour-long comprehensive medical board exam, even though I don’t currently practice medicine.”

It kind of cracks me up. Every December as I reflect on our marriage (25 years on the 29th), I marvel that he hasn’t rubbed off on me at all, at least not in the discipline department. But we are a good team. It would not be possible (and I’m more certain of little else in life) for us both to have the level of career success that Will has, and also a happy home life. Fortunately, he is wise and always treats me as a partner in his accomplishments. It is not demeaning to my intellect or self-image to recognize that my role in his life and in the lives of our sons is one of support. In fact, I know that even though I might drive around with donations in my car for weeks or even months, God has given me other gifts. I am good at encouraging, supporting and advising. When did society stop valuing these roles? So many lies have taken root in the last century, and I think we are only seeing the first rotten fruits of the distortions.

Anyway, that’s all just an aside, what I’ve been thinking about is how hard this month is for so many, not just in 2020, but every year. Sadly, the twinkling lights never manage to keep sorrow at bay. People still face tremendous loss. The pain of holidays without a loved one is often overlooked. The eighth anniversary of Sandy Hook is on Monday, and those precious ones would be in high school now. How do parents ever move on from such unfathomable sorrow? Sometimes I think it’s good to let ourselves ponder not just the joy of the season, but the gravity of the suffering we face in this life. Before the coronavirus, and in some odd way even within the pandemic, our culture wants to numb out the reality of suffering and the inevitability of death. It’s not healthy, but living in denial never is.

Another subject that our culture fails to authentically engage is what it means to love. We like to think about fairytale romances and beautifully close-knit families, but that’s the Hallmark version. Scott Sauls rightly says all true forms of love are “messy, costly and inconvenient.” If the love you are showering on others doesn’t ever feel messy, costly or inconvenient maybe it’s not even love.

But the birth of Christ addresses both these issues: (1) His birth is the promise of heaven, where every tear is wiped away; and (2) His life is the manifestation of perfect love, and more costly and inconvenient than any mere human could dream up.

This Christmas I hope we can all aim to truly love those around us, and to take hold of the wonderful truth that Jesus paid our way to heaven.

Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away…Behold I am making all things new.

Revelation 21:3b-4, 5b

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Receiving Like a Little Child

Hey Friends,

I love this time of year, but I do miss having little ones whose joy and anticipation about Christmas is irresistibly contagious. We have never done a ton of gifts (Jesus got three and that was our model), so I have not felt crazy pressure to go nuts like some people. Plus if you put a drivable toy Jeep next to the tree for a three year old, you don’t need anything else! And as my sons have gotten older, we’ve tried to make it less about stuff and more about experiences. For example, Sam got tickets to a Houston Rockets game (they were playing the Orlando Magic) a few years back. But I do miss the excitement and the happy dancing eyes that are unique to little children.

Little children are special. Jesus certainly thought so. Not only did he correct His disciples when they assumed He was too busy for them, He also said: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17). Have you received — by no merit or effort of your own — the kingdom of God like a child? I hope so.

I was talking to one of my closest friends a few weeks back. She was telling me that she thinks of herself as having a simple, childlike faith. She was actually not saying this to pay herself a compliment. In fact, almost the opposite. Her phrasing sounded more like she was in some way criticizing her own lack of profundity. Ahh, but that Oswald Chambers quote I used last week applies again. We need to be mindful of not posing as profound people: “God became a Baby.” Plus, I told her that her childlike faith is a gift from God that was born out of suffering. I told her to never let anyone demean the gift she has. In so many words I said, “It’s not a matter of being some kind of simpleton. Your faith is a rare blessing sometimes bestowed on those who’ve known tremendous loss.” Do you know an adult who exemplifies childlike faith? I bet the person who jumps to mind hasn’t lived the easiest life.

This Advent may we spend time soaking in the wonder of the miracle of Jesus’ birth. May we have lots of interactions with little children who are so eager to believe, and may we recognize and treasure the adults in our midst who readily receive the Kingdom of God just like a little child. And may we pray continually that God will make us more like them both.

How can you make room in your life to better receive the fullness of God’s Kingdom? How can you remind yourself that the goal isn’t uppity profundity but the trusting faith of a child?

Have a fabulous weekend!

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. I can’t resist adding what a person of childlike faith is not. They are not controlled by fear. They are not constantly concerned about what other people do, don’t do, say or think. They are not frenetic in their pace, but can linger over simple pleasures. They are not consumed by hate or rage. They do not look down on others as inferior. I’m sure we could make a pretty lengthy list. What other habit or quality does not characterize a person of childlike faith?

Jackson Five Friday: Thankful, Awe-Filled Living

Hey Friends,

I hope you had a lovely day yesterday. This was our first year having Thanksgiving in Tennessee, and it was simple and quiet. It was also Will’s birthday and since Thanksgiving is his favorite day of the year, it makes it especially fun. Will’s dad joined us too, but sadly he took a spill on our front steps the other night and broke the bone in his upper arm. Prayers for his speedy and full recovery would be greatly appreciated.

I’ve been thinking about the prevalence of statements about what a terrible year 2020 has been. I get it that it has been a weird year with lots of challenges, but counting our blessings is always the answer. Mindset drives so much of how we feel. Why would we give in to the temptation to focus on the negative? Being grateful is a choice. It’s a choice that once made is incredibly self-reinforcing. You just have to force yourself to jump on the gratitude Merry-Go-Round. Once you are on it, it’s easy to keep it going. If you try writing down specifics for which you are grateful, you can never finish the list.

I think the other key to getting through tough times is to soak in the kinds of things that fill you with awe. Does a hike through the woods fill you up? Sam and I went for a hike about a month ago on nearby Stringer’s Ridge. It has beautiful views of the river and the city. Unfortunately, we took a few wrong turns on the way back, and ended up crossing through a briar-filled, overgrown field to get back to the car. The views, the vibrant colors, the quiet and even the sight of my car were all awe-inspiring. I never tire of sitting next to the ocean either, sunrises and sunsets, a beautiful piece of music played in my gorgeous church. You should know what fills you with awe and you should seek these things out as much as you possibly can.

Paul David Tripp said, “It is dangerous to live without your heart being captured by awe of God, because awe of God is quickly replaced by awe of you.” Does that ring true for you? It does for me. I feel like self-interest, self-pity, self-satisfaction and any inclination for haughty thoughts are all cured by a new infusion of the awe of God.

I also love this quote from Oswald Chambers:

Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.

Does that say it all? The Creator of the universe, the Author of life and faith, the infinite, all-loving God took on flesh and was born in a stable. And yet somehow we all struggle with humility. When you look at it like that — God became a Baby — it’s outrageous.

Advent begins on Sunday and really it is a season of cultivating awe over the miracle of the birth of Christ, and as Americans it is on the heels of a season of thanksgiving. It’s pretty perfect, isn’t it? Give thanks. Be awe-filled. Those few words summarize an incredible amount of our entire mission in life. May we all close out 2020 thankful and awe-filled, and of course we can also pray for an awesome 2021!

Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven.

Job 25:2

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. My advent devotional is available on Amazon if you are looking for something different this season.

P.S.S. I snapped the picture above this morning on the Riverwalk. I wanted to clarify that it’s not Stringer’s Ridge.

Jackson Five Friday: Artificial Christmas Trees and Other Lies

Hey Friends,

I miss my Sunday School kids. Pre-pandemic some of my most fun conversations happened with second graders on Sunday mornings. It’s really such a great age. They are so smart and enthusiastic. Yesterday I saw one of my favorites from a couple years ago at Costco. She was with her mother and siblings, and they were purchasing a beautiful artificial Christmas tree. However, the tree’s 1800 lights were not enough to sell this little girl on the idea. She thought they should stick with a real tree.

I tried to help by saying, “But look at all those lights!” Her face, or rather her eyes (we were all wearing masks), were expressionless. She was not budging. She wanted a real tree.

And I get it, don’t you? Sometimes we are just NOT in the mood for lies. In fact, I feel like I’ve hit a wall this week, not with artificial decorations but with artificial narratives. My spirit feels like the steely gaze of that determined little girl. I’m done. I’m just not having it.

Fortunately, a friend recommended the Rod Dreher book, Live Not By Lies. The title is taken from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who said he would not participate in the lies of the Soviets: “Though lies conceal everything, though lies embrace everything, but not with any help from me.” That’s where I’m at. I’m not living by lies. Lies aren’t getting any help from me.

But clearly we are living in the midst of a pandemic of lies and platitudes. Perhaps the one that irks me the most is “We are all in this together.” What does that mean? Because I assure you the coronavirus isn’t getting the message. It doesn’t treat people like they are “all in it together.” Exactly the opposite actually. Many are asymptomatic, many others have mild cases, but for some the virus is a horrific and potentially deadly disease. Thankfully, after eight months we know a lot about who’s who. Why would anyone familiar with how the virus works make the absurd claim that we are all in this together? We’re so not. The under forty demographic (without co-morbidities) should be proceeding with life. The old and vulnerable people should be told to either stay home or know that the mask is of negligible protective value. Furthermore, millions upon millions of Americans have recovered from the virus. Doctors now think the immunity lasts for years, maybe decades. These people should be wearing masks and social distancing? How do you figure?

Think of the other ways we are not in this together. My husband works in healthcare. Working from home is not an option, and if the numbers get bad enough, and they might, he’s ready to jump back into doing bedside medicine in the ICU. Nurses are wearing horrifically itchy N95s and other uncomfortable PPE twelve-plus hours a day. Other people are literally home all the time. It’s more than a little tone-deaf for the Netflix binger to say, “We’re all in this together.”

And the disparate impact of economic policies might be worst of all. Unless someone is willing to live off the grid and rely on no one else for anything, I find it completely immoral to lockdown. Yet many are all for locking down on the backs of the poor, while maintaining “We’re all in this together.” Well, that’s a lie I’m not living by.

Of course “we are all in this together” is just one lie. I’m sure you probably have different ones that spring to mind. Do you think it is important to refute the lies? Or do you think it is okay to just let the lies be? Truly, I think we need to be discerning. I don’t want to be a constantly disagreeable person. On the other hand, I am increasingly convicted that we should not “live by lies.” I pray that God will guide me. That I’ll know when to be as quiet and peaceable as a dove, and when to be as shrewd as a serpent.

Speaking of serpents, the crafty one in the Garden of Eden asked Eve, “Did God really say?” The older I get, the more I see the influence of that question all around us. Being diligent about seeking truth means constantly coming back to God’s Word, constantly acknowledging that the Prince of this world is the father of lies.

My sweet little friend may learn to love her new Christmas tree. I hope she does. But some fictions should never be embraced. May we never stop asking God for eyes to see the difference.

Ponder these words of Jesus, and may none of us live by lies: “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:43-44

With Love,

Kristie