Jump for joy

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Mary and Elizabeth, with baby bumps

Christmas Countdown Day 6 focused on Mary and Elizabeth. They carried two incredibly special babies inside them: the Son of God and the one who would prepare the way for Him. When Mary called out to Elizabeth when unexpectedly arriving for a visit, Elizabeth’s baby jumped for joy! The two women shared Mary’s first trimester and Elizabeth’s last trimester of pregnancy. Tonight we sifted through old pictures when I was pregnant with my children and when they were babies. They loved seeing themselves when they were small! Lauren even pretended she was going to have a baby by stuffing a Rainbow Bright doll up her shirt. 🙂 We made Mary and Elizabeth ornaments, with baby bumps, to remember the baby leaping inside Elizabeth when Mary (and Jesus) came to stay.

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Lauren paints her ornament

New year, New life

Last night I rang in the New Year driving home from the hospital, where I had spent most of the day supporting good friends as they welcomed a son into the world.

Life is such a miracle, and to hold and snuggle a precious newborn baby is to know the tenderness and loving-kindness of the God who created him.

What a way to begin a new year, witnessing new life!

New life in the new year!

New life in the new year!

As I kept the new mom company and watched as she talked with and loved on her sweet child, my mind was drawn to the Scripture passage found in John 3.

Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

“But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit…”

January 1 brings hope each year, for us to be able to leave the past behind and have a fresh start. We crave that innocence and purity we have lost. Just like a newborn baby, we seek to be cradled securely in loving arms. We look within ourselves, to our relationships and from our livelihood to find the satisfaction and purpose we so deeply desire. And, every year we watch the Times Square ball tumble down, just like all of our independent efforts, and wish this next year would be different.

We have the same questions Nicodemus had.

And, Jesus has the same answer: we must be born again, born of God’s Spirit, and become His son or daughter. We need to be made completely new, just like a newborn baby.

Whatever you are facing in 2013, no matter the obstacles already looming and the mistakes you may be running from, new life is only possible through Jesus Christ.

Your eternal life with God can begin today. Jesus reminds Nicodemus in the same conversation that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. In the same fashion, those of us who have received that wonderfully precious gift need to fully possess it. We must live in God’s power, receive His forgiveness, extend His mercy and proclaim the Good News.

This is how I want to spend the new year.