My Jesus Journey

We celebrated my birthday at our favorite local restaurant today!

We celebrated my birthday at our favorite local restaurant today!

Today is my birthday!

I’ve been looking forward to this birthday, when I turn 33. My husband turned this age last year, and I teased him that Jesus finished His ministry on the cross at age 33, so he’d better make the year count, too.

This morning when I woke up, my first thought was, Jesus was the exact age I am now as He powerfully preached that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, always had time to heal people’s bodies and hearts, knelt as a servant to wash His friends’ feet and willingly gave up His life so that I could truly live.

To think Jesus was only 33 when all that came to be is overwhelming. I can just imagine the priests and religious elders of that day thinking – who does this young pup think he is, acting like he owns the place? – when in fact, HE DOES. The depth of his love and compassion for each person, the way He stayed available to those who needed Him, the tears He wept over Jerusalem as He entered, the life-saving words He spoke to the criminal next to him as He suffered – Jesus’s testimony convicts my sinful heart.

As I anticipated my birthday yesterday, I thought about what God would want of me during my 33rd year of life. Though I joked that Matt better make his 33rd year a good one, I realized those words were now directed at me. Time is too easy to waste, and I am a pro at letting moments and opportunities slip by.  So, I asked God, how can I best spend this year?

God drew me straight to His Word.

Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples. Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.

Luke 1:1-4

I am going to spend this year walking with Jesus. I want to personally see and experience again Jesus’s journey from heaven to the cross and back again. To do this, I am going to try to place myself in Theophilus’ shoes, and receive the letter of Luke as my own. Jesus’ story is my story. My life has no meaning or purpose apart from the Gospel.

I will try to record my Jesus Journey, verse-by-verse through Luke’s account, on the blog each week, in addition to our family’s everyday God experiences. I need accountability, because I am great at starting but not always at finishing. I would like to personally invite you to join me on my 33rd year adventure and see Jesus through fresh eyes, reading for the first time as Theophilus might have, so that we can be certain of the truth. Sign up to receive blog posts in your email, and come back often!

Christmas Countdown Day 23 & 24: Candy hunting and birthday baking

It is Christmas Eve, and Lauren took the last Countdown ornament off our tree today to complete our amazing journey to Christmas this month.

We had two fun family activities left, and both involved sweets!

Lauren and Jackson sample the spoils of our Christmas candy hunt.

Lauren and Jackson sample the spoils of our Christmas candy hunt.

First, we had a Christmas candy scavenger hunt. The kids sequestered themselves in their rooms while Matt and I spread four bags of Christmas candy across the living room. The squeals were in full gear as they ran out to see what awaited them. Their baskets were brimming by the time they had found the last pieces!

Our last activity was to bake a birthday cake for Jesus. Jackson and I have been talking about this for a couple of weeks, and at first he didn’t seem too excited about it. He wanted the cake to be for him, instead. After thinking about the cake and what kind we could make, Jackson came to me and asked, “Can we make the cake for Jesus, but help Him eat it on Christmas?” I told him I thought that would be a great idea! 😉

With Jackson on a stool, Lauren standing on a chair and me strategically in between, we greased and floured our cake pans, measured and mixed ingredients, and then licked the beaters.

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What a sweet end to a wonderful tradition this month! Our Christmas Countdown has helped our family place priority on spending time together in the Word, making memories along the way. This has truly been one of the very best Decembers for me. And, tomorrow, we all are ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior, complete with birthday cake!

Happy birthday Jesus!

Happy birthday, Jesus!

Our Advent Scriptures for Day 23 and 24 complete the Christmas story, with the birth of Jesus, the angels appearing to the shepherds and the visit of the wisemen. Day 23 is Luke 2:1-20, and Day 24 is Matthew 2:1-12.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole empire should be registered. This first registration took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors!

When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, wise men from the east arrived unexpectedly in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was deeply disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. So he assembled all the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the Messiah would be born.

“In Bethlehem of Judea,” they told him, “because this is what was written by the prophet:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the leaders of Judah:
because out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd My people Israel.”

Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and asked them the exact time the star appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find Him, report back to me so that I too can go and worship Him.”

After hearing the king, they went on their way. And there it was—the star they had seen in the east! It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by another route.