Well Hello dear friends! I hope your Thanksgiving was very blessed and filled with joy. May I now wish you my first Merry Christmas of the season? I am happy to report that my turkey came out perfectly as you can see on my Instagram account. Food was on the table on time and everything went off without a hitch. Wheeeew! I have been taking down m Fall decorations and putting up the Christmas bobbles. Most of my trees are up. Yes, I said most. I put up five trees ‘round here. My two main trees are up. I am also happy to report that the lights on said trees are all working. Wheeew again. It’s never fun to find out that after putting the tree up and getting it strung with lights (although ours is pre-lite) only to find out that half the lights don’t work! UGH!
My daughter and I usually are in charge of the inside décor while my husband and son are the outdoor crew. The icicle lights hang from the roof, rope lights are around the lamp post with the grapevine snowman standing proudly next to it, and the garlands with lights are wound around the windows and doors. It looks so festive and we usually try to have it all ready to be turned on thanksgiving night. This year we were a couple days late but it was still in the holiday weekend time frame.
This process also went pretty much the same way as the trees did, all the lights were working, but then that most frustrating thing about Christmas lights happened… half a strand stopped working! Heavy sigh. Of course no one wants to leave a strand of half baked lights up on display, right? So the testing begins. Which bulb is it? Eventually one of two things happens… either my guys find the defective bulb and replace it, or the whole strand comes down and a new one is put up.
After this hiccup is resolved, the Christmas lights display is once again shining and festive. Because let’s face it, if half a strand isn’t lit, people will definitely notice it.
Have you ever noticed that it’s just like this in our Christian walk as well? If we haven’t given our whole selves to Jesus, we won’t shine as brightly. People notice when only half a strand is glowing. The whole display of Jesus in our lives has a blotted-out section if we keep a little of ourselves back from Him to do the things “WE” want to do. Maybe those Christmas lights didn’t want to glow. Maybe they wanted to remain in darkness. But then they miss out on the beautiful glorious display that is going on around them.
Maybe there are things in your life that you want to still hang onto for yourself and not give over to Jesus. Maybe something is still in darkness. Maybe you feel like you’re in darkness. I certainly have felt that way before. I didn’t want to trust that God had a better plan when He asked me to surrender the independence back to Him after I prayed so long for it. I wanted to hold on to it for myself. My bulbs blew out at that point. God had to show me my burned-out lights and I didn’t want to have them worked on. So God had to restring a different strand. One that would shine brightly and once again be a part of His display going on in my life.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Friends, if we let Jesus fully live in us, our display will be nothing short of beautiful! If we keep parts of ourselves back from Jesus to remain hidden in darkness, the beautiful display is interrupted by burned out lights. God already has your beautiful display planned out so let Him display it fully. Let others see that display. Let them ooohh and aaahh at the array of shimmering colors twinkling and glistening.
Remember driving around, looking at all the houses decorated at Christmas? Be the one people want to stop at and comment how beautiful the display is. Let Jesus replace bulbs or restring a whole strand if needed. Give it all over to Him and let His light shine in you!
Ok lets just jump right in with some Christmas cookies, shall we? I know you can buy premade sugar cookie dough in the store but… lets make ‘em from scratch huh?
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter, softened (no cheating, the real thing)
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla (the real thing)
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ Tb. Cream (half & half)
In large bowl, beat sugar and softened butter together. Add the eggs, vanilla and cream and continue beating with mixer until well blended. In separate bowl, blend together the dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture and beat together. It will be stiff so you may half to use your hands to form into a ball. Chill in refrigerator for at least one hour before using. Roll out onto floured work surface and use your favorite Christmas cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place on greased cookie sheet or better yet, one lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. When they are cooled, frost them with the following icing…
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tb. Cream to start with
2 Tb. Softened butter
Splash of vanilla
Beat together and add more cream if needed 1 table spoon at a time. Get creative and add colors or flavors such as peppermint, eggnog, or almond to spice up your icing. Gather the fam and bake, bake, bake!