Grab a Cup of Coffee

Does anyone besides me prefer to do your clothes shopping AFTER Christmas? All I ever want for Christmas (for the most part) are new clothes. But for the best prices I’d prefer to pick them out myself at the excellent deals you find at the after Christmas sales at the stores. And I’m no particularly picky about shopping in the current season either. I don’t mind shopping for tank tops in December or sweaters in July. I’m not that picky actually. I keep everything hanging in my closet year round and wear whatever whenever.

I also always ask for a new designer purse for Christmas. It’s a perfect time to ask for one. We have a lot of designer outlets in the mall closest to our house. This year I got a new Michael Kors purse. The purse’s regular purse was $329 but the sale price was $199. $200 is about the limit for me. Some of the purses I would like to have are very high. Even the outlet prices are too high for me. But that’s ok. One bag a year is good for me. I have quite a few that are my favorites now though. But I love spending the whole year carrying my one new purse around. And I love spending the year thinking about what purse I’m gonna ask for the next Christmas. It’s the best way to get a new designer purse.

This year there was a wedding in our circle this year. My best friend got divorced earlier this year and found the man of her dreams sitting across the desk from her all this time at her boss’s desk. They had an amazing wedding this past Sunday. It was so beautiful. The family is now a blended family and they all get along so well. Ron and I sat with his family at the reception table. They are amazing people. He has a sister with two children. And his dad has passed away so his mom was alone. So he has a small family, like I do, and we got along so well. I am so happy for her. You know that feeling you get when someone you love is happier than you have ever seen them? Yes, that’s how happy she is. So that means that’s how happy I am for her. If anyone notices her you will see her happy and smiling. I couldn’t help all day Sunday telling Ron how happy she was. She smiled and was so happy the entire day. That made me the happiest I have ever been for her. Seeing her happy has made me the happiest I have ever been for her. And honestly anyone else in the world that has anything to say about her happiness and her joy will very quickly find themselves on my bad side.

God has made a glorious day. Thankfully there is no snow falling today. We are waiting around for my mom to be ready for us to go out shopping. We are all ready. I hope you are enjoying your beautiful day as well. If you like snow I hope you are able to enjoy the white stuff!

Christmas Afterglow

Christmas Afterglow

Luke 2:8-20 (King James Version)


8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Afterglow is the comfortable, soothing feeling following a pleasant experience. A lingering impression of past successes. The past few weeks have been hectic, so much to do. Now it is finally over. Let us take a moment to reflect in the afterglow. Mountaintop experiences have a way of not lasting. However, they are necessary and beneficial. Luke recounts a hilltop experience of the shepherds, can you imagine when it was over they were stunned.

Now that Christmas is over:

1) Let us do as the shepherds did, verify the message in our experience.

We have heard the reason for His glorious coming, to ring joy, peace and new life. Now it is time to confirm or deny it. If the Gospel message makes no difference in your life, then the Bethlehem story is worthless. When Nathaniel was invited to meet Jesus there was an interesting exchange between Phillip and Nathaniel in John chapter one. When Nathaniel heard Jesus was from Nazareth, he said abruptly, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Phillip exclaimed, “Come and see.”

Friend, every test you submit Him He will pass: Can He really bring joy and happiness in life? “come and see”; Can He really solve problems at home, at work? “come and see”; Can He really tell me what I should do in life? “Come and see.”

2) Now you can think, ponder and meditate. (vv18-19)

You have not been able to do that the last few weeks. “Angels are gone” now you can focus on the implications and ramifications of what His coming means to your life.

3) Propagate it. (v17)

The shepherds never got over this experience. They did not have to make up a story, they simply told what they had seen, heard, felt, and knew. Friends, regular business can wait, our response to the message of Christmas requires an immediate response. The Christian message has halted the inevitable march of the world to destruction. The destruction of the world  today depends on a Spiritual and moral awakening which fails to awaken. The antediluvian world is an example of how close our world has come to the end.

I pray the Lord will let each of you experience a fuller better life.

Mike Stokes

Make It Christmas Every Day

We are now halfway through our Christmas vacation to Florida.  We arrived in Tallahassee Tuesday evening.  It was so wonderful to be back there.  I could have stayed forever.  My Mother-In-Law and Lauren and I went to the mall Wednesday.  I was surprised it wasn’t very crowded.  The crowds is one thing I have managed to avoid for the most part this season.  How did that happen?  But then it could be that I was still in the middle of them but didn’t feel any anxiety because my Spirit is happy and dancing with the Christmas spirit this year. 

Today we left Tallahassee and came to Pensacola.  Oh the amazing sunsets my in-laws have at their house.  They live right on Escambia Bay.  The sunset is always supreme!  The picture I posted earlier was of tonight’s sunset.  I can’t wait till see what God has in store for us tomorrow night.  I will be sure to take a picture for you.  The pictures never do them justice but they do give you an idea. 

I have been thinking all day about the Christmas Eves of the past.  Our family always celebrated Christmas together on Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ house.  Now Christmas Eve always seems like it should be the actual Christmas Day.  But I am learning that every day can/should be Christmas in our hearts.  We should show love, compassion and charity to all those around us every day of the year.  We should strive to stay close to family – not just on holidays.  We should celebrate the birth of Christ every day by living for Him and thanking Him for his gift of salvation to us.  Why does it have to be Christmas before we think to thank God for the gift of His Son?  As Christians we need to always show him our love and appreciation for his sacrifice.  My goal for 2011 is going to be to make Christmas every day in my heart – no matter where I am or what I am doing. 

Just as Mary pondered things in her heart so I want to ponder them in mine – no matter where I am, what I am doing or what day of the year it is.  God gave us the greatest gift and through His Son we have the promise of salvation and a new life in Him.  One day I will go to Heaven and stand before my Savior.  I want to be able to tell Him that I remembered His gifts and lived them every day in my heart. 

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 

Now there is the greatest gift of them all.  My prayer is that you have accepted His gift.  My prayer is that you when you see a beautiful sunset or the glory of nature you will remember to thank God for it.  His gifts continue when we give Him glory for all He has done.

The War of the Holidays

Our Pastor, Rob Morgan, preached a very thought provoking message this Sunday at The Donelson Fellowship.  I will be sharing quite a bit of it in the days ahead but I loved his introduction.  As soon as he started it I wrote down “BLOG INTRO” on my worship program.  He made reference to the “taking Christ out of Christ” war going on now as well as the current debate between Christians and atheists – specifically in the battle of the billboards.  But Pastor Rob put it well.  No matter how you try to do it Christ cannot be removed from the holiday season.  So, here is Pastor Rob’s intro.  I think you will like it. Continue reading

Perfect Moment Monday – O Christmas Tree

My perfect Moment for this week has to be Saturday night when we put up the Christmas tree.  I’m sure mine is probably no different than everyone else out there this time of year.  I have been such a good Christmas mood this year.  That doesn’t always happen.  If you read my entry from yesterday you will certainly understand how this year and last year don’t even compare to each other.  But this year things just seem brighter and happier.  I think the Christmas lights in the neighborhood are even brighter this year. Continue reading

My Christmas Secret

Ok – can I be honest?  (Aren’t you proud that I asked first?  Not that it really matters because I’m always gonna be honest and give my opinions.) I am a H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E gift giver.  I never have a clue what to get someone unless they flat out tell me.  I mean, it’s like I’m in a cave and someone has turned out the lights. I can’t see the hand in front of my face.  You can’t see ANYTHING…NOTHING…NADA….ZIP….ZILCH… Yeah, that’s how it is when it’s time to buy someone a Christmas present.  I can’t see ANYTHING…NOTHING…NADA….ZIP….ZILCH… Continue reading

Thursday Thirteen – Reasons To Look Forward To This Month

Today’s Thursday Thirteen list is a list of things I am excited about for the holiday season.  It seemed like a natural list to make after yesterday’s HO HO HO entry. (Visit the TT link and learn how to participate as well)

1.  Sitting out all of my Santas (I have a collection)

2.  Decorating the house for Christmas

3.  Dinner out with Ron and his board members next week

4.  The church Christmas Musical Christmas Came One Night

5.  Shopping for Ron and the kids

6.  Letting Ron and the kids wrap the presents (see my Scrooge entry)

7.  The Christmas party at Ron’s office

8.  Visiting Pensacola for Christmas

9.  Watching Faith get excited to see Grandma

10. Visiting Tallahassee for Christmas

11.  Watching my family open presents (someone else has wrapped…..heeheehee)

12.  Spending family time with Ron and the kids and some extended family