Tender: Jesus’ Reflection Through Us

Christmas on the outside

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—OUR CHOICE. Yeah, this one scared me a little bit. But the word came quickly, so here goes!

This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

TENDER

This week we lost a student in our high school. It’s left our school’s community in shock. Though my boys aren’t in high school yet, they’ve been impacted.

When I heard the news, my heart cried for that mama. She’s probably already bought Christmas gifts for her chid. Had plans and ways to make memories with her family. This family who will walk through their first Christmas without this precious son.

What happened to “peace on earth, good will to men?” What’s happening in our world that strips away the tenderness in our hearts, our spirits?

We’re divided with so much to do in a season that should also encompass joy. And yet, so many are struggling with hard, hard situations.

My prayer this Christmas season is that I would have a heart that is tender toward those hurting in my circle.

That I would see beyond the smiling exterior and know how to speak a word of hope or encouragement.

That I would take the time to see beyond the surface and speak something that would make them feel just a little bit better.

snow-blown landscape

This season is not always happy and cheerful for people. Especially those who’ve lost loved ones this year.

And yet, Jesus.

Jesus knows the hurts so many people face. He knows that celebrating this Christmas is beyond them. Maybe all they have energy for is to get out of bed. To try to—I don’t know—eat a meal.

May we who are not in those hard situations right now look beyond the busy-ness in our own lives, and at the very least, take a moment to pray for those hurting during this season. May we take that extra moment to express, “I care” through words to those in pain.

Jesus didn’t tell us to be happy all the time. And though He gives us joy, there are times when the feeling eludes us.

He does exhort us to be a reflection of Himself. When Jesus saw someone hurting, He came alongside them, spoke truth and hope to them. Not condemnation. Not fake euphemisms.

Jesus ornament

With this unexpected death rocking our little school community this week, it’s got me thinking about how I can celebrate Christmas with authenticity, with a tender heart and with eyes that see beyond the initial and into the “real.”

May we see people around us through Jesus’ eyes and reach out to them with His tender love.

What about you? How do you grapple with the tragedies and still hold onto hope? What’s one thing you do to celebrate Christmas authentically?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday. Click to see many other great posts!

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I am taking a little blogging vacation to spend time with my family. As you celebrate Christmas, may you know Jesus’ presence in special ways.

I’ll see you on January 5, 2016!

Gift: God’s Love

snowy layered morning

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I was reading in Ezekiel 46 recently. This chapter talks about how the prince went into and out of the temple to worship the Lord. Verse ten says the prince goes into the temple among the people, and out among the people. It got me thinking about how—though he was elevated in his position, his importance in the community—he was still on equal footing with everyone else before God.

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Reflect: What Do I Reflect?

Window reflection

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—REFLECT. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

REFLECT

I’d just gotten done snipping at one of the boys for not letting me get to “my” much needed “Me” time. I’m sure I hurt his feelings, at least a little bit. As I closed the door to my room and tried to lose myself in an online chat, the word REFLECT came up.

Oh boy.

What am I reflecting to those around me? When life gets crazy, the waters of my spirit get muddied.

And my heart gets selfish.

And my words and actions reflect the ugliest parts of me.

Is that what I want my boys to remember when they move out of our house one day and begin lives of their own?

When I am impatient with a person on the phone or a cashier in the store (which I try not to be, but those muddy waters sometimes encourage it), what am I reflecting?

My heart’s desire is to reflect Jesus’ light to those around me. I don’t want them to see my sinfulness, my selfishness.

Interrupted Reflection

Let’s face it, sometimes we’re all a mess. We’re working out our salvation one painful day at a time. We’re making mistakes.

Sometimes Jesus’ love is a dim reflection in the shadow of my “me-ness.” My selfishness.

Sometimes I don’t reflect Jesus accurately at all, rather a choppy image of His presence within me.

My desire is to reflect His joy, His love, His kindness to those around me.

Whether I feel like it or not.

To choose kindness when life is hard, when the kids are testy, when the hubby is traveling.

To reflect love when someone hurts me, or life gets too busy, or I am feeling like a failure.

Blue Mesa Reflections

When I am seeking Jesus—when I’m refreshed by Him—then the waters of my heart are clear and reflect Him well.

And those boys of mine? As soon as I asked forgiveness for my sharp tones, arms wrapped around my neck. Thank goodness they will overlook my selfishness.

What about you? What helps you reflect Jesus to those around you? What are you reflecting on as 2015 comes to a close?

Join in with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday post—REFLECT

 

Light: Light in the Darkness

Christmas Star

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

As we head into the Christmas season, it’s so easy to see the darkness in our world . . . terrorists claiming the lives of hundreds of innocent people, like in Paris a few weeks ago . . . mass shootings here in the States, false religions drawing people into their belief systems. Commercialism claims the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

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Seasons: Seasons Pass

Snowy branches

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Our Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—SEASON. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!

SEASON

When my boys were little, I felt like I had cling-ons attached to my legs for-ev-er. But now, one is on the cusp of the teen years, and I am seeing how quickly the time flies by. In a few more years, he won’t be here to share family dinners, to make me laugh out loud, to drive me crazy by leaving his socks on the floor (okay, I won’t miss that part). My season of active mothering slips, day-by-day, into the past. And sometimes, it scares me a little bit.

As I look at the Christmas season, I’m a little amazed that we’re already at December 3rd. Sure, Thanksgiving was just last week. I’m seeing all that I feel I need to complete, and how the days speed past with very little marked off my to-do list.

Sun Shimmers

As I contemplated this word tonight, I was reminded that seasons pass. And when they’re gone, we’ll never have another one that’s just the same. We have one chance to live that season well. Because once it’s gone, it’s only a memory.

The beauty, the heartache, the awe-moments . . . slip into our past. Will we remember these aspects of our seasons?

How do we live each season well? The answer lies in finding that mix of living in each moment, yet still being purposeful with what God gives us to do.

For Christmas, my tree’s up, and we had a great time decorating it.

Will the Christmas letters all be mailed out on time? I’m not sure. I want to keep in touch with people, but my family is my most important priority.

As I purpose to insert stillness into my days, not as much is going to be accomplished.

Edmund and the cross

But what is the most important thing in each season of our lives? Living well. Loving well.

When we do these things—when we seek Jesus to know how to live them out—then we can rest in the truth that we are blessing Him.

What about you? How do you find the balance between the doing in a season and the living in each moment? What’s your favorite part about the Christmas season?

I’m linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday—Season. Come read other great blogs!