"We fed the homeless, attended preschool programs, dance programs, and directed choir programs. We went to the Macy's parade AND the Nutcracker. We baked dozens of cookies and made special recipes. I pretty much created a schedule full of Christmas chaos…" Continue reading as Sandi Hodge shares how her family traditions have changed over the years and how God how shown her where she needs margin to allow Him to work.
"Christmas comes with meaningful church services, family gatherings, and parties - reminders for our family of the meaning of Christmas. However, in the past four years, my favorite holiday tradition has taken place on New Year’s Day." Continue reading as Deanna Skinner shares a special holiday tradition that has restructured the focus of each New Year in her family.
"There are also other traditions we continue to enjoy, but there is one we no longer practice - the tradition of exchanging gifts. Instead, we have started a new tradition, one we thought would be an even better way to celebrate." Continue reading as Pat Wood shares an exciting holiday tradition that has become special for her entire family as well as brought focus back to the true meaning of Christmas.
"As parents, two redeemed sinners, we have been given the greatest challenge of our lives: the impressing, the molding, and the shaping of two boys to live out their faith with boldness and confidence for the One who gave it all for them. Working against us is a culture that bombards children with images of immediate gratification, relativism, sexism, and distortion of the truth." Continue reading as Chantel Oney shares how her family has become intentional in restoring the true meaning of Christmas in their home, even when it conflicts with the focus of our culture.
"Are you concerned because of a financial need? Are you concerned because the pressure of your responsibilities at home or at work have become overwhelming? Are you concerned because you need direction; you don’t know which way to go or what you should do?" Continue reading as Linda Reif shares how a special holiday tradition has grown over the years and how it leads to a powerful prayer.
"With the first hiss and pop of that old recording, my heart and attention was grabbed completely and the pregnant pause of that something important was about to begin, engulfed me." Read on as Hilary Rose Grace Hendrix shares a holiday tradition that started during her childhood and continues to inspire her as an adult. Don't miss her recipe of Homemade Short Crust Mince Pies, an essential part of a British Christmas.
"I absolutely love preparing the table and food, hearing the kids present the Christmas story, and serving our families who love us so well. I wish I could say it is always stress free..." Continue reading as Andi McClurkin shares some of her favorite family traditions and the scripture that spoke into her heart to keep her focused on the true meaning of the season.
A Time to SHOUT IT OUT!!
I love traditions! Call me strange, but I have always loved working with my hands and, let’s face it - many Christmas traditions can involve lots of work (can I get an “amen” here?). Hospitality is my spiritual gift and I love to serve the Lord and others by cooking and cleaning and everything else. Most of my friends might call it a curse - for the longest time I mistakenly thought they were just lazy! I have learned over my short 55 years that God has made each of us, every single one of us, oh, so different in the way we serve, the way we love, and the way we celebrate.
Working with my hands comes easy but It's the first part of the verse above for which the Apostle Paul deserves an explanation and a Shout Out. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” Who does that? Does Paul mean this literally? He was actually writing to the Thessalonians reminding them to "mind your own business!" Now, usually when I use that term, I am frustrated. Really frustrated. But what if I used it to center my own daily life, to make leading a quiet life my personal ambition? Attending to my own business rather than being preoccupied with someone else's? Wow, what could I accomplish?! Maybe some dinner on the table? A better handle on my holiday schedule? More time to contemplate the significance of Christmas? More giving of myself, more of my time given to others? Leading a quiet life, attending to your own business, and working with your hands are all possible when we ask the Lord to let this challenge be our focus.
After our children left the nest, my husband Sam and I couldn't bear the emptiness. We began teaching and mentoring young married couples at our church. Because we are a product of growing through serving, we wanted them to learn how to grow in their faith, to love through serving. We then started a tradition with other local churches to feed breakfast to the homeless community one Saturday a month. This is our third year serving and our homeless numbers have gone from 25 to over 100 people. Christmas is an especially wonderful time for this tradition, for giving and sharing, for a SHOUT OUT in gratitude for God's gift to us - His only Son, Jesus! We try to make it all the more special by serving up traditional biscuits and gravy on the Saturdays during Thanksgiving and Christmas. We didn’t necessarily start a new tradition but let God take something simple we were already doing and make it even more meaningful for the holidays.
As I write this article, plans have also been made to feed our law enforcement, who QUIETLY watch over us, for Thanksgiving. It's a small gesture of thanks but I want my family to serve, to give a SHOUT OUT to those who deserve so much more than they receive in the name of Jesus!
Is there a neighbor who you have never met? How about someone you see walking the streets and you have always wondered about their story? What about the person you see repeatedly behind the checkout counter? God lays out countless opportunities for us to serve Him through serving others.
It is my prayer that we, along with those we may be mentoring/watching us, learn how to "work with your hands, to "make it your ambition" to do whatever glorifies the Lord. Pray that He will show you daily how to lead a quiet life that will be a SHOUT OUT to Him and for Him. Be the hands and feet of Jesus this Christmas - after all, it is His birthday we are celebrating.
- What is one way you can be/live more quietly this Christmas? Ask your spouse or closest friend for help in identifying something practical.
- What is something you are involved in or who is someone you currently know that you could serve in a simple, quiet way this Christmas? The idea is probably not to add one more thing to an already busy schedule but to let the Lord show you where He is already at work.
Answer any of these questions either in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group. #undividedwomen.
Biscuits & Gravy for Thanksgiving & Christmas Morning & Lots More
1 pound maple ground sausage
3 cups milk
½ cup self rising flour
salt and pepper
12 frozen biscuits
Brown sausage but DO NOT DRAIN GREASE! Sprinkle flour over sausage and stir until pasty. Add milk one cup at a time as gravy thickens (add more for thinner gravy.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over baked biscuits and serve with TABASCO!! SO GOOD!!!!
Jeanne Tarwater is the Owner and Coordinator of The WISE on Foster Street, a beautiful event venue in downtown Dothan. She trusted Christ over 46 years ago - the best decision of her life. Jeanne and her husband, Sam, graduated from Woodham High in Pensacola, Florida where they both grew up. They worked together at the same hospital and there discovered TRUE LOVE! Sam was accepted to medical school and they married one year later (Jeanne’s second best decision). Jeanne says they crawled through medical school with loans piling over their heads, having babies and life was grand! Thirty one years later, all three children graduated from Auburn University, gotten married, and Sam and Jeanne have one grand baby due in December! LIFE is really, really, really grand!! The Tarwaters have been members of Calvary Baptist Church for 23 years where they lead the young married couples ministry.
"What started as a midnight Waffle House run for two newlyweds has turned into a family tradition where four young men search for someone, anyone, to anonymously bless." Continue reading as Mary Lisa McCarthy shares a special family traditions that is being passed down through her children.
"The Lord allows my heart to unfold in a new way as I anticipate the Christmas Season with my family." Continue reading as Caroline Blair shares how she combined one of her favorite memories with a historic custom to create a special family tradition in her home.
"Each platter has a history, each individually wrapped ornament represents a story, and most of them came from my grandparents. They knew we would need a tangible reminder of God’s goodness and grace. Something we could touch. Something we could hold." Read on as Lee Ann Taylor, writer for Wiregrass Living, shares how to find the true meaning in any holiday, even the ones that are not what we expected.
"The word 'thanks' or some variation thereof is mentioned in the Bible over 133 times, usually with the word 'give' beside it or close by." Continue reading as Pat Cook shares her favorite Holiday Tradition along with encouraging scripture for this season and a delicious family recipe.
"Have you had a holiday that you wish you could redo? Did you fill the schedule to overflowing? Did you say something you shouldn’t have?" Continue reading as Mikelyn Bolden, published writer, shares a three step holiday guide map that keeps her focused on what is truly important during the holiday season.
"Each Thanksgiving season brings a rush of activities as we prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year…the Super Bowl of Shopping known as Black Friday." Continue reading as Susan Anderson, co-owner and CFO of Eagle Eye Outfitters, shares how she finds balance on this infamous shopping weekend and maintains the spririt of thankfulness in her life.
This holiday season, Undivided Women will utilize our online Bible Study to bring women together by sharing holiday traditions that are near and dear to the hearts of the women of the Wiregrass.