GIFTS OF JOY AND CARE AT CHRISTMAS
This Christmas edition of Oasis of Hope is all about unwrapping the beautiful and even unexpected gifts of joy and care. In fact, some of these gifts may not, at first, seem like gifts at all. Yet as we lean into the Lord, then pray about our heart longings; and as we care for those who are hurting this season while others are celebrating, we might just discover God’s precious gift of joy where we least expected it. Sometimes it begins as a tiny seed of hope.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
Because often the gift of joy is a choice we discover at the other end of surrender.
GIFTS OF JOY AND CARE DISCOVERED IN POETRY AND RECIPES
As you peruse this issue, maybe you will discover your own gifts of joy. There’s a recipe for delicious dairy-free, cinnamon rolls. What a wonderful gift of joy for someone with dairy sensitivities! Then, in another post, you’ll discover a beautiful poem by Jill Briscoe about Jesus, our joy. And don’t miss the end-of-the-year newsletter with a free gift for you to download, so you can send a sweet gift of joy to others.
Step into poetry journaling with Megan Willome, who stirs your imagination and invites you to capture the moments you long to remember. In addition, there are also prayer prompts included to guide you in prayer.
You can think of this issue as a mini Chronic Joy Christmas Anthology to savor and share with words from co-founder and executive director, Pamela Piquette; guest and contributing writers, Jill Briscoe, Vaneetha Rendall Risner, Br. Curtis Almquist, and Marie Dittmer, poetry co-coordinator, Megan Willome, and prayer coordinator, Bettie Gilbert.
GIFTS OF JOY, CARE, AND BEAUTY ARE ALL AROUND US
Joy can be a deep and holy mystery that seldom arrives in the ways we think it should. Perhaps it is a gentle invitation to slow down and notice the beauty around us, beauty we often miss when we are struggling with pain on a daily basis. Could it be that even our suffering is a path to joy? That as we lean into God’s Presence, as we learn to seek His Face in every hard moment and on every difficult day, He reveals gifts of the most exquisite joy tucked into quiet corners and completely unexpected places?
You reveal the path of life to me; in your presence is abundant joy; at your right hand are eternal pleasures. Psalm 16:11 CSB
IN THIS ISSUE
As you peruse this issue of Oasis of Hope, you will explore heart longings, poetry, suffering, and beautiful ways to care for those who are hurting. In addition, you will find recipes, free printables, heartfelt stories, and God’s mysterious gift of joy.
- Unexpected Gifts as the Holidays Approach by Bettie Gilbert
- Greater Joy • An Invitation to Prayer by Pamela Piquette
- Heart Longings at Christmas by Bettie Gilbert
- Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas • Dairy Free by Marie T. Dittmer
- Care for the Hurting Ones at Holiday Time by Vaneetha Rendall Risner
- Rejoicing in God and His Gift of Joy by Br. Curtis Almquist
- Joy is Jesus • Our Beautiful Savior and Lord by Jill Briscoe
- Peace, Hope and Joy • Merry Christmas and Free Gift by Pamela Piquette
- Poetry Journaling • A Way to Remember by Megan Willome
Unexpected Gifts as the Holidays Approach
Even if our movements change and our tasks shift, the GIVING of our FATHER is always a constant. He has more to give us than just another way of coping. God is to be depended upon and will bless our days – painful or whole – with GIFTS of His choosing, always with GOOD in mind.
Greater Joy • Invitation to Prayer
Finally, my journey led me to joy. To taste joy in the midst of what previously drove me to survival mode came through seeking beauty in small moments. These moments are the gifts right before my eyes, but they are also the ones I can easily miss. And they lead to greater joy.
Heart Longings at Christmas • Devotional
Christmas: Little children light up with a glow of excitement when the word is mentioned. The word itself has become a season all its own. But why is it that the word “Christmas” stirs in our hearts a longing for gathering together and rejoicing?
Christmas Cinnamon Rolls • Dairy Free
One of the concerns Cindee and Pamela see in ministry is people struggling with all kinds of food issues, especially problems with dairy products. That’s how the idea for this recipe came about. Could I develop a holiday recipe without dairy for their readers? I chose cinnamon rolls…
Care for the Hurting One at Holiday Time
How can we care for the hurting whose pain may be heavier during the holidays as they grieve losses or longings? So many struggle in silence.
Rejoicing in God and His Gift of Joy
Joy takes time. Joy is not fast food. It comes, I would say, as a by-product of living a savored life, of having time and taking time to “smell the flowers,” as we used to say. There is this old monastic insight about living a joy-filled life. Take time, take at least some time each day, to do one thing at-a-time.
Poetry Journaling • A Way to Remember
Right around Thanksgiving, I make a big pot of tea and reread all the poems in my journal. Inevitably, it ends up being a commentary on the year itself. I’ve been following this practice since 2002, and believe me, the poems say more than I could in a thousand pages of journaling.
Joy is a Gift
Joy is a perpetual gladness of the heart and a deep sense of gratitude in the soul produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in His creation, word, and works. Open your heart to these verses and quotes and discover that joy is a gift.
Coloring Sheet • Joy
Build An Ebenezer
Remembering God's Faithfulness
God’s people built Ebenezers, touchstones of help, to anchor them in truth in the midst of frightening, painful, difficult, or challenging circumstances.