Our family’s Christmas decorations include trees and lights, candles and wreaths, and several nativity sets scattered throughout the house. This year, I thought it would be fun to have my two-year-old grandson, James, help me set up the manger scenes, partly because he enjoys animals so much. While we worked, he named the animals and the sounds they made, but one thing that surprised me was his fascination with Baby Jesus, not only then, but also during the days leading up to Christmas. Continue reading “Captivated by Christ”
The background photo on our website speaks hope to me. The vibrant flowers catch your eye at first, but behind them in the distance towers the remains of Mount St. Helens, a volcano which erupted in May 1980, covering the area in lava and filling the air with ashes. I recall as a child witnessing on TV the devastation caused by its powerful eruption, and in 2017, my family visited the site to see it for ourselves. Continue reading “Hope from the Ashes”
Food is an important part of our daily lives. We need it to survive. I do most of the cooking in my home, which means I plan the meals, buy the ingredients, prepare the food, serve it, and finally, eat it. It takes time to do all these things, so food and all the tasks around it occupy my thoughts on a daily basis.
From the very beginning, God provided food in the Garden of Eden for man to eat. It was “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9). The purpose of food is to nourish our bodies, but in addition to that, God made it pleasant. He wanted man to enjoy that which was good for him. Continue reading “Food for Thought”
It was about a year ago that we had our last “normal” family meal to celebrate a family birthday. On January 21, 2017, our extended family came together to watch a church basketball game coached by my two college-aged sons, and then we went out for lunch to celebrate one of their birthdays. Birthdays were never missed in our family. My parents would call, usually early in the morning, to sing “Happy Birthday” to the one celebrating, and we always tried to have a family meal sometime around the birthday. Family time is important to us, and we have been incredibly blessed to live close to our extended family so that we could be together for these fun occasions.
Within four weeks, we celebrate three birthdays each year in January and February. So, when the next birthday came on February 16, 2017, we had planned a family dinner on Friday the 17th. But everything changed on February 16th. Continue reading “New morning, new mercies!”
By Sheri Ellington
Like many others, we are facing our first Christmas without close family members. My mom and my husband’s brother died this year. She died after a short battle with cancer, and he died at the hands of a murderer. Both sides of our family are hurting. Each person is dealing with the grief in his own way. If you are in a similar situation this Christmas, dealing with the mixed emotions that come with grief and holiday festivities, my prayer is that this will be a blessing to you.
First of all, it is helpful to acknowledge that we all grieve differently, and that we cannot look at others from the outside and know how they are coping on the inside. From my own experience and observation, there are many ways to process grief. Some cry, while some are quiet; some stay busy and try to get out of the house as much as possible, while some long to withdraw into isolation and avoid all celebrations.
There is no magic formula for grieving, but there is a Godly and biblical way to grieve: with hope.
By Sheri Ellington
If you’ve followed my story thus far, you know that my family has experienced much loss over the past year. Reaching out to our extended families, I can count nine who have died. The closest to me was my mom. The closest to my husband was his brother. Both sides of our family are grieving, but not like those without hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Praise the Lord for the hope we have in Jesus Christ! Still, dealing with the grief is a daily battle, and our first holiday without these two proved to be a tougher battle than I reckoned it would be.
By Sheri Ellington
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
If you’ve ever been encouraged to memorize scriptures, then you have to love verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:16 and 17! “Rejoice always,” “pray without ceasing!” Got it! Two verses memorized! Maybe we should add verse 18 since it is part of the same sentence (notice the commas, not periods, at the end of verses 16 and 17): “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Three verses, one sentence, twenty-two words
Why is this statement in 1 Thessalonians so important?
By Patricia Ellington
I am Patricia Ellington, Tommy’s mother.
First of all, I have good news for you: God loves you!
Next, I want you to know that I have forgiven whoever shot and killed my son, Tommy Ellington, because I know who we are dealing with, but I do expect justice.
That was the easy part. Now for the hard part: