Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Tag: Christmas (page 1 of 6)

Navigating Christmas: Lost

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

At least that what’s Andy Williams sings.

For some it is, but for others, it’s anything but. Rocky roads filled with in-laws, overly stretched budgets, and too many activities can take their toll.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to look at a few common obstacles we encounter while on those long road trips out to see family and look at how those challenges can be the same as those we face this time of year.

If you’re anything like me, one of the biggest roadblocks to getting where I need to be is me. More specifically, put me in a state that doesn’t have towering mountains that act like a large compass and I’m completely sunk. In fact, even when driving somewhere new in my mountainous hometown, one of the first things I do before setting out is to plug the address into my GPS.

I’m typically not a conspiracy-theory type, but there times a few years ago that I wondered if there was a secret cahoots between the navigation folks and the oil company. I’d be on my way, going down a main thoroughfare, when suddenly the voice informed me to turn right.

“But I know it’s further across town,” I’d think although I was heading someone I’d never gone to before.

“In 200 feet, turn right,” she repeated.

Being the ever dutiful person, I obeyed. The voice took me on a loop through a neighborhood and spit me back onto the major road I had turned off of minutes before–in the same exact spot!

“What are you doing?” I not-so-quietly asked the non-human that was providing me with directions. Not surprisingly, she didn’t respond. So the next time she told me how to get to my destination, I took a different approach. That’s polite talk for saying I got myself so royally confused I had no concept as to where I was.

I tend to get lost more often in December, whether that’s as I drive the kids to an outdoor skating rink we’ve never been to or heading to someone’s house to deliver some cookies. But I also get lost in a different sense. Sometimes its because I fret too much over to what to buy those I cherish. Other times its from trying to tackle the longer than normal to-do list. Other days it comes from wanting this time of year to draw me closer to the Messiah, yet I find myself preoccupied with things that just don’t matter.

Yet as I drive at night or sit on the couch nestled by my tree, the lights serve as a quiet reminder–a navigation pointing me back to Truth.

I am the light of the world.” John 8:12

Sometimes, this sense of being lost extends beyond the garland and mistletoe. A slow drift from the deep love we once held for that Light leaves us feeling too far away to even ask that inner GPS to lead and guide.

You already know that I’ve had words with my GPS before. Too many times to count, actually. But here’s the thing: the GPS has never responded back. Ever. Not even on the times when I thought I knew better and refused to follow it’s directions. No,

“Stacy, what are you doing? Why don’t you just listen to me?”

or

“How dumb can you possibly be?”

Sure, I have it coming, but the recorded voice doesn’t say it.

So if you find yourself lost, take some time to reorient yourself with the purest and truest GPS ever–that which promises to live in us to lead and direct.

Stacy Voss

What about you? What do you do when you lose your way? 

3 Ways Santa Proves Jesus’ Existence

3 Ways Santa Proves Jesus' Existence

Image Courtesy MorgueFile: Xenia

“Gabe, do you believe in Santa because I think . . . ” My 13 year-old said these words the other day. Yes, 13. That age where they know everything–everything but to make sure the filter between head and mouth is in effect.

The internal sirens signaled.

Do. Something. Now.

No one, not even a beloved daughter, was going to push my Bubba off the cliff of belief in a jolly but fictitious guy a few days before his big event.

My face instantly contorted into that “don’t you dare ruin anything” position, staring her down in the hopes of conveying this silent but urgent message.

My immediate reaction–a fear-like response that the truth was about to be divulged–helped me see how Santa helps prove Jesus’ existence. I know many don’t promote Santa in their homes, but whatever your stance on the bowl of jelly guy, just hear me out for a minute.

Think about all of the secrecy of Santa, the lectures between parents and older siblings making them promise to not spill the beans or the quick changing of subjects when kids start asking too many questions about how one guy can be in every mall across America at the same time. Think about the great efforts taken to ensure young children don’t figure it out. In my house, that means buying wrapping paper that is only used for the Santa presents and writing names on gifts with my left-hand to disguise my handwriting.

Even Chicken Soup for the Soul puts in their guidelines that anything submitted for their Christmas books must be Santa-friendly. Norad tracks the guy’s flight and calculates the number of presents delivered.

If ever there was a conspiracy theory, this is it and we know it. Some refuse to play along, while most do. Regardless of your views on St. Nicholas, the reality is that, well, there is no reality anymore involving St. Nick.

1. Shh

Think about the great efforts taken to make sure our littles keep believing and compare that with everything stated in the Bible. When you read instances of Jesus saying, “Shh, don’t tell anyone,” it is entirely different than when we recite the Santa-promoting code. Jesus’ version of “Shh” always came after He healed someone. Yes, it was entirely true that He performed miracles, but the reason He came to earth could not be confined to healing people of their diseases.

He came to heal our hearts, to reconcile us to himself by laying down His life.

2. Evolution


(BuzzFeed Video, found on YouTube)

Let’s admit it. This jolly fellow has changed quite a bit over the years. In fact, one source says he really wasn’t even a happy guy to begin with. Hundreds of years after he died, the clothing he purportedly wore while alive changed. Same with his name, demeanor and entire approach of gifting.

Then there’s Jesus. Yes, He referred to himself by different names while on earth, and those references remain to this day, but new titles haven’t emerged. Jesus didn’t become St. Joseph or Patty or dare I say it, Kris Kringle.

Our perception of Jesus remains much the same as it did thousands of years ago. Yes, some dare approach Him with more familiarity than our predecessors, but the overall perspective remains.

3. Purpose

Santa’s name and appearance weren’t the only things that have changed over the years. His purpose did, too. Originally said to have given coins to 2-3 people throughout his entire lifetime, as the centuries passed, we created an image of someone whose sole purpose was to give every child on the face of the planet the perfect present.

It is here that I must give pause, for many have attempted to believe a modified version of Jesus’ purpose on earth. “He was a good man,” they say. Yes, without a doubt. In fact, we’ll say Good with a capital G, but Jesus never came to win the good-award.

He came to win you and me, not because we deserve it, but simply because He is so filled with love that He is Love, He couldn’t help but pour that love out in the most lavish of ways for our benefit.

So as the decorations come down in the next few weeks, try separating out fact from fiction. Pack away the Santa ornaments and figurines with the myths, but let the Truth remain year-long, the Truth of a love so rich, so intentional, so beyond our comprehension that it puts the story-book romances to shame. Let this love story become yours and mine, for like the many gifts under the trees, it will only be appreciated once opened and utilized.

Merry Christmas!

Stacy Voss

Nonsensical Peace

This is undoubtedly the oddest pre-Christmas post ever. Then again, this has been the oddest pre-Christmas for me ever. This past week I didn’t meet with a funeral director. Nor did I talk to the cops. Not even a judge. And somehow, these things I didn’t do come to define this past week as better than the ones preceding it.

Yes, odd. Yes, painful. Surreal and whirling. And if there’s a Santa, please leave me an off button under the tree, for I’ve been on this crazy ride for much too long.

So here’s the odd post, written by me, for me. Those of you living in the odd-season, desperately wanting it to stop or hoping things would return to normal–whatever in the world that might possibly mean–can listen in.

A doe crossed the path no more than ten feet in front of me last week. Crossed really doesn’t describe it, for it wasn’t a “why did the deer cross the path” kind of thing. Leapt is more like it. Gazelle-like. Full of grace (something I admire, probably because my lack thereof).

I’d been running, but how does one possibly go on running after seeing such a stunning sight? I stood, hand over heart, gaping in amazement. And then he came. You know, Mr. Buck. He wasn’t as carefree as the doe, flitting across without a care. No. Mr. Buck stared me down as if to question if I would somehow use my water bottle as a weapon. Um, no sir. My hand rests against my heart only because I’m admiring your beauty.

He walked across the path, looking at me while he did. The doe kept gazelling along, careless, oblivious. Mr. Buck, however, remained aware of my presence, eyeing me continually while catching up to the doe. As she seemed to do her “I have no cares” dance through the fields, he approached her and ever so gently guided her with his antlers. She didn’t mind, at least didn’t appear to. It wasn’t a forceful push, just a tap that led her to the scrub brush. Within seconds, I could no longer see her whatsoever. I knew she was there, yet she was completely hidden from view. Same with Mr. Buck.

Almost.

All I could see of him were the tips of his antlers poking out from the brush. While she was completely safe, Mr. Buck would still have been in jeopardy if I were an armed hunter.

And then the thought, the quiet whispering into my soul that made me gape in even more amazement than at what I had just beheld:

“Don’t you see, my child? That’s how I feel about you. That’s what I do for you. Give me your cares, child. Let me protect you. Hide in the shelter of my wings, for it is there that you find refuge.”

I’d like to say I’ve fully accepted that offer, that sweet, generous gift of letting me flit about yet again while One much stronger, more powerful, and One who fully loves and accepts me offers me refuge. Sometimes I have, or perhaps just a bit more than before. Other days, like now, I look more like Mr. Buck, watching over my shoulder, fearful or just plain overwhelmed. But as we finish wrapping presents, there is one I want to unwrap now. Today.

Rest.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1

With my world swirling the way it is, I make no promises if I’ll be back on here before Christmas. If not, I pray it is rich and full of God’s mercies and blessings. But perhaps more than that, for you and for me, I pray we find comfort, rest, and nonsensical peace.

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