The Catching Days

Years ago I wrote a poem called “The Sandcastle Days” capturing life with little kids at the beach. Seeing our kids discover and fall in love with such a special place to me was like unwrapping an all-time favorite gift for the first time.

Seven years later, our family spent fall break at that same beach, and I remembered the poem and read it to the kids. They laughed seeing their pictures: short and sandy legs, little shovels, colored floaties, round cheeks and big smiles. It made me cry, not because I miss those days, but because I am thankful to be their mom and see them grow into who they are.

At ages 11, 9 and 7, life looks so different now. That season paved the way for this one. And this one is special in a totally different way; it’s the sweet spot between toddler and teenager, between diapers and driving. The kids are old enough for adventures, but too young to go on them without us. They are curious, responsible and relational, but their favorite people are still us.

Their ages were my favorite of childhood, so to see this season through their eyes is a precious gift. With full and fast days, it’s a gift I rarely have time to reflect on. So I decided at the beach that the “Sandcastle Days” needed a sequel. I asked Mary, John and Anna what they would name this season of life. They thought about it and Mary quickly replied, “These are the Catching Days!”

I hope you enjoy:

The Catching Days

Mom, I caught one,
Come and see!
Another crab,
Aren’t you proud of me?

We caught some fish way out there,
We swim out deep; we are not scared.
But you’re the first one we show
When we’ve caught something on our own.

I caught a lizard in my net,
Can I make it a habitat?
I will fill it with some grass,
I learned how in Science class.

Here comes a wave, we can catch it,
Will you watch us ride?
Come on out, you won’t get cold
Or caught up in that tide.

We’ll catch a wave, a joke, a ball,
A thought you have that’s not so small,
Sand dollars, jellyfish,
The wonder of a great big wish.

Throw out some humor—it’s contagious,
Deep thoughts to us are not outrageous.
Our minds are the perfect combination
Of reality and imagination.

Crab hunts,
Bike rides,
Dance parties,
Water slides,
Snorkeling, paddle boats, and more,
These things are no longer beyond our shore.

Sandbars are a celebration,
Shirley Temples on occasion,
We’ll write a story, draw you a picture,
Cook our lunch as an adventure.

Broken bones and injuries
Will keep us praying on our knees,
But momma can sleep in peace at night
Knowing childhood hearts have cares still light.

Please tuck us in, I know it’s late
But we still have so much to say.
And you’re the one that we want there
To hear our stories and our prayers.

Our afternoons, they are so crazy
With all the many sports,
Beach days to us, they are amazing
Team Taylor and sand forts.

One team, but we each now
Have different things to say
Listen to our hearts,
Catch them if you may:

Can I wear your shoes?
Mom, I think they’ll fit me!
Balderdash, I can play
Though you may still outwit me.

Both little lady and big kid,
To grow up, I’m so ready.
Please remind me in this in between
That your love is steady.

Dad, will you play catch with me?
Let’s go and throw the ball
Baseball, football, any sport
You want to coach this fall

Don’t I look so tough
In my catcher’s gear?
Hey Dad, can I sit with you?
It’s awesome when you’re near!

I try so hard
To catch up,
At least I’m older
Than the pup

Catch me in a photograph,
My missing teeth will make you laugh.
But my smile will light your world,
I’ll always be your little girl.

These days are full and oh so fast,
Action packed, they are a blast.
Not much time to take them in,
But I wonder if when we get to the end…
If all life’s days came passing by,
If these are the ones we’d want to hold tight.

The sun is setting on this season
Which is one of many reasons
To catch the gift of this day,
To pause, listen, and hear God say…
It’s a delight to invite you to share my view,
And with you, momma, I smile,
How sweet to agree, it’s amazing to see—
The becoming of your child.

Embracing 40

I have been incredibly blessed my entire life to be pretty healthy. I have participated in many sports and never had injuries.  I have never broken a bone or gone to the E.R. as a patient.  

And then I turned 40. That’s right! It’s a game changer. My 4th grade daughter had an end-of-year soccer scrimmage with the moms of the team, and having played soccer in high school, I went all in. Until, that is…I went all out. Will carried me off the field. Something in my knee just snapped while kicking the ball. It was so surprising and painful! Turns out, I tore my ACL.

I have been wearing a knee brace to keep it steady. While an inconvenience, the experience has been just as surprising as the injury itself. In the halls of the school where I work, people see the brace from a distance and rush to ask what’s wrong. Then they almost always proceed to tell me a story about their own knee injury or their child’s injury or any injury they’ve overcome. These stories are amazing! What people have overcome is so inspiring. And none of them are still wearing a brace, which encourages me so much. They all share a deep gratitude for being on the other side of it, for running and walking, and for what I have perhaps always taken for granted.  

The limp isn’t the only thing slowing me down. It’s connecting with people and hearing their stories. There are people I’ve known very well, but never knew this part of their life. The slower pace has felt less productive, but perhaps more fruitful.  

This past weekend my husband and I were staying in a hotel, and I decided to take off the brace to walk out to the pool. It’s the first time I had been without it. The strange thing about an ACL tear is that it is an invisible, internal injury. The ACL is what holds the knee together. So at any time, one misstep could blow the entire knee. But strangely, the knee looks perfectly normal on the outside with no swelling or bruising. I made my way to the glass pool door…please let that kid hold it open…and it slammed in my face. I walked over to the towel rack…please let that man just hand it to me...and he quickly turned to walk away. Without the brace, no one knows my struggle. They see me as okay and healthy. But that’s not the reality right now. I am, as my doctor said, “very unsteady.” 

And this has made me wonder how many people around us are one step away from things blowing up. How many have an invisible hurt and need a simple helping hand from those around them to walk through the doors that are right in front of them?

I’ve been that person, and I’m eternally grateful for the people who wanted to know and love more than the healthy exterior, who lingered and pressed in, and who graciously walked my limping self to our Healer. I am thankful for the people who wore their hurts outwardly and shared their victory stories openly without even knowing they were ministering to me. Jesus says it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. Sometimes those who are the most sick look healthy. This experience has opened my eyes. 

My word for 2021 that I prayed about back in January is “weakness.” I know that’s a strange word, but the prayer behind it was not to operate in my own strength (my default), but to let God’s power be made perfect in my weakness. In my sunroom is posted the scripture, 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

When I choose a word for the year, God is often faithful to see to it that I live it experientially. My knee injury has taught me some things that I wanted to share:

  • When you wear your weakness, you receive the gift of surprising compassion, meet new friends and are invited into people’s stories.
  • People’s injury stories are often the most interesting part about them. Press in and get to know them.
  • The things we hope will never happen are often the things that teach us the most in life.
  • Freely share your stories of victory and overcoming, never knowing who they may be encouraging. Someone is always in need of hearing them.
  • Have compassion on everyone, regardless of exterior strength. 

And, finally, as my wise co-worker in his 50’s said, 

  • When you get older, you need to move in one direction at a time. 

While making me laugh, that is great wisdom on every level. I have changed direction from a soccer player to a soccer momma. Now, that is something to embrace!

A Weary World Rejoices

My kids giggled and iced cookies while I paced the kitchen anxiously glancing at the phone that lay face up on the counter. 

They heaped on more icing for the Santa Claus who was about to fail them while I smiled and tried to hide my panic. 

It was 7:30pm on Christmas Eve, and what was planned to be the most magical Christmas morning ever was turning into a complete disaster.

“Allllllll we want for Christmas is a puppy!!!” The kids exclaimed. “We don’t even want any toys!”

Not a single toy had been purchased. It was magically simple. An empty crate eagerly awaited a puppy’s arrival with a homemade sign that read:

The kids had no idea just how precious Sammy Taylor was yet, but Will and I knew. We had planned so far ahead that we were able to choose the first pick of the litter. The smallest puppy of the bunch, he had a little white spot on his head and curled right up in my lap and fell asleep. He was for sure our Sammy. 

Will planned his sleigh ride to Birmingham to pick him up after the kids went to bed. They would wake up to see him jump out of a box under the Christmas tree. A most perfect plan.

And at 7:30 on Christmas Eve 2019, that precious eight-week-old puppy was with our breeder at the emergency vet. 

“It’s not good,” she had said with a shaky voice hours earlier. Her phone call at 2pm came as a total surprise. I stumbled off the ice skating rink to talk in private away from the kids.  

“We lost another one to this rare esophagus complication, and yours has been throwing up all day. I am taking him to get an x-ray and we’ll see if he has it. If he does, we will have to put him down tonight…”

I glanced at my kids as they skated in joy and felt as if my head had just come crashing down on that cold, hard ice. 

I don’t remember what came out of my mouth, but I’m sure my sweet breeder does.

“I am so sorry,” she said. “This is very unusual.”

I hung up the phone in a swirl of disbelief…mourning the death of a dream, the possible loss of that precious puppy, the painful surrender of all control, the bewilderment that all of my well-laid plans could be fruitless, and the anger over the worst possible timing. 

Little did I know, that moment was a great preparation for 2020! Haven’t we all had to sit in that tailspin? And more than once. Perhaps we are still in it. 

And we wait. We wait like I did for the remainder of that Christmas Eve. We wait in the middle of a story wondering how it will end, and knowing it is completely out of our hands. We wait in a wrestle of fear and hope. 

At 8pm, we received the news we’d been awaiting. I dashed to my ringing phone, heart beating…

“He’s perfect!” She shouted. “It was just a little bug.”

I exhaled, dropped to my knees, then started dancing in the kitchen, eating icing so as not to scream! 

Christmas morning felt like Easter to Will and me as we watched that little puppy jump out of his box! 

I can laugh about it now. And as I reflect on that story and prepare for another Christmas, I ponder what game-changing news I am waiting to hear. 

“COVID-19 is over!”

“You can hug everyone without a mask!”

“World peace has arrived.”

There are many words. 

But as I reflect on my fears and hopes and dig a little deeper, I find a refreshing peace in the words that have already been spoken. 

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”(‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬)


“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬)


“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I’ve called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1)

We get excited at Christmas to celebrate Christ’s first arrival as we eagerly await His coming again and reflect on His last words,

“Yes, I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20)

The words of one of my favorite Christmas songs, Oh Holy Night, ring true:

“The thrill of hope, a weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

In our weariness, we wait. We rejoice in a hope that doesn’t disappoint no matter what we face today. 

We don’t know when He will return, but we know it will be beyond what we can even dream or imagine. No more sickness, no more death, no more pain. 

While Jesus is beyond comparison, our response may be similar to Anna’s when she first met Sammy. She knew she would love her puppy, but she was shocked that Sammy loved her. As he tackled her with kisses, she squealed in delight and disbelief, “He likes me! He loves me!” I imagine that’s how it will be when we meet Jesus face to face. We’ll be blown away by how much He actually likes and loves us.  

Weary, we wait. Hopeful, we rejoice…and trust that moment will come with perfect timing beyond our current understanding. 

Like a puppy arriving right before quarantine. 

Merry Christmas!

Tiger Woods and Notre Dame

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Tiger Woods coming back to victory…Notre Dame burning down to ashes…none of it expected…all of it last Sunday. As I watched the newscast, I was captivated…in one scene the real-time destruction of a holy and magnificent place thousands have visited over the centuries, and in another, the amazing athletic comeback of an individual.

I found my reaction to the simultaneous scenes to be surprising. I had the privilege of visiting Paris and Notre Dame at age 18. It was spectacular. It was one of the many cathedrals I visited in that time of my travel abroad. I did not personally know the love of Jesus Christ at the time. I stood there staring under those very large ceilings in awe of a God bigger than me; in awe of the care, the detail, the history. As beautiful as it was, and with all due respect, my time in this breathtaking place did not change or transform my heart. But I watched flames engulf this iconic landmark in real time with my mouth wide open.

Notre Dame is a place I’ve personally been. My feet have walked there. Tiger is a man I’ve never met, a complete stranger. Yet, if we’re honest, we’ve all walked in his footsteps, haven’t we? The success, the highs, the mistakes, the shame, the behind-the-scenes effort when no one else is looking, the loss of loved ones, the injury, the despair, the perseverance, the come back…those footsteps have touched and transformed us as we’ve personally walked them.

Over the last decade as we’ve watched Tiger’s legacy burn much like the cathedral of Notre Dame, there’s one scene we probably all remember off the course. It was his wife hitting his car with a golf club after finding out his unfaithfulness.

So as I watched the newscast, my fingers started typing…there was one burning question…it surprisingly wasn’t the cause of the fire in Paris. It was, where was Elin, Tiger’s ex-wife, the mother of the son who hugged him tight? Having missed the Masters and having been out of the loop since that golf club incident, I was frantically googling if she was there. Was she proud of him? Was there ever reconciliation? Was she cheering in her heart? What happened with all of that mess?

The athletic comeback is so inspiring. There’s nothing like these stories. We’ve seen it with Tiger; we’ve seen it with Michael Phelps…the talent, the fall, the lonely moments in the shadows, then the growth, wisdom and unshakeable determination that drives the comeback, of more value to victory than sheer talent. All that to say, I couldn’t help but think of Elin. The question ran through my mind; why did I care so much?

I think it’s because when everything else burns away at the end of time, we are left with the people we love, the people in our lives, our family, our marriage. Those are the places where we’re really cheering for a comeback. If we look through the rubble and ash of our life stories, I think what we long to see resurrected the most are the hearts of loved ones. We long for miraculous reconciliation where there has been fracture. We deeply desire to hear the genuine words, “I’m sorry” and “I forgive you.”

Buildings will burn, success will be forgotten, and we are left with our relationships with each other and God. We are so much His treasure that He says our hearts are the place His Holy Spirit now dwells. We are the temples of the living God. Perhaps that’s why my heart was drawn to the comeback of Tiger more than the burning of Notre Dame in that moment.

There’s little I could find about Elin last Sunday. It didn’t appear she was there. And that’s okay. Theirs is not my story to write, far more complex than I can see, and redemption doesn’t always come in the way we would script it or want it to look. It belongs to God, not to us. But I think my desperate desire to find a photo of her cheering for Tiger perhaps points to our deepest hope. For our defining moments not to be the ones of betrayal, for a love that is bigger than our mistakes, for the people we’ve hurt up close and the God we’ve betrayed to, by the miracle of grace, still want to pull for us.

I can understand why Elin hit Tiger with a golf club. I understand the desire to hit people over the head too. I also know that I’ve broken the Lord’s heart like that. I know the anger I deserve for some of the poor choices I’ve made.

What’s harder to understand is grace.

In this startling picture of Notre Dame after the fire, the cross remained.

IMG_2596Isn’t that breathtaking? Jesus doesn’t beat us over the head. He doesn’t walk away either. He does the unthinkable…He stands in our place and takes the beating Himself. The earth shook and darkness covered the land in the middle of the day when he died. It was far more gruesome than the scene of that fire. He did it for us. His head hung low so He could lift ours high, not to look away in shame, but to see we are loved far more than we can ever imagine. We’re His treasure, our worth determined by Him, not by our failures and successes. All that’s left of our sin and mess-ups is that cross. At the end of the day, that’s the story. It’s the miracle of the story. It’s the crux of the story.  

But, it’s not the end of the story.

We can look around today and see newness of life and spring everywhere; we can worship the Risen Lord and praise Him for the fullness of grace, for our inheritance, for His victory, for His personal mercy and love, for coming out of that grave to rescue us…

We can also look around and quickly see things that break our heart. Another death, divorce, sickness, the pain of poverty, the struggles of loved ones…

Today we wait in hope knowing this…He deeply cares about the things that break our hearts. And, the story is not over.

There will be a final end to death, grieving, the darkness, pain and tears. The brokenness of this world will be made whole, new…

We celebrate the resurrection and we hang onto Jesus’s last words,

“Yes, I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20)

He has promised us…a comeback. Maybe that’s why it gripped my heart more than the fire on Sunday. Beauty instead of ashes. That’s His promise; that’s our hope.

*photos by AP Images, Getty, EPA, USA Today Sports, CBC News

When Plans Change


This cookie cake sums up our weekend; it turned out to be…not exactly what we envisioned.


Mary was going to write her name in cursive and it was going to say “Jesus loves Mary” in a fancy font just like you’d see in a bakery. We were going to serve it to our entire family gathered together on the eve of her baptism.

As her parents, Will and I were thrilled when she decided she wanted to be baptized. We were baptized almost seven years ago on a somewhat spontaneous trip to the Tennessee River. As friends who had been instrumental in our coming to know Christ looked on and cheered, it was one of the most special days of our entire lives. We felt so alive coming out of that water.


So naturally, we had high hopes for this Sunday, February 10th, as our oldest daughter was ready to take that exciting plunge.

The church video was ready, the family’s plane tickets were booked, the outfit was laid out…and then it hit our home like a freight train. Oh, yes it did—the flu. Anna came down with it first. It was a curveball for sure, but not a total knockout. Then John came down hard. Not only flu, but croup. Our house became a hacking war zone as Will and I ran around with Lysol trying to stay alive. One after another, the family members cancelled their trips.

While we wanted to share Mary’s faith with our loved ones who were ready to cheer her on, we did not want to share the flu with anyone who came near us on this special day. It just seemed all wrong.

This opened the door for a challenging conversation with Mary. We talked about how comforting it is that some things never change, like God’s incredible love for her, whether or not she is even baptized. We talked about His unchanging character and the miracle of our unchanging status with Him in Christ. Then we talked about the things in life that do shift. We wrestled with the fact that sometimes things just don’t make sense. But when we don’t understand why things go wrong, we can trust God and know He must have something better in mind.

Mary agreed to postpone her baptism until May. She was born on the first day of spring and it seems only fitting that our first-day-of-spring baby would be baptized in the spring. Her birthday and baptism date will be tangible reminders that winter ends and new life comes. I don’t know what other parts of the story will unfold or what other details will be tied up, but I do believe it will be just what it should be! There’s a freedom and peace knowing we can’t mess up what God has for her and nothing can increase or decrease His love for our girl.

We spent the morning in our pajamas watching church online and celebrating other people’s baptisms from afar.


The message was about how we often come to God to change our circumstances but He responds by meeting our deepest need: He changes our hearts from the inside out. He offers us grace…and it’s a grace that is sufficient.

The only thing Mary requested is that we still make that cookie cake. We laughed as the blobs of pink icing poured out. And we talked about how just like the cookie cake, our lives are imperfect, downright messy and not exactly what we envision sometimes.

But Jesus says to taste and see that He is good (Psalm 34:8). And through twists and turns and changing plans and letting go of how we may have written the script, I believe He delights in showing us—He is even better than we thought.




A Beautiful Day

Seven years ago, Will’s cousin invited us to the U2 concert in Nashville. We were about to leave town when we got the call that his wife was in labor. And it was not going well. They were headed to Vanderbilt Hospital and said we could come pick up the tickets from them and head over to Vanderbilt stadium.

Should we still even go? With mixed emotions, we hit the road to Nashville anxious to see them in person.

When we got to the hospital, we exchanged hugs as the doctors came up with a plan. Things were unsettled. The elevator doors closed as we parted ways with Will’s cousin, also a physician, who said, “it’s not good.”

With heads hung low, just steps away from that hospital room in the stadium, we waited for U2 to start in silence. Oh, how we wished the seats beside us were filled by the faces we had just seen. We felt guilty for being there and worried. We were waiting for news and praying while trying to make sense of the turn of events. The atmosphere shifted as U2 came on stage and played “Beautiful Day”.  At the exact time the song began, we got the text that baby Dylan had arrived and that momma and baby were healthy and doing great. With happy tears we sang the song at the top of our lungs and texted them a video of Bono’s words echoed by thousands of voices just steps away from that baby boy’s first cry. After the show we got to meet our baby nephew and rejoice in that oh so beautiful day!

It is one I will never forget!

Will and I had tickets to see U2 in Nashville again last night. I woke up thinking about that memory and song. I envisioned a picture of us there steps away from the band with a hashtag #beautifulday. We were ecstatic! Before leaving town, we swung by the pool for a quick dip with our kids. Long story short, Anna (our two-year-old) stepped into a pile of fire ants, and moments later her face was swollen and her throat was closing. We gathered our wet kids and bits and pieces of our stuff and found ourselves speeding to the ER, our whole world spinning, shaking out of control. We held our little girl and prayed to God to keep her alive as she lost her ability to speak.

In just a moment, our universe turned upside-down. The previous script of our day was thrown out the window as we held tightly to our baby girl wanting nothing more than moments with one another. There was something beautiful in that crazy moment of knowing that nothing else mattered. The cares that had previously consumed our morning were gone. We were fully present with each other and with God in the eye of that storm.

As Will rushed Anna into the ER, I parked the car with Mary and John, and a crocodile tear rolled down John’s cheek. “I was really hoping Anna was gonna get to turn 3 and get bigger.” It was, as Will’s cousin had said those seven years ago in front of another set of sliding doors, “not good.” Anna received excellent care and breathing treatments as the adventure continued in an ambulance ride to another hospital where we spent the night in the ICU.


It was a nightmare in the middle of a summer day and all we knew to do was hold tightly to each other and claim God’s promises for our girl. We are so thankful for the love from our family and sweet friends who happened to be there in the moment to help and pray.

As it turns out, my childhood friend who lives in Nashville was able to go to U2 in our place. She texted me this video of that all too familiar song.

The words reminded me of the picture we had seen just hours earlier over the Emergency Room reminding us that God was with our little girl:


“After the flood, all the colors came out…it was a beautiful day!!!”

As I held Anna in that hospital bed, I was overcome with the same feeling Will’s cousin had 7 years before.

Indeed it was.


Anna is doing great and got to eat Skittles for breakfast this morning. She was discharged in hot pink style with an epipen and charge to always wear shoes outside. We have a cautious road ahead, but she’s a happy girl with an even happier momma!


God, thank You for Your mercy. Thanks for waking us up and reminding us of the miracle of life. May we love well, live with purpose, keep perspective, and hug our family. Thanks for the joy in those anticipated moments on our highlight reel that are extraordinary. Thanks also for those unexpected moments we would never write into our script that send us to our knees and reframe the ordinary as beautiful days. In Jesus’ Name we thank You. Amen.



Is there anything like watching a little kid open a present? This was my four-year-old opening a package sent from his grandmother this week.


Oh, the joy!

During the Christmas season we often teach our children about giving, but I believe we have much to learn from our children about receiving.

Because somewhere along the way, as we grow older, we lose the art of it. In the moment John received his power ranger, he didn’t think a minute about paying his grandmother back. He knows he can’t! And I’m pretty sure he didn’t envision writing her a thank you note later like I did. None of that crossed his mind. He was completely fixated on the gift that was now his! And nothing delighted his grandmother more.

There’s a reason families arrange travel plans to be wherever the kids are on Christmas morning. We’ll do anything to be able to see those faces the moment they are overcome by surprise and wonder! We don’t want credit for the gifts; sometimes we even attribute them to a man in a red suit. It’s not about keeping score. We plot and plan and spend without counting the cost because…it’s a joy like none other to watch a child receive a gift.

We love it because, in many ways, we’ve lost it. As adults, we have a harder time receiving. We feel awkward accepting a compliment. We feel uncomfortable when someone gives us a gift and we can’t repay them. We feel unworthy. We’d rather earn it.

We focus our attention this season on giving. And giving is an incredibly beautiful thing. But, as children of God, the birth of Jesus is perhaps more of a time for us to receive. A time to receive a gift with wonder and awe that’s impossible to pay back. A time to receive a love that pursues us relentlessly despite how short we fall. A time to see that we are indeed unworthy, but accepting that somehow we’ve been miraculously—chosen. A time for us to become as Jesus said, “like little children.” (Matthew 18:3)

The birth of Jesus into our lives is a time when our Heavenly Daddy gets to see those of us who know we’ve been tragically naughty receive the gift of extravagant grace with the same foot-stomping excitement that John received his power ranger.

The joy is ours.

The joy is His.

Let earth receive her King!


Dear Lord,

Thank you for the precious joy we get to see in little children this time of year. Please help us learn from them how to anticipate with great hope and how to receive in exuberant joy. Please open our hearts by the power of Your Holy Spirit to receive the extravagant gift of Your Son. Thank you for joyfully receiving us as Your children. May the miracle of grace fall so fresh on us that we can’t help but dance a jig!