Have You Seen? {December 30, 2018}

Welcome to Have You Seen? We’ll review last week and share other posts from around the web. Enjoy rest and renewal while you cozy up for some soul-food reading.

Interested in submitting a guest post to Velvet Ashes? Make sure you check out our Submissions page to see what themes we have coming up and the spots we have open!

We truly believe our community is “Better Together”. This year’s campaign goal is to raise $25,000 to fuel the impact of our not-for-profit organization in the coming year.

Thank you so much to those who have already given! We are excited to report we have raised $13,202.00 so far! Make sure you head over to our Better Together page for live updates. It’s definitely not too late if you haven’t given yet, and you can help us reach our goal before December 31st at midnight EST!

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MAP Global is a support agency that exists for the callings of its individual partners. Providing all of the services of a traditional sending agency, MAP Global is different in that our org. chart is upside down with your ministry and calling at the top.  If you are entrepreneurial, pioneering and obediently following God as He leads you into new territory, MAP Global might be the perfect fit for you! Check out MAPGlobal.org for details and use promo code “Velvet” to receive 50% off of when submitting the Partnership Application.

Last Week’s Theme: Treasured Up 

Not Home for the Holidays by M’lynn Taylor—”You won’t be home for Christmas. There won’t be snow or mistletoe, and maybe no presents under the non-existent tree. Is it time for a pity party? No! And, if you’re tempted to throw one (or you’re right in the middle of one) I’d say it’s time for an intentional rearranging of thoughts. To encourage you to think outside the box this year and find a way to intentionally mark the day and celebrate our Savor’s birth, I’d like to share about three different Christmases from my time overseas that happened in different cities with completely different people over the course of several years. Different…but all very special to me.”

Merry Christmas from Velvet Ashes by Velvet Ashes Team—”Jesus, the Light of the World, as we celebrate your birth, may we begin to see the world in the light of the understanding you give us. As you chose the lowly, the outcasts, and the poor to receive the greatest news the world had ever known, so may we worship you in meekness of heart. May we also remember our brothers and sisters less fortunate than ourselves in this season of giving.”

Treasuring Christ In Fear or Famine by Lily—”Treasures have a way of shaping our longings. My longings will never be fully satisfied in this life between the first Advent and Advent, the Sequel (as a friend of mine calls it). If we consider them rightly these longings are our friends. In Christ they become gentle teachers, teaching us how to long…who to long for. In Christ, longings also teach us to expect fulfilment. They won’t be with us forever…their job is to point us to the One who is. Once He appears, longings will forever disappear. Then we will see with our eyes the depths of his riches and we will taste his eternal generosity.”

Unexpected Christmas Treasure by Jodie Pine—”Gazing out the frosty kitchen window from our third floor apartment, something caught my eye down by the trash cans. It was the word LOVE stamped out in the snow. I paused to consider the wonder of this unexpected message, and its almost magical appearance. I thought about our hardworking trash collector, who filled up his wheelbarrow with neighborhood garbage countless times each day. He was the only one in the courtyard, long before the sun came up, when I first discovered the snow. For him to be the first to receive the message of LOVE would have been like those common shepherds from long ago–honored and esteemed as the first to hear the Good news of Great joy for All people, from the astonishing announcement of a choir of angels.”

A Virtual Scrapbook of Grace {The Grove: Treasured Up} by Sarah Hilkemann—”Maybe 2018 was a hard year for you. You’re not ready to tuck the snapshots of the last 12 months into your mental scrapbook as symbols of a joyful season. Maybe you’d rather just flip the calendar and hope for a fresh start in the new year. I get it. This year was difficult for me, an emotional roller-coaster with lots of uphill battles and valley disappointments. There was loneliness, pain, moments of feeling misunderstood, and the loss of loved ones, routines and a dream or two.”

From Around the Web

A Christmas Hymn

First Coming: A Poem for Christmastime

When It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

The Pain of Christmas

Fresh Ideas for Your Year-End Updates

Finally, Ragamuffin Glory

And Now for Next Week

The theme is….

pondering velvet ashes

“In a world of noise, confusion and conflict it is necessary that there be places of silence, inner discipline, and peace. In such places love can bloom”. 

Thomas Merton

As we wrap up the Christmas season and count down the days and hours to a new year, this is a wonderful time to pause and reflect. After the birth of Jesus, Mary didn’t just tuck away those experiences but she kept meditating on them.

What are you pondering?

How has God stretched you and refined you in this last year? What are you asking of Him in 2019? Let’s ponder together, reflecting on the changes, joys and struggles of this last season. Let’s give space for silence and peace to flood. Share your insights and reflections with us at the Grove, and on Instagram with the hashtag #VelvetAshesPondering.

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