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The Christmas season has been a little different for us this year.  Being still in a place of the transitioning of our home, (continuing to press in and ask the Lord to sell our house in Pawleys would LOVE for you to join us in that) we have found ourselves during this season celebrating the holidays with our “stuff” being back in Pawleys while being surrounded by borrowed things in the place we are staying in “Atlanta.”

Last year I spent lots of time bringing out all the Christmas items and decorating things around the house. Things that come out year to year and have a staple in our home. The tree decorations, the nativity, the kids ornament boxes that hold memories since the day they were born.  These posessions currently sit in our attic and I long for the day soon that they will abide in our new place of residents.  Somehow when we transitioned in November I was not even thinking about grabbing the Christmas things we would need.

Rhodes Christmas

But in the loss of what was and things left there is a huge blessing in the what is, and things new.  When we walked back into the house we are living in, after Thanksgiving it was entirely decorated for Christmas.   It was such a wonderful sweet surprise and our family has enjoyed this particular Christmas season enjoying the beauty, the blessing and the generosity of others.  Not sure how many hours Carol and Don worked to put it all together but we certainly have been enjoying their traditions and their special things.

Carol and Don

But most of all, what we as a family have come to realize most this season… is that when you strip away possessions you almost always find yourself clinging on to the things that matter most.

Because we’ve not had to spend time decorating the house, we’ve spent much more time this month gathered to family and lots of intentional time doing things that well in the past we’ve just never had time to do.  We’ve baked and decorated Christmas cookies, we’ve made cards, we’ve searched for our elf Fidek each morning who get this…actually moves around each day to a new location and does not sit in one place for a good part of the week with kids wondering why. And we have spent time daily to gather around the advent candles as we’ve pressed into the journey of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love and what that means to us as a family right now.

Rhodes Christmas 2

Hope – “What could be”  – We are overwhelmed by excitement and HOPE this time in our lives as each day we get glimpses of what could be.  Pressing into HOPE for us has been important step in the transition process.  Ever feel without HOPE?  Regardless of any circumstance you might be experiencing it’s good to remind yourself of His HOPE for you and that He has a plan for you.  We have much Hope.

Peace – “Shalom – A sense of well being.” For us right now there is still lots of Chaos in our lives.  Ever feel that Chaos surrounds you? We are living in a new place, kids are in new schools, we have not sold our house yet, we are still using map quest to get from one place to another.   But what we continue to learn is that PEACE is not the same as calm.  So if things seem chaotic for you, instead of trying to find the calm, why not try to fully embrace His PEACE that only He can give. We have much Peace.

Joy – Seeing all Circumstances through the Goodness of God. Even when things happen that could seem to steal your JOY, His Goodness always comes through. Could not be more true for us.  As I look at the amazing community of people that surround us and the mission that is unfolding our family is blown away by His Goodness.  Often I wondered through many transitions through the years how in the circumstance of different things that limit JOY how could they ever turn to good? So is there something that is robbing your JOY?  Why not try to look for the beauty in the brokenness.  It’s in His Goodness that we can see our circumstance differently. We have much Joy.

Love – Relentless giving of ourselves to others.  We will always attempt to live our lives We before Me.  There is no better way to live.  It’s only when you give everything of yourself with complete abandonment to serve others that you can fully be known and loved.  And it’s often when you give of yourself… is when you receive the most in return.  And it’s in the transaction of giving your life away that you realize others are giving their lives for you.  Still overwhelmed at the way people have loved on us and have leveraged themselves for us. Is there someone you need to show LOVE to this time of year?  Is there a place that you need to open yourself up to, to be shown LOVE? It all starts with relentless giving.  We have much Love.

As we evaluate our first few months in this next season of life we have found that Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are not only things we feel we’ve been able to step into but also what we have been able to receive in abundance in the larger family on mission we find ourselves in here in Atlanta. Which going into this new year we have so much to be thankful for.  We have much thanks.

Not sure how this Christmas season has fallen on your family and loved ones but praying for each of you that Hope, Peace, Love and Joy would find you.  That you would be known by them as you give your life and also that they would welcome you as you engage and receive from others.

Wishing you a VERY Merry Christmas.  Much HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE to you. – The Rhodes Family