Emily began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to freelance write. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com
With the cooler temps breezing into the Midwest, I am getting extremely excited for the season ahead, enjoying parties, Thanksgiving, and….
Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because it is when us Christians get to joyfully celebrate and remember when our Savior King left His throne, came down to earth, and became Emmanuel, God with us!
My family and I also enjoy all the rest of the typical Christmas traditions such as decorating a tree, gift giving, and tons of yummy food with family.
Another favorite thing we always do is pull out all of the wonderful Christmas movies and reminisce over all the past holiday seasons throughout the years.
Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas…the classics!
And I am thrilled to hear that another great movie adapting a very familiar classic story is hitting the Big Screen today, just in time for the holidays...
...Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms!
The film is a wonderful kick-off to the holiday season and has themes of courage, love and family throughout it.
ABOUT THE MOVIE:
All Clara (Mackenzie Foy) wants is a key – a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a box that holds a priceless gift. A golden thread, presented to her at godfather Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual holiday party, leads her to the coveted key—which promptly disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. It’s there that Clara encounters a soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and the regents who preside over three Realms: Land of Snowflakes, Land of Flowers and Land of Sweets. Clara and Phillip must brave the ominous Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve Clara’s key and hopefully return harmony to the unstable world. Starring Keira Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Disney’s new holiday feature film “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” is directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston, and inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic tale.
Check out this featurette below!
Family Traditions Special Featurette: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
Family Traditions Special Featurette: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40: 1-2, HCSB).
God will use pretty much anything to get your attention, so He can get a message across to you sometimes. The other day I was just having a really rough day and was struggling to find joy. While I was looking up the weather forecast online, hoping maybe it would be warm and sunny to help brighten my gloomy day, a story headline caught my eyes- “He Pulled It From the Mud,” it read in bold letters.
Immediately, one of my favorite passages from the Psalms came to my mind: Psalm 40: 1-3, specifically verse 2: “He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure.”
This truth is at the core of my personal testimony of how God changed my life completely and transformed my hardened clay heart into a vessel He could us for His glory! For many years, I chose to live in the pit of my sin and self-destruction, even though I was completely miserable and full of so much pain from my terrible life choices. I struggled with alcohol abuse, sexual sin, pride, and was plagued by anxiety and depression. Then one glorious day, I cried out to the Lord, He heard my cry, and He helped me out of my pit!
Then I realized that this truth is the core of every believer’s story!
When we cry out the name of Jesus, the Father reaches down into our slimy pit of sin and pulls our life from the mud, the filth of this world, and He gives us a new heart and begins to transform us from the inside out. He pulls us up from the pit of darkness and despair and sets our feet upon the firm foundation of the Rock, Christ Jesus. He not only does all of that, but He helps establish our steps as we learn to walk in faith, hand in hand with Christ. The longer we walk with Jesus, and learn of His of ways as His follower and disciple, we begin to see true life transformation and a deep change of heart.
I believe this is something we must keep at the forefront of our minds at all times to remind us of where God has taken us from. How can we not remain thankful? If you are struggling to find joy today, be grateful that “He pulled it (your life) from the mud!”
Father, thank you for rescuing me from the pit, picking me up out of the miry clay, and setting my feet on solid ground. Help me to always remain thankful for this truth every single day!
Read more: Psalm 91: 14-16; Colossians 1:13
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, HCSB).
For a majority of my life, I was what many would call a “control freak.” It overwhelmed so much of my life that I even tried to control how people related to me, which meant I tried my best to be a people-pleaser. It’s extremely difficult to cultivate authentic and genuine relationships when you are constantly adapting and hiding your true self just to keep others happy and keep the peace.
You can imagine why this would cause anxiety within your soul because you are simply not living honestly- with yourself, with others, or with God. For me, it was just a matter of time before that lifestyle became such a heavy burden upon my shoulders that I could no longer carry. The weight became too much for me that I lived in a constant state of worry and panic.
But one day, Jesus’ words in Matthew 11 beckoned me to come to Him and give Him all of the heaviness I was trying to carry on my own.
I must admit, when I first read His words to “take up [His] yoke” to find rest, I was hesitant. How would taking upon a yoke around my neck bring me rest? I pictured an ox plowing a field with a wooden yoke around its head, and the image didn’t bring about thoughts of peace and rest, but more exhaustion. I saw a yoke as bondage.
But that is the beauty of Jesus’ words and the beauty of the Kingdom of God that operates differently than the world’s system. Where I initially saw bondage by surrendering my control, God was revealing to me that His yoke is actually a tool He uses to help us move forward in the destiny that He has for our lives.When we yoke ourselves together with Jesus, He carries the load upon His shoulders and His peace and rest comes into our lives.CLICK TO TWEETHis grace carries us while we walk along side of Him, connected to Him, trusting His ways over our own.
Over time, God has taught me to run to Him first and trust Him with every single detail of my life, including my relationships. When the cares of this life try to overwhelm me and bring stress and anxiety, instead of taking matters into my own hands, I must remember to come to Him every day for rest and peace. Thankfully, His peace surpasses all understanding and is unlike anything else this world can offer us.
Father, show me areas of my life that I have been trying to control- areas that are bringing unnecessary burdens that You do not intend for me to carry. Lord, I run into Your arms and gladly take upon Your yoke, knowing that You alone bring me the rest that my soul needs.