Tag Archives: Advent wreath

Great Joy

Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

Joy.  That was part of this morning’s devotional around our Advent wreath.

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When Joseph and Mary held Jesus, they were like any other set of parents….. their hearts were bursting with joy.

nativity cake

I can remember falling in love all over again the moment my two children were placed in my arms for the first time.  That kind of love mixed with joy can not be explained only experienced.


We sing carols exclaiming the joy of the world during this time of the year.  We celebrate that joy.  We capture it and give it to others.

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Joy isn’t only involved in wondrously treasured moments.  Joy can be found in the underlining of every sorrow.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…. James 1:2

As Mary held her baby, she didn’t focus on how God’s plan of salvation would occur.  She focused on the joy that this baby will bring to anyone who possesses grace.


Jesus found joy in the outcome of His death, not the agony He would face.

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Honestly, I never realized that underneath my pain, sorrow and anguish; joy resides.  Joy.  I reflect on trials today….. I want to peel back all that dark unpleasant affliction and find Jesus’ joy.

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My miscarriage…… heartbreaking and painful.  And underneath it is joy because that sweet life was born in heaven and into the arms of Jesus.  Joy because what if something was life threatening and painfully wrong…..my baby never had to suffer.

Mary found it.  Her heart broke under the heavy weight of Jesus’ agonizing death.  Under the confusion and grieving, she found joy in knowing that God’s plan was underway.  She touched the joy when Jesus approached her at the tomb.  She understood the joy knowing that Jesus was alive and at the right side of God.

Joy.  Sweet Joy.

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maundy thursday meal c

What ever you are experiencing right now that is bringing you such agony…. peel back all the yuck and find the joy.  It is there.  Jesus saw it in His trial and death.  If it was there for Him, it is there for us to embrace.


Find it.  Embrace that JOY!

Two Weeks!

Two weeks until Advent begins.  I am so excited!!  I just love the Christmas season.  I sing.  I dance.  I wrap.  I decorate.  I celebrate.  I love.  Yay!!

So like….. I went way back to 2009 and found my post about the Advent wreath.  Hope you enjoy it today…… Hope it inspires you to participate.

The most common symbol of the Advent season is the Advent Wreath.  It can be as simple or elaborate as you want it to be, but it will have 4 candles around the perimeter and if you choose, one in the center. The four candles represent the four Sundays or weeks of Advent and the center one is known as the Christ candle.

On the first Sunday, the first candle is lit and each Sunday following you will light the previous Sunday’s candle(s) along with the current Sunday’s.  The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve. The colors and the names of the candles may differ by Christian denominations.

Regarding the colors I have found 4 variations:

  • Four white candles and one red as the Christ candle
  • Four red and a white Christ candle
  • Four purple and a white Christ candle (these are the colors I use)
  • Three purple,  a pink (for the 3rd Sunday), and a white Christ candle

The candle names also vary but the one I have found in the majority is :

  • First Sunday:  The prophecy candle, with a theme of planning
  • Second Sunday:  The Bethlehem candle, with a theme of preparation
  • Third Sunday:  The Shepherd’s candle with a theme of sharing
  • Fourth Sunday:  The Angles’ candle with the theme of joy.

Think of the Sundays in these terms:  God planned for Christmas, then the prophets announced his plan, He made preparations centered in Bethlehem, the shepherds shared what they had seen and heard, and the angels announce,  “Joy!” To simplify:  We plan for Christmas, prepare for it, share it, and rejoice in it!

Our wreath becomes the centerpiece for our table.  It becomes a nightly tradition to openly discuss Advent and the celebration of Christ’s birth.  We have scripture readings and a small devotion each night.

God Bless……

Perks to Gratitude

Okay, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and for the past few days several of my bloggie friends have been making lists of God given gifts.  It warms my heart to know that some of you out there are taking my 300 gifts challenge.

Now, if you haven’t already felt good about your lists of gifts, this bit of information may add to your happiness.  There was a study done in Manchester, England.  401 adults were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their gratitude.  What was found was intriguing.  Those that scored higher slept better and longer than those where were so grateful.

It was discovered that folks that had a routine of making thankful lists or those who just lived life with a grateful heart did not have negative thoughts that nagged them while trying to fall asleep….. and they didn’t awaken in a panic either.

Now isn’t that something!!  Food for thought, huh??

Today’s list:

1.  90% off sales

2.  completed Christmas lists

3.  Shoe Fly Pie

4.  board games

5.  Silly kids

6.  Eating breakfast out with family

7.  tender-hearted boys

8.  Pizza Hut Pizza

9.  Sunday School

10.  Great Sermons

Now, tomorrow is the big day……  get your name in the drawing for Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and an Advent wreath.  Tomorrow I will be announcing the winner of the random drawing.

Enjoy your Monday.  Make a list and sleep tight tonight!  God bless…….


I pondered what to write today.  I stared at the screen….. nothing came.  I wondered what on earth could keep me from writing.  I worried that the blankness on the screen was the true reflection of my brain today.

Then I remembered Ann Voskamp’s story of how she overcame her personal “stuckness” in life.  She met a challenge of writing down 1000 gifts from God.  A list that changed her life forever.

To be thankful for every little thing.  To praise God for all He gives.  To possess an attitude of gratefulness that affects lives.

Isn’t that what the month of November symbolizes?  Giving thanks??

Are you in the mood of a challenge?  What if you wrote down 10 gifts from God each day?  That would be 300 for the month of November……  Would it be wonderful to see how much God has blessed us?

Tell you what…. Comment each day and post your top 2 gifts, I will put your name in the drawing for Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts, and an Advent wreath.  The drawing will be held one week from today.  (Nov. 8, 2011).  The more you comment the more your name is in the drawing.









My list of 10 for today:

1.  the alarm clock

2.  the soft purr of a kitten

3.  Ginger’s cold wet nose

4.  Fred’s snuggle time

5.  chocolate/pumpkin muffins baking in the oven

6.  Mark’s early morning coffee routine

7.  tribal grunts from sleepy kids

8.  breakfast as a family

9.  good-bye kisses

10.  the silence after the morning rush

Enjoy your Tuesday….. God bless…….


It’s the first of the month and that means it’s Newsletter time again.

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Christmas Time is Here!

Oh Boy! Oh Boy!! Oh Boy!!  Christmas time is here!!  Christmas music playing and filling the air!  Christmas cheer spreading across everyone’s faces!  I love it when I see red and green every where!!  Christmas makes me feel good allllll over!!!

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my family and I created our Advent wreath!  It really turned out beautiful!  The beeswax Advent candle kit arrived and was easy to make.  The kids really got into it.  Mark even enjoyed making a candle!!  This may be an annual thing at the Dettra house!

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Beeswax has been the source of candle making since the Egyptians.  They burn without any black smoke or soot.  They are natural and odorless.  Did you know that the early church only allowed beeswax candles burned in the building? The wax had to be 100% virgin beeswax (no additives).  One reason is because it represented Christ being born of a virgin and the other reason, the soot from other candles covered the paintings and other church artifacts.  Neat little tidbit of information, huh?

Before we began our Advent wreath making, I collected pieces of holly.  We have two holly trees on our property.  One is just outside my bedroom window.  Holly is a natural habitat for birds.  The thorny leaves add protection and they love to eat the berries.  Needless to say, I love to be in my room with the window open so I can hear the birds.  Ahhhhh such a heavenly sound!!  Holly is the traditional wreath materials.  It has the symbols of thorns, evergreen, and red..ring any bells???  Also, holly is a symbol of truth!  100_1533

Do you feel like you are in history class??

I also collected cedar clippings.  I love the smell and of course cedar is an evergreen.  Evergreens are used to symbolize the eternal life  Christ gives us.  Cool, huh?

Okay, so we began to assemble our wreath.  Mark made the base for me.  He is so handy!  The kids had a blast! And I believe it turned out great!!

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I supervised!


Isn’t it absolutely beautiful??


We celebrated our first candle lighting and we felt so blessed.  It is really neat to see everyone get into the spirit of Christmas!!

Enjoy your Monday!  God bless..