Trek to the Manger (DQ29)

We can only imagine what awaits us at the end of our own Trek to the place where Christ is present.

“Only Christ can get rid of the veil. Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are – face to face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.” 2 Corinthians 3:14b-18

May you arrive at the manger – in your heart – and be so much more full of Light and energy and life this year, for having taken this Advent-ure with us.

And remember – from this day on, it’s you and God on a road revealed milepost by milepost – the adventure of a lifetime!

Trek to the Manger 29

If you registered for the Trek and posted at least three times in response to the daily questions during Advent, stay tuned for the results of our nifty prize drawings! Recipients will be posted on the Trek to the Manger page by January 2, 2018.

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Trek to the Manger (DQ13)

Trek to the Manger Ch 13

I met a guy today who is counting down the days until March, when he leaves his cell phone and “sprinkles” behind for a year-long solo trek around the world. He can’t wait!

I imagine he will have some stories to tell.

Today I’m wondering, for those of you who are reading along in Trek to the Manger, which “on the road” story speaks most loudly to you?

Damascus? Emmaus? Gaza? Explain.

Trek to the Manger (DQ5)

Trek to the Manger Ch 5Our traveling buddies can make or break the trip. Seriously.

Today’s challenge may be an unwelcome gift, yet it’s one we just have to unwrap.

Consider who you’re traveling with these days. Who are your comfortable, familiar friends? Who are the unpredictable newbies? Do you have the balance right between them, or is there some calibrating to do?

You don’t have to name names, but do share!

Click on the post title, above, then scroll down to the “Reply” area to weigh in on today’s discussion question, or to share your thoughts about chapter 5 in Trek to the Manger.

Trek to the Manger (DQ2)

Trek to the Manger Ch 2You wouldn’t leave home with laces dangling from your kicks, would you? But how many times have you hit the ground running without having tied your spiritual laces in prayer?

Tying your shoes is a matter of practicality. If a shoe is made to be tied, it won’t function properly without tightening the laces.

Tying your shoes is also a matter of safety; the referee will even blow his whistle and stop the game for a soccer cleat in need of a good, strong double-knot.

It’s the same with prayer! Prayer is practical, because our design as human beings requires intentionality to insure that life functions as it should. Prayer is also a safety feature, keeping us from the avoidable hazards created by rushing into life without concern for how prepared we actually are (or aren’t).

Two questions for today, then.

If prayer is the act of tying your spiritual shoes, how might you add this important step to your daily routine during Advent? (Keep in mind that shoe-tying isn’t a time-intensive investment, but it is a critical step in preparing for the day.)

What prayer(s) are particularly special to you? Are there words that you use to draw close to God that you might be willing to share with us? 

To reply, make sure you have opened the actual post for today. To do this, click on the post title (above), then scroll down to the area below the post. There will be a delay the first time you post, so don’t worry if you don’t see it right away!

Alien/nation

Reflections on Trek to the Manger, chapter 6

In many places around the world, Christians are increasingly considered to be aliens. Not so much the “from another country” kind of alien; more like the “differing in nature or character to the point of incompatibility” type (merriam-webster.com).

Don’t believe me? In the article A More Secular Europe, Divided by the Cross (June 17, 2013), Gudrun Kugler, director of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians, was quoted as saying:

“There is a general suspicion of anything religious, a view that faith should be kept out of the public sphere… There is a very strong current of radical secularism,” she said, adding that this affects all religions but is particularly strong against Christianity because of a view that “Christianity dominated unfairly for centuries” and needs to be put in its place. (Andrew Higgins, nytimes.com)

In spite of the growing animosity against Christianity worldwide, we who belong to Christ have an opportunity each and every day to “be limitless light in a world filled with lines and boundaries and borders”  –Trek to the Manger, p. 23

The way you choose to live your life has the potential to shift the focus from words to action; from ideas to illumination; from your life to the presence of God Himself. 

As members of an alien nation, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, we can choose to sit back and avoid alienation by hiding our light under a bushel… or, we can saddle up the camel and hit the road with passport in hand. “The degree to which you are open to letting the Light of God shine through you is the degree to which your life can be a beacon of hope in a desperately hopeless world.” (p. 23)

How your life answers these questions could make all the difference today:

“Who are you? What are you doing here? Now, prove it.” (p. 21)

Passport, please.

Have a comment or question to share? Click here for the Trek homepage, then scroll to the bottom where you’ll find the Reply/comment space… Or, simply scroll down and reply to this post. I look forward to hearing about your ADVENTures!

Looking for the Trek to the Manger reading schedule? Click here!

…for the Camera (re-posted for my Traveling Buddies)

Our Trek to the Manger has begun, and as I reflect on the small group discussion questions for the first chapters of our adventure, I’m reminded of my long-time traveling buddies: My precious family.

This post, shared several years ago, is especially appropriate today. It makes me wonder who your traveling buddies are? Feel free to share in the “reply” space below.

My Smiling Children

My husband and I just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary. Besides the family we’ve created together, many of the best gifts we’ve been given over the years are memories that have been marked in living color by Kodak (or, more recently, in digital form). This year, our daughter spent hours putting photographs to music so that she could give us this gift of memory-on-DVD, commemorating our years together as a couple and as a family.

Watching this beautiful collection of photographs emerge onscreen brought more than one tear to my aging eye (especially poignant because our daughter wasn’t actually home for the viewing, but had just moved into her dorm room three states away). It was easy to count our blessings as we watched images of our family in its many ages/stages of life, dancing across the screen to carefully chosen music (songs like ‘Never Grow Up’ by Taylor Swift). The speed with which these years are being spent washed over me with each sweet lyric, each milestone passed.

Perhaps most striking to me, though, were the smiles… what GREAT SMILES! My husband and my son – smiling! My kids standing right next to each other – smiling! Age 2 and age 12 – full of happy, toothy smiles in such a variety of locations and situations and events. I admit to thinking, as I watched our lives play out onscreen (smiling all the while), that I must be a better parent than I give myself credit for, to have so many happy moments to remember – so many smiles for the camera.

We do a pretty good job of putting on our happy faces for the camera, don’t we? Is it because we know this photo is going last and become a memory, so we’d better make it count? Or maybe we want so desperately to be seen as happy and at our best that we ham it up for the camera (and take advantage of the delete option when a captured moment hasn’t captured us looking quite like we want to look)?

If you’re like most grown-up children in America, you’ve been told a million times to ‘smile for the camera!’ This simple (yet repetitive) directive certainly has created a muscle-memory over the years, making our cheesy smiles almost instantaneous whenever a camera is pointed in our general direction.

After years and years of being reminded to ‘smile!’ before the flash goes off, it’s no wonder that our automatic response to the camera is almost always a grin. The consistency of this message, though a silly cultural phenomenon, has resulted in beautiful collections of family photos like mine (well, maybe there’s some good parenting in there somewhere, too).

It makes me wonder, though… what if we were as consistent with other messages to our children? Things like:

‘LOVE your sister!’

‘HUG your brother!’

‘CARE for others!’

‘People MATTER!’

If a simple command like ‘smile for the camera’ can predictably produce a legacy of family memories, imagine the world-changing potential of the family whose repeated messages produce behaviors (not just expressions) that last!

As much joy as camera-induced smiles can bring years later, imagine the joy that our lives lived in loving relationship could bring to a world full of hurting, broken skeptics whose only smiles come when a camera is involved.

Today I challenge you, no matter how old your children may be, to harness the power of the consistently spoken message in order to plant seeds of loving, smiling action in the gardens of your homes.

And while you’re at it, linger over the last family picture that made you smile – and thank God for the ‘Cheese!’

Trek to the Manger (and Advent 2015) Begins Today!

Welcome to the beginning of the church year, and the beginning of the Advent season! Beginning today, women all over the globe will be choosing faithful paths to Christmas, bypassing much of the consumerism and hoopla en route to the true Gift – Jesus Christ.

If you haven’t purchased your guidebook yet, you’ll find Trek to the Manger at Amazon.com (available in paperback or Kindle formats). A reading schedule is available here: 2015 Trek to the Manger Reading Schedule as well as free Trek to the Manger Small Group Discussion Questions (which can also be used as journaling prompts throughout the Trek).

When you visit the Trek to the Manger page throughout Advent, you’ll find reflections from Brita’s own Trek, to which you are welcome to add your own!

The ADVENTure is just beginning! Grab a few traveling buddies and strap on those traveling shoes… for a Trek to the Manger.

Trek to the Manger 2015 – Downloadable Small Group Discussion Questions Available Today!

If you’re planning a Trek to the Manger in 2015, you’ll want to download these Trek to the Manger Small Group Discussion Questions for your weekly group gatherings or Facebook group discussions!

Contact Brita for ideas on starting your own Trek to the Manger small group for Advent, which begins on Sunday, November 29th.

Trek to the Manger is on Kindle for Advent 2015!

Brita is excited to announce that Trek to the Manger: Advent Devotions for Women on the Move is now available on Amazon Kindle!

Whether you prefer the feel of a “real” book in your hands or the convenience of an e-reader, you can join with women everywhere for this spiritual journey, which begins on Sunday, November 29th!

Gather your girls and plan to kick-off a group Trek to the Manger this year! A reading schedule is provided here, at Pink Shoes Ministries on WordPress – just click the Trek to the Manger tab on the menu to access the downloadable pdf. Small group discussion questions will be available soon!

Trek to the Manger 2015 Begins on Sunday, November 29th!

Trek book cover

Trek to the Manger: Advent Devotions for Women on the Move

by Brita Hammit

Available here from Create Space

or at Amazon.com

Advent begins on Sunday, November 29, 2015

Get your copy of Trek to the Manger and join women everywhere who believe – like you – that Advent should be an adventure!

One that honors tradition without bowing the knee to retail-bullying.

One that embraces fun and gift-giving without breaking the bank.

One that engages more of me than just my schedule and my credit card.

The season of Advent may appear to have been hijacked by a relentless stream of commercial messages – but this year can be different!

Instead of plodding through another stress-filled holiday, women on the move are choosing a different route to Christmas morning.

Fire up your GPS and grab a traveling buddy or two! Not for another trip to the mall… for a Trek to the Manger.

Trek to the Manger is a daily devotional for the season of Advent. While you could take the Trek alone, traveling is so much more rewarding with a friend! Consider inviting your small group, co-workers, or family members to join you on your Trek to the Manger in 2015.

Stay tuned for a downloadable Small Group Discussion Guide (available here, at pinkshoesministries.me)