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This song from Francesca Battistelli touches me so deeply. Here the lyrics and the you-tube version to begin your Christmas Day!

Hold on now, I gotta take a deep breath
I don`t know what to say when I look in your eyes
You made the world before I was born
Here I am holding you in my arms tonight
Noel, Noel, Jesus our Emmanuel

You`re here, i`m holding You so near
I`m staring into the face of my Saviour, King and Creator
You could`ve left us on our own, but You`re here
Don`t know how long i`m gonna have you for
But i`ll be watching when You change the world
I Look at your hand, they`re still so small
Someday you`re going to stretch them out and save us all
Noel, noel, God with us Emmanuel

You`re here, i`m holding You so near
I`m staring into the face of my Saviour, King and Creator
You could’ve left us on our own, but You`re here you`re here
Someday i`m gonna look back on this
The night that God became a baby boy
Someday You’re gonna go home again,
But you leave Your Spirit and flood the world with joy

You`d be here, i`m holding You so near
I`m staring into the face of my Saviour, King and Creator
You could’ve left me on my own, but You`re here You`re here
Hallelujah You`re here hallelujah
You`re here


Christmas Day!

1. What reflections on the above do you have for today? What does it mean to you that He’s here?


2. In what ways did you experience His presence Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? For what can you give thanks and praise?


3.  In what ways has Jesus been a light to you, a wonderful counselor, in 2016?


This is another Christmas-time favorite. Listen, ponder, and share your reflections.


4. Share your reflections from the above.


T. S. Elliot’s poem was inspired by a poem from the 1500’s by St. John of the Cross, entitled “Dark Night of the Soul.” The Magi’s Journey was long and hard, but led to transformation. In the same way, we each have had some hard journey’s in 2016, and yet, if we press into Christ, they will lead to transformation.

5. What “journey” in 2016 was hard, but also led to transformation?

6. Read Isaiah 12 — see if you can find the reference to a hard journey that led to joy in Israel’s past. (If you need help, you can find the same verse in Exodus 15:2.)

7. When we are in the midst of a hard journey, what is it important to reflect on past hardships that led to transformation and joy?


8. As you face 2017, what do you think Jesus would have you pray for, seek for, long for?

9. Would you share a prayer for your sisters here on this blog for 2017?


10. What is your take-a-way, not just from this week, but from Isaiah 1-12 or the Advent season?

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  1. 9. Would you share a prayer for your sisters here on this blog for 2017?
    Lord of all, I pray these verses from Ephesians 3 (ISV) for my blog sisters:
    This is the reason I bow my knees before the Father of our Lord Jesus, the Messiah,from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its name.  Pray that he would give you, according to his glorious riches, strength in your inner being and power through his Spirit, and that the Messiahwould make his home in your hearts through faith. Then, having been rooted and grounded in love, you will be able to understand, along with all the saints, what is wide, long, high, and deep— that is, you will know the love of the Messiah— which transcends knowledge, and will be filled with all the fullness of God.
    Now to the one who can do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine according to the power that is working among us— to him be glory in the church and in the Messiah Jesus to all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

  2. First, a belated Merry Christmas to all of you, Dee and sweet blog sisters and an early Happy New Year! I am newer to your on-line studies, Dee, but I have been so blessed by them and the insights of you and each person who contributes. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
    One of the things that truly touched me at our Christmas eve services was the candles lit by each person during the singing of Silent Night. Although we do this each year, this year the image of light pushing back the darkness was what God had me focus on. Each of us carry His light and we are all using that light to push back darkness in our own lives and in our communities. Just loved that confirmation this year. 
    Here is my 2017 prayer for each of us:  Lord I pray that you would lead each of us into closer heart intimacy with You. Too often I have focused on simply more knowledge. Though knowledge is important, You want our hearts. Help us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt our great value to You, the God of the universe. No matter how we view ourselves and our faults, help us to see we are wonderfully and beautifully made by you, God. Free us from comparing ourselves to others or trying to live up to culture’s standards. Instead help us to tune out these voices and follow You with complete and utter abandon. Help us to love you first and most and then love others. Help us to love ourselves well so we are able to love others as we love ourselves. Thank you for accomplishing this transforming work in each of our lives. Bless our 2017 with greater resolve to live for You. Thank you, Lord, Amen.

    1. Sue, thank you for your wonderful prayers. I will copy and paste our prayers for one another here and return to them during times of hardships and trails in year 2017. Smile.

  3. 10. What is your take-a-way, not just from this week, but from Isaiah 1-12 or the Advent season?
    I am working on a little table of the Advent series that Dee led us with. The titles were: God with us,How great our joy, Far as the curse is found, Birth pangs, He’s here. I found it meaningful that Dee started with God with us and ended with He’s here! All along our Triune God is with us. From the beginning, in the here and now and in the future when He comes again! Isaiah 1-12 brought me comfort through the realities of what estrangement with God can lead to and yet be brought back in union and communion with Him. Oh, how I long for the latter for me and for my loved ones and for the world! I pray for a dearer, closer walk with Jesus in 2017.

  4. Happy blessed New Year to u all! Mary E: so glad to hear your good news…Praise God! May He give u continued strength& encouragement in your journey!              7. why is important to reflect on past hardships that led to transformation & joy? It shows me the Lord’s faithfulness & activity in my life, His steadfast Love, His promise to always be our God & our Salvation, & all we need. 8. Whats would Jesus have me pray for, seek for, long for? I’m asking Him about this….but for sure to encourage & reach out to all the people He brings to me, to speak when He calls me to, to be bold for Him & love Him more deeply.

  5. My prayer for you my new blog sisters:   I ask dear Lord that You manifest Yourself more & more to each dear sister here, in the midst of their struggles & joys, be ever present . May their hearts swell with Your tender love for them, & may they rest in You, their Eternal Refuge! Amen

  6. My takeaway from Advent was:  In the midst of the business, mess & brokenness of this world the Living Word became flesh & dwelt among us! He desires to live in each one of us & to accomplish His purpose for each life. He is here still in this broken world, He is Sovereign, “He is working His salvation in the midst of the easrth” (Ps 73:12). He will come again in Righteousness & Faithfulness. He is our Prince of Peace no matter what our situation is…we can trust Him!         Thank you Dee for this wonderful Advent study…looking fwd to a new year with you all & getting to know u better. Blesings on u all & thank you for your heartfelt prayers  🙂

  7. On our way home in a few hours from visiting our daughter. Like Jenny here, I would like to thank Dee for the wonderful Advent study and for her special ministry in our lives. It is hard to put into words the gratitude I feel for one so in love with Christ and have always pointed me to Christ.

  8. Dee, I read what you posted about Bonnie….this truly warms my heart!! So encouraging and I am sure an answer to prayers!
    Haven’t done a good job keeping up this week….family, husband taking time off from work, my son’s 23’rd birthday on Thursday. My prayer for all of us as we head into 2017 would be that we would really live out the truth of “God with us”….He did come, He is with us, He will never forsake us nor leave us, He cares for us….that we would run to Him in every circumstance and truly live as His children, welcome at His table, a part of His family.

  9. I just want to say Happy New Year to all here! Dee, this blog is such a treasure. I loved the song “You’re Here”. I think it will be a new favorite! I’ve listened to it several times. 
    We have had a houseful all week, so not much computer time and lots of time in the kitchen. I love cooking but will be glad to see an end of all the extra. A really positive note with our grandsons this Christmas season! We followed The Jesus Storybook Bible for Advent this year. The website suggestion was to read one a day during Advent; that takes you from Genesis thru to the arrival of the Wisemen in 24 days. There were printable cards to print as well. We did not have our daughter’s boys every day so we read it on weekends while they were here and then read one at each meal all this week between Christmas Day and today. The readings were short enough that it was easy to catch up if we forgot or had to miss. I think the boys generally enjoyed it. They are ages 6, 8, and 10. Sometimes one didn’t want to and sometimes they wanted to read more than one at a time! Definitely worth doing and it gives a good, though very brief, overview of the Old Testament as well. Anyone interested there is information on the website!