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As we move into Christmas this weekend, I can't help but be the most thankful and grateful I've ever been. So many amazing things happened this year. My husband and I bought our first home. We are expanding the family with the cutest whippet and a healthy baby girl. Simplicity & Coffee went from a weekend hobby to my full-time job. And we've been able to travel, visiting family, friends and new cities.

[ON ME] Jacket: Express | Scarf: Express | Dress: c/o PoshSquare | Shoes: Steve Madden

[ON G] Jacket: Uniqlo | Sweater: Uniqulo | Shirt: Uniqulo | Jeans: Levis | Shoes: Aldo

With so much gratitude in my heart, and so much thankfulness, I simply have to take this opportunity to share with you, Reader, where my hope, joy, strength, and purpose come from. I'm not one to be politically incorrect (in fact, I'll usually just hold my tongue!), but this is one thing I can't help but share. Because I believe it. I believe in Him. And I believe that through Him you can find identity, purpose, worth, joy, and freedom.

You may have heard this before, Reader, and I probably won't be the most eloquent of what you've heard, but Christmas isn't just about gifts, and family, and warmth, and happiness. It's also about the reality that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, with the hope that we would believe in Him, and be reconciled with Him, redeemed by Him, and live in freedom (John 3:16).

I think the thing that amazes and impacts me most this time of year is that He chose to come. I know that I make choices, say things, and think things daily that are hurtful, cruel, unjust, and unfair. My heart is far from perfect and loving. If you could see all of me the way God does, you might not think that the bit of good growing in there is worth saving in the midst of all the judgement, competition, hate, and conflict (Rom 7:24). But praise God, He saw the good and thought the chance at saving it, at knowing me, was worth everything (Rom 5:8).

You see, even if you're far from Him, He loves you. Passionately, deeply, truly, faithfully, relentlessly. You can't escape His love (Ps 139:7-12), nothing can tear you from His love (Rom 8:31-39), you can't earn His love (Eph 2:8-9) and you can't lose His love (Jer 31:3).

There is so much freedom in being loved with such complete abandon. When we are secure in His love for us, we have nothing to fear (1 John 4:18). I am not perfect, but I am perfectly loved. He tells me I am beautiful, I am worthy. I am precious. I am purchased. I have value.

Christmas is when we celebrate and remember that Christ left heaven for this chance to know us. He came to earth as a helpless baby, accepted on Himself human form (i.e. He became like us), lived a sinless life, then took all our sin upon Himself and died, paying the price for our failings. But He didn't stop there. He rose again. He not only paid our price, but defeated our accuser, and now stands in heaven proclaiming our freedom and victory in Him, if we accept it. If we believe.

Reader, I hope that you have ears to hear this. If you know Christ, I hope this reminds you of all we have to be grateful for, and how beautiful and precious you are. If you knew Him but are far from Him, I pray you would find the courage to come home, and know that you are loved and desired, no matter how long, how far, or why you've been gone. If you've never accepted Him, I hope that there was something in here that kindled your curiosity. Always feel free to reach out to me. My faith isn't something I'm shy about, and I would love to share with you what I believe and why I believe it. I"m here to walk with you, encourage you, and remind you that you are so precious that Christ came down for the chance at knowing you.

Merry Christmas <3

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