For the past week, I’ve felt like there’s so much more I should be doing to prepare for Jesus’ coming. I should be reading a solid spiritual book, fasting from something good, or otherwise dramatically altering my daily life to prepare for Christmas.

For the past few years, I’ve done those things. I’ve deeply entered into Advent with commitments, joy, and sacrifices. But this year, I’ve felt the Lord calling me to something else. To reflect instead on His closeness, the meaning of Emmanuel.

“Emmanuel” means God with us.

God with us in our joy, in our suffering, in our loneliness, in our questions.

God with us in our finals, in our meetings, in our busy schedules, in our quiet moments.

God with us when we have no capacity to give anything else, when we feel tired, hopeful and restless.

God with us in the delights of the holiday season, warm hugs from friends, Michael Buble music, and Christmas lights all over the city.

God with us, in all of it.

If you’re feeling the pressure of “should,” I give you permission to let that go. God is with us at every moment, and more than anything, He wants us to simply open our hearts to Him.

This Advent, let it not just be “God with us” but also “us, all of us, with God.”

In Christ,


What I’m loving lately

Decorating for Christmas!

  • I love my cozy little apartment, and I’ve had so much fun decorating it for the season! Even though I’ll be heading out mid-December, I’m glad I took the time to decorate my space. This is a lesson I learned a few years ago: no matter how long (or short) you’ll be somewhere, decorating it (hanging up photos, setting out your books, finding fun new furniture pieces) is always worth it. A happy, warm home brings so much joy to the soul! Here’s a pic of my decor:

Sharing Christmas traditions

  • Last night, I hosted a group of girls from my school for a cozy Christmas night. I made crockpot spiked cider, and they brought snacks and wine. It was so lovely to just hang out and be together in the midst of a crazy busy season. I also bought little gifts and wrapped them up so we could play my family’s famous “Left-Right” passing game. Even though I’m on the opposite side of the country, I felt such a joy to bring traditions from my home to my new home here in New York! I also got to hear about my friends’ family traditions, which was so so sweet.

Prayer Requests

  • For baby Jude, who is entering the world this week, and has been diagnosed with Trisomy 19
  • For a community member who is pregnant and about to enter her second trimester!
  • For all those experiencing aches and longings this Holiday season, that they might experience God with them in a profound and intimate way

If you or a loved one need prayers, just reply to this email or reach out and I’ll include them in next week’s newsletter!

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