Tag Archives: traditions

What kind of hope is in your heart?

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 1:18

“I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called — his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”


In my mind, there are two kinds of hope. A hope that creates a wish, and a hope that inspires a confident expectation. If you take a moment to think about it, they are not the same thing. A wish is passive, while a confident expectation requires both trust and action. For example, our family has many Christmas traditions beginning with cutting down a tree on the day after Thanksgiving. In my girls’ minds, the hope to get to do these traditions together as a family is one of confident expectation. They don’t just wish to do them, they prioritize and set their schedules so that they happen.

Another tradition that we have is placing the home-made star (that my sister-in-law made us 24 years ago) on the top of the tree. For the past 20 years, Matt lifted one of the girls up to perform this cherished chore. Last week, the girls decided that it was Matt’s turn. They created a plan to work together to lift him up so that he would get a chance to place the star. The tree our family chose to cut down this year was over 9 feet tall so the girls had to get him quite a ways off of the ground. Their hope was not simply a wish, it was a confident expectation and they never doubted their ability to get it done. Matt never doubted it either. The trust that they had in each other and the value that they placed in achieving the commonly held goal ensured that they were successful. There was a beautiful joy created by this shared hope as they completed the task. I managed to get a video of it, and you can watch it here:


I think that sometimes our culture defines hope as more of a wish and less of a confident expectation. While that is likely a safer interpretation as it doesn’t really require either trust or work on the part of the believer, the effects of considering it that way severely restrict the benefits that it can offer. I don’t believe that Jesus intends for us to receive only wishes from our faith relationship with him. Rather, I think that Jesus calls us to share his active passion for love. He promises the endless supply of living water and light that will move through us to bless both ourselves and others.

There are many references to hope in the Bible and it seems clear to me that they all revolve around a confident expectation, one of belief, trust, and loving action. God’s definition of hope is not synonymous to a wish, rather it came to us in the form of the ultimate loving action: His gift of Jesus (Immanuel). As a result, it carries with it a need for the kind of trust which believes in a certainty of fulfillment.

What kind of hope is in my heart? What kind is in yours? I’ve thought about this often over the past three weeks as I’ve been substitute teaching at our local middle school. Do I carry the hope of Jesus? Is my heart flooded by the light that brings the confident expression of love? Do the students know how much I care about them? Do I have the kind of deep belief and complete trust that allows Immanuel to lift me up in order to place His star on the top of my tree?

These are the things that God is placing on my heart as we begin the start of Advent. I *hope* that as I celebrate the birth of our Savior, that I will trust and understand more deeply the ultimate spiritual gift that we celebrate on Christmas Day 🙂

8 Comments

Filed under Wednesday Wisdom

The Cutting Of the Tree…

Christmastreecollage2.jpg

 The Cutting of the Tree

Leave it to me,

We go out to Heins Pines

And we follow the signs

To the big pasture out behind,

There is laughing and screaming

A bit of scheming,

We follow the row

Down the path we go

To find a tree we can top with a bow,

As we run

All the while having fun,

The perfect tree comes into sight

We think it just might

Be just right,

So pictures are taken

But we are mistaken,

The right tree is yet to be found

We bound

Over the ground,

And find anew

A different tree that isn’t as askew,

We all decided

We were quite confided

So we take more pictures beside,

I ask to jump on my dad’s shoulders,

Although he is getting older,

Christmastreecollage1.jpg

I climb aboard

But we get the award

For being awkward,

Because I fall on my face

With much grace,

I get off the floor

And try once more

It works better and this time we score,

When dad finally stands

I can see the woodlands,

And we get a picture

You can see the treasure

In my daddy’s eyes it is captured,

Then he starts dancing

And flouncing,

I hold tight to his head

I close my eyes instead

Of looking upon the scene ahead,

More pictures are snapped

To record this mishap,

I must be crushing his eyes

Because he starts to improvise

Pulling my hands away, to my surprise,

It is time to get off

I am castoff,

He crawls under the branches

With the handsaw in his clenches

And he launches,

The great cutting of the tree

In front of you and me!Christmastreecollage3.jpg

Poem by Megan

Pictures by Anne

Smiles from all the Burkholder clan…

 

11 Comments

Filed under Family, General

Traditions…

My favorite family tradition is cutting down a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.  Matt and I started this custom when we moved to Nebraska in 1997. Our family has grown over the years and so has the number of smiles that accompanies the tree.

A few years ago, the local tree farm bought tree carts --- Matt is a fan as he no longer has to carry the tree, AG is a fan as she enjoys instructing her sisters to give her a ride...

A few years ago, the local tree farm bought tree carts — Matt is a fan as he no longer has to carry the tree, AG is a fan as she enjoys instructing her sisters to give her a ride…

Looking for the *right* tree is quite the process...

Looking for the *right* tree is quite the process…

Apparently this process involves taking "selfies" to properly assess the tree possibilities...

With teenagers involved, this process now involves taking “selfies” to properly assess the tree possibilities…

When finding the *right* tree, hugging it is necessary...

When finding the *right* tree, hugging it is necessary…

Sometimes the vote for the *right* tree is not unanimous...

Sometimes the vote for the *right* tree is not unanimous…

She got over it...

She got over it…

Fortunately, we generally agree on the important things...

Fortunately, my favorite farmer and I generally agree on the important things…

Christmas is a magical time — A time of family — A time of celebration

A time of love.

8 Comments

Filed under Family, General

A Christmas Favorite…

My favorite Christmas tradition is cutting down a tree.  I grew up in the city where we bought an already cut down tree every year for Christmas.  When Matt and I moved to Nebraska in 1997, we started our own tradition of cutting down a tree each year.  Now that our girls are old enough to be opinionated, we have implemented a family voting system when choosing the tree.

Honestly, I do not know what is more fun—searching for the tree, debating on whether or not it is good enough to be “our tree”, watching Matt cut down the tree, or actually setting it up in the house and decorating it.  I love everything about our “Christmas Tree” tradition…

What better way to begin the search than hitching a ride around the tree farm...

What better way to begin the search than hitching a ride around the tree farm…Come on dad, can’t you go faster than that?!

Can you tell which one of my older daughters is the "instigator" of trouble?

Can you tell which one of my older daughters is the “instigator” of trouble?

The choice of my favorite blondes was a tree trimmed to look like a reindeer (I thought it looked more like pig myself)...

The choice of my favorite blondes was a tree trimmed to look like a reindeer (I thought it looked more like pig myself)…

Matt quickly moved them off to search for other trees...

Matt quickly distracted them with a tree just off to the right of the camara lens.  The tree was 25+ feet tall and was more suitable to being planted in my front lawn…

We finally settled on a very pretty 8 foot tree that I found while the other four were off looking at the 25 footer...

We finally settled on a very pretty 8 foot tree that I found while the other four were off looking at the 25 footer…

At one point in the cutting down process, Matt suggested that our favorite 13 year old athlete put her muscles to good use and help.  You can see how well that idea went over...

At one point in the cutting down process, Matt suggested that our favorite 13 year old athlete put her muscles to good use and help. You can see how well that idea went over…

There was a fairly decent "team effort" put forth to lift the tree onto the carrier...

There was a fairly decent “team effort” put forth to lift the tree onto the carrier…

Celebrating the success...

Celebrating the success…

Headed back to the pickup---either the blondes have begun a fitness and strength training program for their daddy or they are spoiled and have him wrapped around their little fingers...I am going with the latter of the two!

Headed back to the pickup—either the blondes have begun a fitness and strength training program for their daddy or they are spoiled and have him wrapped around their little fingers…I am going with the latter of the two!

All in all, the 2012 Christmas Tree tradition went well at the Feed Yard Foodie house!

Wandering, looking for a tree,

It’s hard to please both you and me…

Finally, we found it!

Watching dad wriggling on the ground

Timber! He finally cut it down.

Glowing, it brings joy to the home.

Poem by Ashley Grace

What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

5 Comments

Filed under Family, General