A Christmas Prayer//Lindsey//Day Ten

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I hope that the month of December has been one of tremendous rest and reverence despite having the craziness of Christmas surrounding us! I hope that you have been blessed by these blog posts just as I have been. It’s been really great reading about the different ways each of us reflect on the season. To be honest, I have spent a week or so trying to write this post but nothing that I have written seems to speak the message that I want to say. I think the best way for me to express my thoughts and feelings toward Christ this season is to simply say it through prayer…

My Christmas Prayer

Dear Lord,
Even now I am finding that the words in my head cannot be expressed in writing how I want them to be. However, you know my heart so I pray that these thoughts would be pleasing to you and likewise, the spoken and unspoken prayers of my heart be uplifting to you.

Christmas is fast approaching. Did you ever imagine that Christmas would come and go so fast? Did you know that as humans we would become so distracted in what society turns Christmas into rather than remaining focused on you and the most amazing gift that you’ve given us?  In the blink of an eye all of the preparation and hard work that we put into Christmas seems to disappear after the season is over. This year, I want that to be different. I want the feeling of Christmas to remain in my heart, not just for the season and not just in the time that Christmas music is on the radio. Father, I ask that you help me to keep Christ at the center of my heart now and in the days, months and years to come. I am broken and fully aware that I will fall short of what you expect of me. But, your unconditional love and precious gift reminds me that you are always with me and that I receive forgiveness when I put my full trust in you.

I think of Mary and her obedience. She was your servant and followed the plan that you had for her. I ask that you guide me to have the humbling obedience of Mary, who trusted you even when things seemed confusing and uncertain, just as the plan you reveal to me can feel the same way. Prepare my heart to have the patience of Joseph, who relied on your promises despite knowing that the journey to Bethlehem would be hard and challenging, just as this season of life I’m in remains a challenge. Give me the joy of the angels who proclaimed the birth of The Savior without any hesitation. Allow me to joyfully speak of your goodness and faithfulness to others, even when I may be timid to do so. Reveal in me the lowliness of the Shepherds who understood the greatness of your gift and in their meekness knew that they were precious and worthy in your sight. Allow me to follow the path that you have for me similar to how the wise men followed the star, which guided them to the manger.

Prepare my heart for the New Year. Keep me focused on you and the will that you have for me. Allow the spirit of Christmas and the everlasting joy and peace to remain in my heart even when I am stressed, angry or finding it hard to rely on you. You promise good to those who love you and you promise wisdom and knowledge to those who seek you. All of these things I pray in your name.


Hey y’all! My name is Lindsey Tate and I’m from a little town just north of Richmond called Ashland, Va. I am a Psychology major with a double minor in Leadership and Childhood Studies. My passion is elementary education. Some of my hobbies include watching (and re-watching) episodes of Friends, playing piano, scrapbooking/crafting, exploring Pinterest, watching sports & most importantly spending time with family and friends. CNU and Cru have blessed me with some incredible friendships and I am so thankful for each of them. 

THE GREAT I AM//Cynthia//Day Nine

I was in elementary school when I first learned the story of God speaking to Moses from a burning bush. The fact that the bush was on fire, but not consumed, or that God was talking to Moses out of the bush was not what I remember puzzling over. After all, I had already learned and believed that God had created the world in 6 days, He had orchestrated Joseph’s life and used him to save God’s people from extinction and had used powerful plagues against the Egyptian people to free His people, the Hebrews, from slavery (including that cool trick of opening up the sea for His people to cross on dry ground!). All of that was amazing, of course, but I remember being hung up on something that God said in His conversation with Moses when Moses asked God who he should say had sent him to tell Pharaoh to let his people go; specifically, Moses asks God what name he should give. God’s answer is in Exodus — “God said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM.’ 

And He said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.'” What a crazy answer!!   I mean, who refers to him or herself that way; it’s an incomplete sentence. We say, “I am tired” or “I am hungry” or “I am Peter” or “I am confused”, but none of us can just say, “I AM” to explain who we are to anyone. I clearly remember thinking that this made no sense whatsoever and I don’t recall my Sunday School teacher giving us much of an explanation (although, it’s possible he did and I just didn’t get it). The emphasis of the story was on the burning bush from what I remember. I suppose I mulled over it for a bit, but quickly moved on and didn’t give it much thought again until about 20 or so years later when I was teaching a 4th-5th grade Vacation Bible School class on Moses. While preparing to teach the lesson about the burning bush, I was again struck by this odd name of God, “I AM” and felt compelled to study it and ask God to reveal to me what it meant so that I could give the kids in my class an important concept for their own spiritual growth. It was as if the more mysterious it seemed to me, the more important it was to find out what it meant because I thought that it must be very relevant. I started by looking up other places in scripture where the phrase “I AM” is used and most interesting to me is how it is used in the gospel of John: seven times, Jesus refers to Himself as “I AM” but there is always something that follows the “I AM” (such as, “the way”, “the bread of life”, etc.) with one exception in chapter 8 of the Gospel of John — Jesus calls Himself, “I AM”,  just as God the Father had done. In the context of the Jews  accusing him of lying and having a demon when Jesus told them that anyone who kept His Word would not see death (John 8:51). Their response was that the father Abraham had died and Jesus was claiming to be greater than Abraham. This was a huge deal because He is telling the people that He is God, that He and the Father are One. 
That, in itself, is incredibly significant, but what God revealed to me through this is that there are no words that can be added to the “I AM” statement about God that could come close to describing Him. John uses earthly things to describe Jesus in order to make the point that Jesus is the only way to God, the only One who can satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness, and He is Life and Truth. But that is not all that He is and words don’t exist that could give us a full description of God, so when God told Moses to tell the Pharaoh that “I AM” sent Him, He was showing Moses and the Pharaoh that He was not of this world and that He was supreme, all-powerful, all-knowing, and sovereign over all. It’s overwhelming to realize that this God who cannot be described fully came down to earth in the form of a man as the Son of the Father, Jesus; He lived, worked, served, rejoiced and suffered among us, all while perfectly fulfilling the Law of God. Philippians 2 describes how Jesus “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Jesus is God, but He willingly gave up all of the rights He had as God in order to live the perfect, sinless life and die the death that we deserved so that He could give us the gift of His righteousness. And just as we read in John, there is no other way to receive this righteousness that gives us eternal life with God, the Great I AM. I have struggles, just as all of you do, but I have found great comfort and strength in the knowledge that the Great I AM dwells within me and provides me with all that I need to not only “get through” this life, but to live a life that points others to Him and glorifies Him.

This song has ministered to me and I hope that you can revel in the truths here and praise the One who is to be highly exalted as the Great I AM.
Meet Cynthia: I am a 52 year old wife and mother of four, mother-in-law of one and oma (grandma:) of one and a half! I love theology because I love learning about God; I get especially excited when I discover a truth that I have been missing and love how God reveals truths in His Word to us progressively and uses His Word, the Holy Spirit and other believers to correct false beliefs we’ve all had at some time or another. And I love college students! Having been one myself. in four different locations(!) I think it’s a wonderful phase of life in which God does great work in the hearts of His children and He is constantly seeking the hearts of those who have yet to turn to Him. He uses Cru for all of this and I feel so blessed to be associated with this wonderful and amazing group of people! Over the past year, I’ve been in awe of how God has given me peace throughout my ongoing treatments for stage IV breast cancer, which has spread into my bones and brain. He is truly sovereign and loving and I am so grateful that I belong to Him!

Oh Night Divine//Jena//Day Eight

In church yesterday, we all sang “O Holy Night” and for the first time, my eyes were opened to the beauty of the lyrics. Listen to Danny Gokey’s version below and follow along with the lyrics listed below.
O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend

Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name

I’m sorry I don’t have more for you. Quite honestly, it feels as though I’m standing in the middle of a major intersection in a heavily populated shopping district during the holidays – where things, voices, people, fears, uncertainty, and transition all seem to zoom past me and all around me without quite colliding with me. Perhaps you all can relate. Perhaps not. Regardless, the Lord remains the same. Gosh, praise His name right now that He doesn’t change. When everything around seems unstable, He remains – and because He remains, we can stand firm. So, let us lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Let us look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hallelujah, thank you Father God for sending your Son on this day in whose name all oppression will cease. Despite any circumstance in our lives, God you are worthy. God you are so kind to us. Thank you, Lord. Turn my heart and turn our hearts toward thanksgiving and praise. 

//Jena Gray, senior majoring in Anthropology & Latin American Studies at the College of William & Mary.//