I Want MORE for Christmas!
This weekend’s scripture really hit home for me. With Christmas just a few days away, many of us are making those last minute purchases. We’re made to believe that it isn’t Christmas unless we’re exchanging presents. As a child, I definitely remember looking forward to Christmas morning…to running downstairs to see what Santa brought me. I don’t think I was a particularly greedy kid (in comparison to my sister’s never-ending wish list), but I definitely enjoyed receiving gifts. 

Now that I’m married, I’m being asked by both my mother and mother-in-law, “what do you want for Christmas.” Visions of new camera bodies, lenses and camera bags danced in my head…but I wouldn’t dare ask for any of that. Truth be told, the presents aren’t nearly as important to me (granted, I still love getting new stuff, but I can just as easily purchase it whenever I need it) as spending time with my family and remembering the magical birth of Jesus Christ.
Gifts RS

ShutterLoveTuesdaysMM3

Matthew 7:7-11 states: 7Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

God actually wants us to want more. So this year, I am asking God for more…
  • Faith. Our minister told a story of a young man (high school student) who called him one night with a situation. He was sharing with a non-believer about his relationship with God. The non-believer’s biggest struggle was the Christmas story…specifically the virgin birth. 
    • Luke 1:28-38 shares the story of how the angel Gabriel first came to Mary. Mary was troubled with the idea of giving birth to a son as a virgin. Gabriel responds to Mary, “For nothing is impossible with God.” 
    • So, I certainly don’t know how to explain a miracle, but I do know that through God, anything is possible. In 2011, I want more faith. 
    • Obedience. On the other side of the Christmas story, Joseph finds out that Mary is pregnant through the Holy Spirit. To the public, it would appear as though she is pregnant out of wedlock…which of course would have been a no no (heck, it is still often frowned upon by many). He was prepared to leave her, but an angel of the Lord (I’m assuming Gabriel) comes to him in his dreams in Matthew 1:20-25.  
      • The angel says to him, “do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife…” Matthew 1:24 – “When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.” Joseph continues to do what the Lord commands as he’s told to escape to Egypt and then later when he is told to return to Nazareth. 
      • I personally struggle with obedience, but I want more of it in 2011.  
    • Spiritual Gifts. Romans 8:32 – “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” I think this goes back to the first scripture (Matthew 7:7-11) – all we have to do is being in relationship with God and then ask. Galatians 5:16-26 describes Life with the Spirit.
      • 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 
      • 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. 
      • 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. 
      • I am far from perfect, but I know that I feel empty when I am full of hate, jealousy or envy. In 2011, I want to better receive God’s spiritual gifts for me…and in turn, share those with others. 
    With all of that said, what do you need or want more of this year? I want to better use my talent to share God’s message. For most of my first year of blogging, I have been a quiet follower of Christ (until I joined Katie Lloyd’s Scripture and a Snapshot). In 2011, I will more actively share the message with you through my photographs. I want you to know that I am Christian by more than just showing you my love.
      Gifts SOOC
      SOOC = Sigma 105mm EX Macro, ISO 125, f/5.6, 1/100

      Processing included clean edit in PSE7, followed by: 
      • Garden Lights 1, Normal at 62% opacity
      • Adjusted Hue/Saturation (pulled down the yellows)
      • Garden Lights 1, Hard Light at 20% opacity
      • Adjusted Brightness/Contrast
      • Garden Lights 2, Overlay  at 30% opacity
      • Background Copy with High Pass Filter, Soft Light at 50% opacity
      • Applied text
      • Start by Kim Klassen, Multiply at 20% opacity
      • Adjusted Brightness/Contrast again
      I think that says it all…for now. For more touch-ups, go to:
      Photography love...

      By the way, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to sign up for this year’s newest end-of-year link-up party: Memories, Dreams and Reflections! Click on the button below for more information.
      Memories, Dreams and Reflections
      Merry Christmas everyone!
      61 COMMENTS

        Ashley, thank you for this very encouraging post! I’ve been thinking through many of the same things recently. Praying for more faith, obedience and the fruits of the Spirit for us both!

        Beautiful edit! Beautiful image. Love the list :-)

        Ashley, all of your posts are incredible, but this one is the best ever! I want more of the very things you’ve listed. The processing on this photo is also incredible. ♥

        beautiful, inspiring post. really, I forget that my blog is a testimony. I too want to be more intentional about using it to share Christ this year! I just love so many things you said in this post. “We’re made to believe that it isn’t Christmas unless we’re exchanging presents.” I just love that! That is just what we do!!

        Beautifully said Ashley! This is perhaps my favorite post of yours! Thanks you for these much needed reminders. Merry Christmas to you!

        What a beautiful post! What you said you wanted to do with your photography on your blog is the exact reason I started my blog. I love seeing how you add Bible verses to your photos as well!

        Olivia
        http://www.astorytoldinpictures.blogspot.co

        Bravo…. well said and beautifully portrayed. I loved everything about this post and hope you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

        Love this, Ashley. I’m praying for those things too. Have a blessed Christmas!!

        Great photo, wonderful edit and beautiful scripture!

        Beautiful photo and scripture.

        This is such a great and inspiring post. Thank you for this. Gorgeous photo also. I heart you!

        This wonderful. Yes we need to be bold and transparent in our faith.

        I want more of Jesus to show in me to those who do not know Him.

        Merry Christmas!!!!!

        Its true. It makes me sick how big holidays have become, how consumerism and materialism seem to out weigh all else, the fact that people actually feel stressed about getting it all done in time… it seems to be totally missing the point, and that is being said by someone who no longer celebrates a religion. its gotten way out of hand.

        Good morning, Ashley.
        Thank you for sharing your heart this lovely Monday morning. Wha a beautiful way to start the week of Christmas.
        What do I want? I want to live each day as if it were my last. I want to hug my kiddos, hold hands with my husband, tell my parents and my brother how much they mean to me. I want to show the people in my life that they matter, so that if I were gone, there would be no question. I want to honor the life that God has so graciously provided me. I want for the life that I lead to be a visible reminder of God’s grace and mercy.

        Merry Christmas, Ashley. May your new year be filled with joy.

        xo*tricia

        I used to avoid talking about my faith in God because I didn’t want to appear like I was preaching all the time, but the thing is that when it’s the whole reason for our existence it’s hard to keep quiet about it!

        Love the edit, and your message!

        It’s so easy to get caught up in the gift giving, I know I do! I love this post, as it is such a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas! Thank you for making your beliefs known! Sometimes sharing these things can be intimidating in the blog world- I admire you for doing it!
        Very pretty touch up!

        Beautiful post! I am also hoping to be more obedient in 2011, I’ve let the busyness of my life take me away from the church, and I need to be more “present”.

        Lovely post! I try not to get to caught up with all the presents but instead just enjoy being with my family. It’s a wonderful time. Beautiful photo!

        The older I get, the less I want things. I love the giving part, and I particularly love the giving of myself (because I don’t get caught up in materialism). I want to make myself a better person, and to improve in whatever I do, moreso. I want to reach out to others more. For me, that’s what Christmas is about now… connection. And it only took a Christmas mission trip to a Mexican orphanage to realize that. :)

        You know, it would be a lot of awesomeness to have a weekly on-line Bible Study.

        what a truly lovely post and just what I needed to remind me what Christmas is actually all about as I worry that I have to buy all these things when Love and all the things you write about should be enough. Absolutely love your photographs here, beautiful.

        The photo is beautiful and oh how the Scripture has spoken and still speaks to my heart.

        Our journey of faith isn’t always beautiful, easy, or fun, but it is so worth it. Thank you so so so much for this post, for pouring out your heart, for wanting all Jesus wants to give. I am praying along with you for more faith, more obedience, and more consistent use of the gifts God has given me. What a full, needed prayer in all of our lives.

        It has been a blessing to join in on your journey over the last few months and from one Christian sister to another, I look forward to journeying with you in 2011.

        Merry Christmas Ashley!!!! Thank you for all you have taught me. Blessings, Amber

        Great post! Very deep! And I also love your picture! It’s even beautiful SOOC!

        This about made me cry – I am so proud of you!! For sharing Christ, for sharing your heart and for using your amazingly awesome talents to spread His Word!

        Keep up the great work, my friend! Looking forward to seeing all God has planned for you in 2011! :)

        Wonderful post! Great message!

        One of my very favorite posts this holiday season. If we all felt a little more like this we could change the world.

        This is going to be my first Christmas without my Dad :( So you could have written what’s in my heart…Christmas is all about family & making memories not about presents. (although a new lens woudl be nice, lol)

        lovely post
        merry christmas

        Love the post! I really like that picture too! The edit is SO wonderful! Thanks for linking up!

        I love your Christmas list this year – I’m asking for more faith and hope this year as well. It’s easy to quietly love Christ in life, to just mind your own business and forget that part of being a Christian is sharing that joy and love of Christ with others. I so look forward to your future posts!

        What a great post! Love your work and style. You have been so blessed with some amazing talent!! ;)

        The best part of the entire blog, “I want you to know that I am Christian by more than just showing you my love”…Wonderful :) Speaking blessings into 2011 for you, your ministry, talents, and family!!

        <3 Jess

        Beautiful post Ashley, I admit I barely looked at the photos I was so enthralled with the post itself.

        Beautifully done!!
        Love everything about it!

        I absolutely love what you’ve created here!

        I love how you edited the shot Ashley but the message contained in the blog post is the BEST!

        God gave us the best gift one could ever have – Jesus Christ.

        Rosie xxx

        Wow Ashley… What an amazing post! I felt as if I were reading something I had written myself.

        Thank you for sharing yourself so openly and honestly with others and though I have only just met you, I look forward to sharing and learning more!!!

        Happy Holidays to you and your family!

        This was beautifully written and the best Christmas list I’ve EVER seen !! You definitely put things into perspective!! Great scripture and post!

          - I love these images and the way you’ve used the dark light to catupre them. I’m sure that these will be treasured and looked back upon with much fondness for years to come! Beautiful work.

        This is a beautiful post, photo & scripture. Thanks for sharing your Christmas list. It’s so inspiring!….you’re inspiring!!

        So beautiful, Ashley! And, I’m praying (yet again) for more patience.

        Beautiful. I can agree with your list – because the same things are on mine. :)

        This year, I want to *make sure* that I immerse my children in God’s word. Haven’t done that great a job in the last few months, but that’s changing NOW.

        This is a beuautiful post! I look forward to reading about your love for the Lord in 2011!!

        Thank you for sharing such a wonderful post and Christmas list! :) Thank you for reminding me the true reason we celebrate Christmas :) such a great time of year.
        -JBenz

        Beautiful post and a what a wonderful Christmas list. I love your photo and the processing is perfect. Love it.

        I just want more PEACE at home!

        Great post! I really want all of those things for myself in 2011, too.

        I love this post Ashley. I want more peace within my family. I know God has a plan and he gave me patience to help with it.

        Love your pictures too

        What a beautiful post! I really enjoy the scripture posts. And, I feel the same way about Christmas – I love the family time. And, I enjoy finding the “perfect” gift for someone.

        Beautiful scripture and thank you for sharing your faith with us. Praying God gives you and me both, more of Him. :O)

        Ashley – This is the most beautiful post I’ve read in a long time. Photography is just one amazing talent that you possess, but you also have the gift of writing and I’m so glad to see that you want to share his Word with your readers.

        In 2011, I would like the gift of patience, and also the gift of time. I want to slow my world down and have the time to enjoy that which matters most, time with my kids and family, and time with the Lord.

        Thanks, so much for sharing this with us.

        Gorgeous photo, and you so right!

        Your SOOC was already good, but your edit just made it so much prettier!

        SO beautiful :) Love your new boldness to share you faith.

        I need more life! To just keep living and breathing and appreciating every little moment. :) I LOVE this photo!

        Powerful post. Don’t know how I missed this one when it posted. A very unselfish and spiritual list, which I believe God will honor.

        Thanks for sharing your pictures for my blog. I’ve only used a few, and will use more, they are good. And I will keep working on the Christmas e-book throughout they year. Will try to have it ready in a few months, in plenty of time for next year.

        Do you read devotional books? If yes, check this one out: http://warrenbaldwinbiblefountain.blogspot.com/search/label/Roaring%20Lions

        If you like the looks of it a copy is yours for sharing your photo-art.

        Merry Christmas,

        wb

        Meant to mention … some of my “photography” is currently posted.

        wb

        So I’ve always admired, loved, and respected you in your talent and in your kindness, but you have officially reached a whole new level to me! And I appreciate you for it!

        Thank you for this post! It is beautiful and inspiring!


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