Advent Dance – Joy

…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those whom his favour rests.’

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ Luke 2.7-15

December is whizzing by and we’re already on week three of the Advent Dance blog. How have you been getting on with the activities? This week is all about JOY!

Joy is such a big part of Christmas. A friend once shared that JOY can equal Jesus Over You. That no matter what else was going on Jesus was always first and he always covered us throughout the day.

At Christmas we can experience so much of what is ‘good’ in Gods creation: music and dancing, food, laughter, traditions, friends and family. It’s important to thank God for those blessings. This weekend, as a family we finally had the opportunity to open up our home at Christmas. Sounds like such a trivial thing, but it’s something that we have always spoken about, but due to location or house size it’s just not been practically possible. It was a lovely time of entering into the season of Joy and catching up with a whole host of people.

How are you going to show joy this season? The angels that came to tell the shepherds about Jesus being born were said to have ‘great joy’ ‘for all the people’. Who are you going to share some of that joy with?

Movement

Have you really started your celebrations?? Jesus is coming! A great way to celebrate joy is to have your own little dance party. This is a regular feature in our house because my daughter loves music and movement (yay!). Admittedly generally she asks for ‘troll music’ or ‘let it go’ but when she moves and sings, she does it with some gusto! To have that uninhibited passion to move and dance brings such freedom. So this is a simple one….

  • Clear some space – anywhere! Around the Christmas tree, in the kitchen, or even the garden.
  • Pick an album and ask God to let joy flow over you.
  • To speak to you about who you might need to welcome into the house, provide some light to, or where you might need to shine more light in your life.
  • Get the whole family involved!

Reflection

Music Suggestion >> Holy Night, Matt Redman

After your little dance party. Take some time to reflect on what God might have said to you as you moved. Did he bring a specific person to your mind? Write it down, pray and give it back to God and ask what you are to do with it.

Book another ‘dance party’ in over the Christmas period and remember as people choose to bless you, you can bless them and others back with the joy that you have for Jesus.

Father God,

Joy, seems such a big word to accept sometimes. There are many moments when we don’t feel or see joy. But you have given it to us, to keep us going and to share with others. Help us to bless others with the joy of Jesus, and not be caught up in what people think or say. Amen

Advent Dance – Faith

As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the wilderness, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all people will see God’s salvation.” ‘ Luke 3.4-6

The second Sunday in advent is all about Faith and the trust that the journey to Bethlehem took.

Everybody’s journey with God takes a different path, it will begin and end at different places, with different challenges, celebrations and circumstances along the way. Mary and Joseph embarked on a journey to Bethlehem, not knowing what lay at the other end, not aware of the impact the child they were carrying would have on the world, even if they trusted that it was Gods Son.

What they did know however was that they had every faith in God and Gods plan. Faith that they had listened to God and were going the right way. Faith that God would smooth the valleys and crooked roads that stood ahead of them.

Christmas can prompt a time of reflection, a time of looking back on the year, what you’ve done, where you’ve been and maybe beginning to look forward to where the next year may go. How many of you look back on the year and can see where God moved, where God made your valleys smooth and straightened your crooked roads?

Reflect

Take a moment and think about a particular part of the last year. On a piece of paper draw or sketch what that part of the year looked like. Think about your peaks and troughs and how you went from each bit in your life to the other. What does it look like? Is it a straight path?

Music suggestion >> Death was arrested <<

Let’s get moving….

With your little map and drawing in front of you. Consider what it might look like to move your journey.

  • Does it have different levels, are there moments of quiet and stillness, fast and craziness, spiralling, rolling?
  • If you knew God was by your side along the way would your movement change at all?

Development Options –

  • If you’re able to work with someone or a group. Have a go at linking your journeys together, or dancing your sequences side by side.
  • How different do they look if you add someone in. Can that person provide support and comfort at moments when you thought there were none?

Activity

Place a blank piece of paper on the wall. That’s the journey that is ahead of you. It’s unknown, it’ll take faith, but God will lead you where you need to go. Place this next to it, if you want to. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.

Father God,

Help me in those moments on my journey when I know that I’m struggling but can’t see you, feel you or know that you are there. Let me soak in your word and knowledge that you will take me down the pathway that needs to be trodden. Amen.

How’s your Soul – Bible Study

Something that I have been challenged by today is how you can encourage others to be part of your faith journey, to encourage a conversation about what’s on your mind and what God might be saying to you.

To try and bring a thread to the workshops I am running, I am trying to pick themes in the run up to them. Not only am I hoping this will focus what God will say to me and want to share with those that come. But also allow opportunities for those that can’t make it to still be part of the journey, and for those that can make it to start thinking about what God maybe saying.

The first workshop of this year is on Saturday (will post details shortly) and we’re going to look at ‘How’s Your Soul’. Making the effort to be real with yourself about where you are at, what God is saying etc.

The YouVersion Bible has some great plans that you can follow, you can do this online or via an App that you can download to you phone/ tablet. So if you want to join me for 5 days. I’d love to hear how you get along. Click here to find the plan.

Make Your Space

It’s the last day of 2016, lots of people spend this reflecting on what has been and start to look ahead to what may come in 2017. Many people count down till the year ends, start the new one with a long list of things they are going to do, saying ‘2017 will be the year…’

But is that really the case…. stating things that you want to get through in 2017, your dreams, hopes etc. does that help you achieve them? There has been lots that has gone on this year, good stuff and bad stuff, which I am sure is the same for a lot of people. However, when I look ahead, there is one thing that I want more than anything…. SPACE.

Space in my house, space in my life, space to be me, space to dance, space to just be! Some of you maybe mothers, and others not, but I am sure each other can resonate with the fact that we all feel at some point like there’s not enough time or space. To carve out some personal time for projects (including writing this blog) or just space to think is really hard. So one thing I am praying more than anything for is that I give God space, which will allow me to have space.

God catches us unawares, rallies us in our darkest moments, sends us buzzing in the crazy ones. He is always there and waiting, let’s allow him the space to have that relationship.

In December we had a Dance, Move, Pray session. This was simply just a space to gather and move, spend time to with God. Myself, Lizzie and Julia were there, for each of us, it was what we needed right then. The opportunity to just be in a space, be close to God, to pray and move however much or little we wanted. I want more of this! I crave more of this!

So lets be real. Decide ONE thing as you enter 2017. Where are you and God? Where do you want to be with God?

I’ll leave you with a little clip from our dance space in December.

Solid Rock I Stand

In Octobica-group-091016er I had the privilege to dance with some ladies from Emmanuel Church, Guildford, where we put together a dance to In Christ Alone/ Solid Rock by Travis Cottrell.

Putting a dance together is always such a process, but the most enjoyable thing is taking time to draw close to God and seek out what he wants to say to others through our dance. One of the over arching themes during this dance, was the desire that God is our solid rock throughout all seasons, and will carry us ‘when all around is sinking sand’. Each dancer has a different skill and set of choreography to bring to a dance, which is why it’s a privilege to work together. God speaks to us all in different ways, and that includes through different movements.

We shared the dance during a missions Sunday, which gave a great opportunity to bless others and show how dance can be used to share a message. Do hope you are blessed as you watch. Know that God will carry, He’s bigger than what you are going through, let him carry you, and build you up when you need it most.

 

Moving On

In March this year I signed up and decided to go ahead with this site, but for one reason or another I never quite got round to making time to build it, work on it and get it going! I am hoping this will change over the next week or so, building the different pages, and getting information up, so we can get a conversation going about life, living it expectantly and saying WOW to God regularly!

Taking a Dip
Taking a Dip

This is one of my favourite images from the dance retreat this year, taking the plunge to swim, move about, and laugh in the sea of unknown that God has for us. This whole blog is unknown, but I’m very excited about where it’s going to go. I do hope you’ll join the journey with me, and engage with what’s going on.

Broken and Made New

I have recently returned from running my second dance retreat (stories from that to come). One of the sessions we looked at how, although we may feel broken before God he can make us new.

On the Saturday morning we took some time outside to connect with creation, to see, hear, touch, smell and feel what God had made. Two of the dancers Lizzie and Julia came across some broken up ground, where the roots below the surface had forced the tarmac to crack and break up. They found a daffodil that needed a new home, and placed it amongst the broken up tarmac.

It was with much excitement when I came along, that they began to tell me about how things were all broken up, but within that there was something new growing and pushing through. It was great to know that God was already working inside each of them, and with much excitement I could tell them, that that was the theme for the mornings session.

God moves in ways we can not see, speaks to people before we know it, and includes everyone necessary on the journey that we need to go on.

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