Saturday, December 31, 2011

hope for the new year

New Year's Eve.  All across the world people are celebrating in different ways.  Hundreds of thousands gather in New York City, some go out and party till the wee hours of the morning, and others stay up and play games with family and friends. 

We aren't really the "partying kind".  We tend to just relax as the clock slowly ticks us into the new year.  Today also happens to be my parents' anniversary (Happy Anniversary Daddy and Mama!!!!!) and we traditionally go out to a nice restaurant to celebrate. 

This year I have decided that I will not stay up and watch the ball drop.  I know, I'm no fun.  But really, how is it going to be any different tonight than it was last year, or the year before that, or the year before that?  I prefer to get a good nights sleep so I can be rested for church in the morning.  Of course, the community fireworks exhibition (which usually lasts until the sun comes up) may complicate things slightly...

I find it very fitting that the first day of the new year is a Sunday.  What better way to make a fresh start than to spend a day in worship and praise of our Maker?  Apart from Him, nothing we can do can make this new year any better than the last.  No matter how long my resolutions list is, I know that by the 6th of January I'll be slipping back into the same unresolved state of the holidays if I am not constantly asking for His help. 

One thing that this past year has taught me, or more accurately, what it has confirmed yet again, is how easy it is for me to rely on myself for the day to day grind and only turn to God when I have a real problem.  It's as if I have two filing cabinets for my problems.  The one labeled "God" contains problems like being kind to a certain person, where the money to put gas in my car is going to come from, or how to encourage a friend going through a hard time.  The other cabinet is labeled "Me" and it contains little things.  The little problems would be like being patient with my little sister when she leaves the dishes for me when we both know that it is her turn, is that really a good book for me to read, or being respectful to my parents even when I don't like what they are doing.  

I think that this is something we all do to a certain extent.  It is our human nature to want to "be in control".  As Christians, we are to put all of our trust in Christ and relinquish every aspect of our lives to Him.  But there are some of us who hand everything over, but with some strings attached.  We don't like the idea of not being able to snatch things back into our own hands when things stop going according to our plans.  Or, some of us hand parts of our lives over to Him and keep the seemingly insignificant things for ourselves so that we can at least partially be in control.  I mean, God doesn't care about the little things does He?  After watching little things that I attempted to handle on my own crumble around my ears, I am convinced that He absolutely does! 

So as for me, on this last day of 2011, I am praying that God will help me learn from my mistakes, put all of my trust in Him and remember that His way is always better than anything I could come up with on my own.  I am praying that He will give me patience and wisdom even in the little things because I know that I am nothing without Him even when I'm washing dishes or doing laundry.  I pray that He will provide me with the strength and wisdom needed to encounter the trials and temptations that this new year will bring and that He will continue conform me to His image and  pour out His grace and mercy on this sinner.

Farewell 2011.  Hello 2012.  I look forward to see what God has in store for this new year!

Goodnight everyone! :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

restful reading...

I was blessed this Christmas by receiving an abundance of books.  I can't tell you how much it thrilled me to put them on my shelf and check them off my list.  There is something about the smell of books that I just love.  If someone could make the smell of knowledge into a perfume I would absolutely wear it.

Some of the books I received have been on my list for many years.  I nearly squealed when I pulled back the wrapping paper and laid eyes on Webster's 1828 Dictionary.  I have wished for it for ages and I am so grateful to my Grammy for getting it for me!  It's been put to good use ever since Christmas.  I also received a copy of So Much More by Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin.  That particular book has been on my list ever since it was first published in 2005 and it was definately worth the wait.  Now that it is resting on my shelf it has been replaced on my list by their newest book, It's Not That Complicated.

I tried to restrain myself and finish After the Flood, which I started before Christmas, before I began any of the new titles, but I gave up after about a half hour.  I have no self-control when it comes to having new books in the house.  So, I am now in the process of reading After the Flood, So Much More, and St. Augustine's Confessions. 

It's been a nice break after all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season to lounge on the upstairs sofa and read to my heart's content.  Add a cup of coffee and a hot foot spa (courtesy of Mama!) and it doesn't get much better than that. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!  From my family to yours. <3

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas as you create memories and celebrate God's blessings and His miraculous gift of salvation through His only Son, Jesus.  

Safe travels and warm wishes to you all!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Exactly one decade ago, on the eve of the eve of Christmas Eve,  my very first niece, Haley Ann, was introduced to the world.

Happy Birthday, Miss Haley!!!!  I love you bunches and bunches!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

metropolitan isolation

Yesterday, I was sitting in the car waiting for Sarah to come out of the doctor’s office. I was facing a four-lane street in a part of town that is extremely congested, especially at this particular time of day. Cars were whizzing past at a rather alarming rate. There were shiny new cars, old and worn out cars, some were painted brilliant colors and others had mismatched doors and hoods.

Having accidentally left my book at home, I was trying to entertain myself with what had been set before m, and my attention slowly turned from the cars themselves to the occupants behind the tinted glass. What I initially saw was quite funny. It is interesting what people do when they think no one is looking. Needless to say, I saw some very unique facial expressions! I couldn’t help giggling when I saw an older gentleman facing the window and rolling his eyes while his wife prattled on in sweet oblivion.

The more I watched, I began to notice other things. Many people had their cell phones held to their ears. Some were talking in such a frustrated manner that I felt as if I were watching a silent movie. You know, the ones with the people wildly waving their arms and jumping up and down like they’ve lost a few of their marbles. I saw a few smiling faces peering out of the glass and some were even laughing. There were many couples, both young and old. It struck me that most of them wore very irritable expressions, and if they weren’t engaging in a heated “discussion” they were sitting in silence, each staring blankly out the windshield.

Occasionally, I would see little arms flailing around in the back seat. Toys were being tossed around, an occasional scream would erupt, and Mom would be trying to console little Johnny with a snack or some juice. There were some lone drivers. This group varied a bit. There were happy faces singing with the radio (I even saw one waving an imaginary microphone), some were talking to themselves, some smiling, and a few were wiping away tears. Occasionally there would be cars that were so loaded down with people that it was amazing to me that they were actually rolling down the road. There were girls out shopping, laughing and giggling all the way and the guys were out just trying to “play it cool”. I saw all kinds.

As I sat there taking all of this in, I suddenly began to look at each car as it’s own little world. These “worlds” varied in size as well as in personality. Some contained families and others only a few people and still others could only boast of one occupant. Each one had it’s own story; it’s own hopes and fears, problems and predicaments, joys and praises. It seemed that all of these mini worlds were in a heated race to who knows where. At a glance, one would notice only that there were hundreds of people. But, if you look deeper, you realize that there are hundreds of people, yes, but they are completely isolated.

Now this may seem ridiculously obvious to some of you.

“Of course they’re isolated,” you say, “they’re in a car!”

Bear with me for a moment. Lets take this same scenario and place it into a different location.

Last year my family and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit Washington D.C. That trip involved a lot of “firsts” for me. One of the most memorable experiences was, believe it or not, riding on the subway. I learned a lot about the big city in that one seemingly insignificant experience. First, never sit in a seat that is facing backwards, even if it’s the only one available. You will get sick! Second, personal space is virtually non-existent, especially at rush hour. Third, no one, I repeat, no one wants to speak or to be spoken to. This was discovered the hard way. I tried to engage in a conversation with the woman next to me, trying to be polite since we were basically sitting on top of each other, and she nearly snapped my head off. On other occasions the person would just completely ignore me or they would give me a biting glare that made me wish that my dad were sitting a little bit closer for protection.

As I sat there, wedged into my seat, and reflected on my failed attempts at being friendly, I began to look around the car. There were more than fifty or sixty people in that one car, maybe even more. People of all shapes and sizes, personalities and backgrounds, residents and tourists, different colors and fashions were piled into that car. There was a huge diversity of people on that train and not one word was spoken. Aside from the sound of the train barreling through the underground tunnels and the speakers announcing the upcoming stop, there was absolute silence. Over and over again the train would stop, the doors would swing open and people would disappear into the darkness and their places would inevitably be filled with others that looked even more sour than their predecessors.

My sensitive and inherently friendly southern nature was shocked. During our forty-five minute commute I saw hundreds of people come and go and no one spoke a single word. Teens and adults alike were plugged in to their Ipods, others were reading books or newspapers, and a few were just staring into space, but no one seemed willing to acknowledge the fact that there were other human beings on the train.

These people had no excuse for their isolation. They were not alone in a car. They were not surrounded by walls that created mini world that was cut off from the outside. They were on a train with hundreds of other people, like sardines in a tin can, and yet they were still isolated. Imaginary walls were wrapped tightly around the mind and the heart that created a mini world, the center of which was the individual. Their hopes their struggles, their joys and fears were all bottled up inside and they resisted people like me who tried to penetrate the icy outer layer of the atmosphere of their little world.

This realization made me want to cry. I wanted to stand up and make a scene trying to get these people to realize what was happening. I saw all of the conversations that could have been that are lost every day. Imagine all of the new friends and acquaintances that might have been made - the new things that might have been learned. Most importantly, imagine all of the opportunities to encourage others and to be a witness for Christ that are lost forever.

I see this problem in my own life as well. I have been accused on numerous occasions of being something of a hermit. These accusations are partly true. While I love having fellowship with others and meeting new people, I love being home even more. If you were to ask me if I’d rather go shopping with a group of friends or stay at home, I would definitely choose to stay at home. While I like to think that this stems from my love of being home, I have recently come to realize that, deep in my heart, I just don’t want to be bothered. For whatever reason, the exertion of going out and engaging in fellowship with others, whether it be at a church dinner, going out with a friend, or just being friendly to the people standing in the thirty-minute line at the Walmart check-out, just doesn’t appeal to me on some days. I can always come up with other more important things that I could be doing elsewhere or, even better, at home.

Of course, this makes no sense really, because once I start talking to someone (no matter who it is) I love every minute of it. I always benefit from fellowship once I get into it. It’s just the “getting into it” part that I like to fight against.

That voice telling me that I just “cant be bothered” is the voice of lies. You know, that voice that you’re constantly telling to shut-up and leave you alone but never really seems to take the hint? It’s the voice that whispers,

“You don’t have the time to listen to her go on about her problems.”

“That call will take forever, just call back later when you aren’t so busy.”

“She doesn’t need encouragement! If you say anything you’ll just embarrass her and make the whole situation worse.”

“Why put yourself out to talk to someone you don’t even know? They’ve got a cell phone. Let them call someone if they want conversation.”

All of these arguments can be pretty convincing. Especially if your outlook is completely me-centered. But, as Christians were are commanded to treat others the way we wish to be treated. (Leviticus 19:18) Would any of us say that we can’t be bothered with ourselves? Of course not! In fact, it is in our nature to act as if the entire world revolves around us. If you don’t believe me, just baby-sit a toddler for a couple of hours. This is the sinful nature of man. We are taught by the world to “look out for number one” and that it’s “every man for himself” and the life is really just the “survival of the fittest”. Do you hear how selfish and unloving this is?

Christ calls us to something higher. He said that the second greatest commandment was to love you neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39). I think we would all agree that we love ourselves, but how many of us could come up with even one other person that we love as much as ourselves? How many of us can say that we tolerate the faults in others as much as our own? (Luke 6:41) That seems to be asking a lot.
This means that I have to love my sister when she is hogging the computer when I really, really need it, or at least, when I think that I need it, because she has just as much right to use it as I do. I have to have patience with the person who is pouring out all of her woes even when I think I have better things to do. I need to take the time to talk to someone who maybe just needed hear a friendly voice or to see a smiling face. Even the cashier who has a line back to the meat department needs some grace. After all, isn’t that what I would want others to do for me? How would I feel if I knew that maybe others felt that they “couldn’t be bothered” with me?

Maybe you’re out shopping, on a train, or just going to a gathering at church. Please don’t isolate yourself from those around you. Take the time to encourage someone, even if you just flash them a friendly smile as you pass by. You never know the good you might do just by stepping out of your own little world and engaging in someone else’s.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Sarah and I have some pretty cool things going down in the sewing room lately.  Unfortunately, I can't talk about them because certain people might read it, and then, so much for Christmas surprises... We haven't even been able to talk to Mama about what we're working on.  You have no idea how hard that is for me!  I love talking about what I'm working on.  I love discussing different options and everything related to what I'm working on.  I love talking in general, as anyone who knows me at all with readily tell you, but I digress.

This secrecy is killing me! Sarah, on the other hand, is as silent as a rock.  Apparently, she got the "silent gene" while I was out discussing the solutions to the world's problems.  She's the best secret keeper I know besides Mama.  Then, of course, there's opposite.  Even if I do manage to keep my mouth shut, my poker face can be read like a large print book.  

On the up-side, Daddy knows about one of my projects (it was his idea), so that makes it a little bit easier.  Mind you, a very little bit!

Thankfully, I only have roughly four and a half more days to keep quiet.  I just hope I can make it that much longer without giving something away!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Blessed Advent

   But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
  who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
 from you shall come forth for me
  one who is to be ruler in Israel,
 whose coming forth is from of old,
  from ancient days.
 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
  when she who is in labor has given birth;
 then the rest of his brothers shall return
  to the people of Israel.
 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,
  in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
 And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
  to the ends of the earth.
 And he shall be their peace.
 When the Assyrian comes into our land
  and treads in our palaces,
 then we will raise against him seven shepherds
  and eight princes of men;
(Micah 5:2-5 ESV)


 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
 And Mary said,
  “My soul magnifies the Lord,
  and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
  For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
  and holy is his name.
 And his mercy is for those who fear him
  from generation to generation.
 He has shown strength with his arm;
  he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
  and exalted those of humble estate;
 he has filled the hungry with good things,
  and the rich he has sent away empty.
 He has helped his servant Israel,
  in remembrance of his mercy,
 as he spoke to our fathers,
  to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

(Luke 1:39-55 ESV)


 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
  “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
  but a body have you prepared for me;
 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
  you have taken no pleasure.
 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
  as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”
  When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
(Hebrews 10:5-10 ESV)


A blessed fourth Advent Sabbath to you all!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

the picture says it all...

I know many of you ladies can relate to this cartoon.  Especially considering the fact that Christmas is exactly one week and a day away!  Sorry if that reminder is too stressful for some of you.  In fact, I'm trying very hard not to think about it too much. 

These past few days have been (for lack of a better term) CRAZY!!!!!  Shopping, baking, shopping, more baking, more shopping, cleaning,  even more baking, shopping and cleaning, laundry, dishes, doggie baths, projects piling up in the sewing room that must be finished and wrapped by Christmas Eve, the everyday chores that must be done in addition to the afore said  shopping, cleaning, baking, etc., etc., etc.  And I think that there was a piano recital in there somewhere...  I've had several mini meltdowns since then so I can't be sure. 

Even as I sit here procrastinating and staring at the blinking computer screen, I have a to-do list hanging over my head.  But, one has to regain sanity at some point, right?

 Two of my lovely, unsuspecting nieces are on their way here as I type this.  Little do they know that Aunt Manna is going to put them to work before they can get too comfortable!  :)  If I can't grow four extra arms myself I see no reason why I can't use someone else's.

Anyway, as the 25th inches closer and closer on the calendar, in spite of the chaos and stress, try to take some time to reflect on the real reason we are celebrating.  I know, easier said than done.  But I think that we all sometimes forget the real purpose of what we are preparing for.  The "celebration" seems to get lost under all of the wrapping paper and cookies and high expectations.  We forget that this season isn't about us.   It is about remembering the great gift of salvation that God gave to us in the form of His Son. 

I know that remembering this doesn't take away all of the to-do lists and the stress, but I find it encouraging just the same.

So, hang in there ladies!  We're almost there! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'tis the season for...


...nights spent with lovely friends and homemade candies...

...posing for pictures...

...and more pictures... ;) on the lake...

...showing off...

...ten flickering candles...

...yummy cupcakes!

...chillin'... with family...

...yummy food...

...being adorable... ;)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blessed Advent

 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ESV)
(Emphasis mine.)


 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

 And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
(John 1:6-8, 19-28 ESV)


A blessed Advent Sabbath to you all!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"I will give you rest..."

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Matthew 11:28-30

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

parades, road trips, books, etc!

I've gotten a little behind on my posting so please bear with me!  I will attempt to make this as organized as possible.

This past Saturday was Cleveland's Chrismas parade and our church decided have a float in it this year.  Sarah and I got really excited about the idea since we had never participated in a parade.  Well, technically we have, but we don't count it for reasons known only to those who were present at the time.  Anyway, we had a really good time with some of the other church families.  Unfortunately, Mama and Daddy couldn't join us because of lingering sickness, but they did stop by to wave as we rushed down the street.

Mary and Joseph

 The "riders". :)
 The candy hander-outers.
 By the end of the parade we were all exhaused.  Especially those of us who
were walking, I mean *ahem* running!

Sunday, we set out on a 28 hour road trip to South Georgia.  Several months ago Daddy sold our business trailer and has been looking for a bigger one.  In the meantime, we have 5 fryers and our entire set-up housed in the garage.  That's been interesting.  After much deliberation, Daddy finally decided on which trailer he wanted.  Then we found out that it would be a lot cheaper for us to pick up the trailer at the factory ourselves than to have it brought to us.  So, as usual, we turned business into a family outing. 

As we were trying to decide what to do to make the trip more interesting, we realized that we've never been to downtown Atlanta.  I've been to the outer parts of Atlanta several times and driven through it on the Interstate many times, but I've never seen downtown.  So, that's what we did.  We didn't have time to stop and walk around, but we drove through downtown.  I wanted to get a picture of the Varsity, but I didn't have my camera ready and there was no turning around in that traffic!

There was a huge mob in front of the Fox Theater.  I was to busy taking pictures to get a
good look at the marquis, but I think it was a production of the Nutcracker.
I must have been an interesting sight passing by, hanging out of the window of our huge suburban
with a death-grip on my Canon!

I can't wait to go back sometime when we have a chance to do some
real sightseeing.

We had a really had a good time, even though by most peoples standards we didn't really do anything.  But, I enjoy being  in the car with my family, as long as I'm allowed to take a nap at some point!  And of course, staying in a hotel is interesting in this family!  We went to 5 different ones checking prices before we finally settled on one and then we got all of our stuff inside and realized that it wasn't as clean as we thought it was.  So, we packed our stuff back into the truck and drove around some more before we finally found a place to sleep.  This was about an hour long ordeal.  And then of course, there was the adventure involving the room heating unit and the smoke alarm....

Never a dull moment in this family folks!

Aside from entertainment, this trip gave me the opportunity to catch up on some reading.  I've been working
on The Deadliest Monster by J. F. Baldwin this week.  I have approximately 73 pages left and I can't wait to get through them.  If you are looking to a good introduction to worldview I would highly recommend this book. 

It uses Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde vs. Frankenstein to clearly show the difference between the Christian and secular worldviews.  Christians are, in a sense, Dr. Jekyll: we believe that all men are naturally wicked and sinful and there is no good in him except that which is given by the Father through salvation in Christ.  Man has no power to save himself.  And if he toys with his sin, it will ultimately be his death

Baldwin compares non-Christian worldviews (ranging from atheists to Jehovah's Witness) to Frankenstein and the belief that man is born good with no concept of sin.  However, his environment and associations taint this "goodness", therefore teaching him to be wicked.  This worldview teaches that man can save himself from judgement nullifying the need for salvation outside of himself.  Namely, Jesus Christ.

I've had this book for years, but for some reason I never took the time to read it.  I'm so glad I did!  It's a wonderful source for those who wish to understand all of the implications of the biblical view of the nature of man.  It's been an eye opening read and I look forward to reading others of a similar nature. 

I have a whole list of other books to read that just keeps getting longer by the day. 

This is just a little piece of it (the whole thing is roughly 9 pages long!) and as you can see, the books that I want to buy and read (italicized/blue) vs. the books I actually own and have read (underlined)... well... let's just say, there's a lot of blue on there!  If only money grew on trees...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blessed Advent

 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning
 Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

  Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
  for the LORD has spoken:
 “Children have I reared and brought up,
  but they have rebelled against me.
 The ox knows its owner,
  and the donkey its master's crib,
 but Israel does not know,
  my people do not understand.”

  Ah, sinful nation,
  a people laden with iniquity,
 offspring of evildoers,
  children who deal corruptly!
 They have forsaken the LORD,
  they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
  they are utterly estranged.

  Why will you still be struck down?
  Why will you continue to rebel?
 The whole head is sick,
  and the whole heart faint.
 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
  there is no soundness in it,
 but bruises and sores
  and raw wounds;
 they are not pressed out or bound up
  or softened with oil.

  Your country lies desolate;
  your cities are burned with fire;
 in your very presence
  foreigners devour your land;
  it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.
 And the daughter of Zion is left
  like a booth in a vineyard,
 like a lodge in a cucumber field,
  like a besieged city.

  If the LORD of hosts
  had not left us a few survivors,
 we should have been like Sodom,
  and become like Gomorrah.

  Hear the word of the LORD,
  you rulers of Sodom!
 Give ear to the teaching of our God,
  you people of Gomorrah!
 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
  says the LORD;
 I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
  and the fat of well-fed beasts;
 I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
  or of lambs, or of goats.

(Isaiah 1:1-11 ESV)

I pray that you all have a blessed second Sabbath of Advent!