Christmastime is supposed to be about baby Jesus, and images of Mary and Joseph peering into the manger. Animals snort and sniff the cold night air while shepherds marvel at the good news. The scent of frankincense is in the air. A time of great joy that our Savior has been born!
The cross, however, is supposed to be for Good Friday at Easter. But for some, Christmas is more about a cross than a manger.

if 2013 wasn't quite what you expected...

if 2013 wasn’t quite what you expected…

I so desperately want to offer a gift to Jesus this December. To wrap up my heart, with the promises of last January fulfilled-relationships nurtured, self-control mastered as my waistline whittled, and a more grace-filled heart towards others. And after years of struggles with my son’s health, my chronic migraines, financial sacrifices, and some troubled relationships, I just knew that this year would bring breakthroughs.

But with only a few weeks left in 2013, the year in review does not look like what I dreamed it would be.

Can you relate?

Did your hopes for a child go unfilled?

Have all those job interviews ended in “No thank you”?

Were you able to master your tendency to be quick to anger?

Did you serve your enemy?

Have you been enduring a betrayal?

Were you able to see your child through that enormous challenge?

Jesus’ death on the cross was a gift He carried for us. In the same way, the challenges and trials of 2013 are our crosses to carry as we follow Him. Each one is a gift to give back to God. And in the middle of the muddle, we find purpose for our pain.

We stare into the empty cradle and we carry our cross. We watch someone else’s name go up on an office nameplate and we carry our cross. We recognize our weaknesses and we carry our cross. We take our enemy’s assault and we carry our cross. We feel the shame of being duped and we carry our cross. Through tears we watch our child struggle and we carry our cross.

Then he said to them all, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

The church doors open on Christmas Eve and we march forward under the crosses we carry and there at the feet of Jesus we lay them down. A rugged gift, the price of following in His steps.

You don’t have to look back and live with regret or wish for something different.

Acknowledging that you have carried a weight and persevered through faith, is a beautiful gift. It’s a gift to those who witnessed your character, your repentance, and your courage. And it’s a gift to the One Who understands more than anyone else what it is to shoulder a cross.

Lay it down at the manger. Place your heavy weight at the infant feet of Jesus and worship the King of Kings. Release to Him your burden and all your unmet expectations. It is a great gift. A sacrifice of praise more costly than myrrh.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. I Peter 2:21

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Hebrews 13:15

How was 2013 different from what you expected? Did you faithfully carry a cross that you can offer to Jesus as a sacrifice of praise?

Amber Lia


Today, we’re excited to be giving away two of these beautiful rings (sizes made to order, available in gold or silver)!

Win this beautiful ring from the MOB Society today!

Win this beautiful ring from the MOB Society today!

Metanoia (Greek for “to have a change of heart”) is a line of handmade jewelry made by 22 year old actress/author, Rachael Lee , and are shipped with scripture to encourage and inspire others, making these handmade designs the perfect stocking stuffers!

10% of every purchase at Metanoia goes to ministries that help and support women like you!

For many more handmade designs, visit the Metanoia Etsy shop!

To Enter

Go check out the Metanoia Etsy Shop and tell us what your favorite design is in the comments! We’ll pick a winner and announce it on the blog next Tuesday!