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Advent Day 20: All Are Welcome

  Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, “As the Lord lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt”, but “As the Lord lives who brought out and led the offspring of the house of Israel out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them.” Then they shall live in their own land. —Jeremiah 23:7–8 
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Advice for Parents: Let Siblings Work It Out

Let’s say I’m a nine-year-old boy. My sister is six. I’m bigger, stronger, and feistier. Is it in my interest to accommodate? Or would I be inclined to solve conflicts in my favor? Is self-love stronger than sibling love? Can you imagine my nine-year-old self saying to my sister, “OK, Harmony, let’s try to work this out. Since I’m the big brother, I will sacrifice. You play with the Legos first, all by yourself, for the next fifteen minutes. See, isn’t that better? And Mom can enjoy her nap.” If by some quirk of nature, you have a child like this, I’d say let him solve all conflicts. In fact, I’d say let him raise himself—and his sister, too.
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Advent Day 19: Simple Presence

  For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you. —Isaiah 54:10
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Faith and Family: Mary and Elizabeth

Read LK 1:39-45 Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah,  where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb,  and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,  cried out in a loud voice and said,  "Blessed are you among women,  and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
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Advent Day 18: You Have Gifts to Offer

  Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may spring up, and let it cause righteousness to sprout up also; I the Lord have created it. —Isaiah 45:8 
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Advent Day 17: Don’t Let Regret Hold You Back

  “A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.” —Matthew 21:28–32 
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Parenting Paralysis: What's Changed About Raising Children?

I don’t recall questioning my parenting like parents do these days. My daughter has more self-doubts raising her six-year-old son than we did with all five of our children. What’s changed?
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Advent Day 16: The Gift of Patience

  Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. —James 5:7–8 
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Advent Day 15: Rejoice in Goodness

  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:4–5 
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Advent Day 14: Everything We Want

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you for your own good, who leads you in the way you should go. O that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your prosperity would have been like a river, and your success like the waves of the sea; your offspring would have been like the sand, and your descendants like its grains; their name would never be cut off  or destroyed from before me. —Isaiah 48:17–19
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