Tuesday With Teri

Devotions from lessons I'm learning from God

A Christmas Tree Angel, back on a tree! December 23, 2022

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:01 am

It has been a powerful year, full of challenges and change. I was surprised to find our angel tree topper unscathed when I unpacked her. You see, she too had a year full of challenges and change. She survived another year stored in the belly of our boat as we moved up and down the Esast coast and the Bahamas. In the fall she was uncerimoniously transfered from the boat and joined the dust covered pile of boxes in our storage closet. We are solidly settled in our home on land and looked forward to unboxing all our older decor from the years we were not on the boat…but I braced for the impact. Firstly, WOW…I had no idea just how much Christmas stuff I had accumulated over the years…Second, YAY for most of the items surviving thier years long slumber and neglecful storage. But for me, each year, unboxing my angel is a breath holding moment.

She is fragile, and more so each year. I was fully expecting the need to repair her once again…I honstly would not be shocked to find her a melted, crumbled mess. But there she was…intact and perfect. Well, as perfectly imperfect as always. Her head still tilts at an awkward angle, the super glue necklace is still a startling reminder of past decapitation repairs, her hair is even thiner if that is even possible and her velvet dress is dull and missing more trimmings….but I still love her. I love the way she reminds me of my childhood. I love that she reminds me of the beauty that is found in imperfecton. I love that she reminds me of the impact of the pasing of time. This year I am even more mindful of her fragility. I believe this last year the world has seen the fragility of life on full display.

She is here, awaiting the arrival of our daughter (who traditionally gets to put her on the tree, something that has become progressively more difficult now that her dad can no longer lift her up). After years of residing on top of a small tree made of crab pot wire, she will grace an actual tree. It has indeed been a powerful year…there will always be challenges and change, but it is good to know some things will always remain the same. Here again, the annual retelling of “The Christmas Tree Angel”. Merry Christmas dear friends and family.

I’m not sure where she came from. (update: someone recognized her and informed me she is a Nuremberg angel!) I’m not even certain of her age. (update: As a Nuremberg angel, we probably acquired her when my family lived in Germany when dad was in the Air Force…this would make her well over 50 yrs!)

She sat atop the Christmas tree for many of my growing up years, quietly presiding over each holiday season.  I acquired her from my mother many years ago.

Her gold foil, cardboard wings, once ended in perfect points extending her stature to seven inches.  Now her wing span is slightly reduced, as the tips went from being slightly bent, to folded, until they eventually tore off.  Her dark red velvet dress, trimmed with gold brick brack, fits snuggly to her waist before flowing over her cardboard form.  Her once silky, radiant white hair, now hangs in brittle coils around her shoulders.  A little gold foil halo covers a place on her head where some of her hair has given way to the passage of time.

Her head and hands are made of wax, as is the candle she holds in one hand.  I remember her as a beautiful lady, her face perfect and delicate.  Those qualities are now faded.  Her head, once held high and straight, has melted somewhat.  It now bows lovingly downward and a bit to the right.  Two years ago a significant amount of time and effort was put into re-attaching her long held candle to her now miss shaped hand.  Yep, she’s a bit of mess you might say.  I like that about her.

She doesn’t light up or sparkle, and quite often she is too small for the tree, making her look even more out of place.  But I look forward to her presence in my living room each Christmas.  Late at night, when the tree is lit and others have gone on to bed, I find myself thinking of her and all we have in common.

I too, know what it’s like to have my wings bent and torn.  I know what it feels like when your body gives itself over to the challenges of time.  My hair is no longer silky or radiant, and I only wish had a halo to hide the places where it has become thin.  I understand the sagging of her shoulders and the bowing of her head.  I have felt the weight every mother bears for her family.  I know the need to bow my head in constant prayer.   I love her imperfection.  She’s a holiday reminder that God loves us in our imperfection.

A love full of grace, a savior born to take on the sin of the world, a reason to celebrate, reflected in the melted features and unraveled edges of our Christmas tree Angel.


And Then What Happened? December 21, 2022

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 11:16 am

I have a lot of words. My poor hubby suffers through my long winded tales with well practiced “pretend to be paying attention” tactics. When his eyes glaze over as his attention wanders…he quickly perks up and utters, “and then what happened?” It is effective. I am on to this ploy…but I honestly appreciate that he does not give me a hard time for my over detailed tellings of everyday events, instead he offers this line which allows me to enjoy my verbal journey…there is always more to the story. I love him for that. This Christmas I find myself also asking, “and then what happened?”…there is always more to the story.

God’s creation lay broken, mankind gripped by sin seperating us and our Holy God..”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 2:23 Then what happened?

God happened. God provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins…”for today in the city of David there has been born for you a savior, Who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11 Then what happened?

God happened. A baby, arriving in an unusual place, at an unexpected time, in a miraclulous way, was God’s gift to us all. Beyond the swaddling, this child would grow in favor with God and man…He would show the world what grace means…He would guide and make disciples….He would display the glory of God through healing and miracles…He would allow Himself to be crucified…He would overcome the world and death…through His death and resurrection, we can be forgivien of our sins.

“But God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, the birth of our savior, let us also rememebr the rest of the story…the real reason why this birth matters. Then what happened?

God Happened. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge, but that the world should be saved through Him.” John 3:16&17

Future generations may some day, in the retelling of this very powerful time in our lives, ask “and then what happened?” The answer will forever be the same…God happened.


Jared and Jesus December 13, 2022

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 9:27 am

They really ought to warn a girl…there I was, casually watching a Hallmark movie and minding my own business, when a commercial snuck into my awareness.  Most commercials are just a moment of time when I pause from TV viewing to browse on my phone. The thing is, THIS commercial was like an emotional assassin.  One minute I am in a mindlessly blissful happy place filled with holiday cliches and cheesy storylines, then WHAM, suddenly I am a bit choked up. 

It is all Jared’s fault.  Perhaps you have seen the jewelry store TV spot?  A woman holds a necklace in her hands as she shares about a man who was like a father to her.  This necklace was a gift from her surrogate father figure the day he walked her down the aisle for her wedding.  The moving story comes to a close as the camera slowly focuses on her face and she says, “It was the first time a father chose me as a daughter”.     “a father chose me as a daughter”  I was moved by this stunningly profound utterance.  I am pretty certain the marketing team at Jared’s has no idea just how appropriate this line is at Christmas.  I too know the joy of having a father choose me.  No, I am not adopted nor is my story unique.  You see we are all chosen by God. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love.  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in Christ.”  Ephesians 1:3-6

We are God’s creation.  He knew our sin would separate us from Him.  The birth of Christ, his life death and resurrection, was Gods gift to us.  By believing in Him and accepting Christ as savior, we can know forgiveness and grace…in Christ we can stand before God blameless.    God chose us.  This was the joyous news shared to the shepherds in that field just outside of Bethlehem.  God had sent His greatest gift, Jesus Christ as a way for all of mankind to be reconciled to Him.  Truly good news of great Joy!

“And the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

 Luke 2:10&11


Turn Your Eyes… December 6, 2022

Filed under: devotionals — tlmiller82 @ 10:21 am

I miss hymns and hymnals.  I didn’t realize just how much until a few weeks ago when I saw one referred to in a sermon.  The words of a familiar hymn popped up on the screen… Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.  My breathe caught…while the words were not being sung, (he was just using the line to emphasize a thought), I could clearly hear the melody in my head.  My heart was overwhelmed with vivid memories of singing this in church, hymnal in outstretched hands so we could share, our often off-key voices combining to fill the sanctuary with sincere and thoughtful worship.  Long after the service that day, this hymn played over and over in my head.  I still find myself humming it under my breath and replaying it in my mind as I go to sleep when I am restless.

As I sit to write about peace, this song still rolls around in my heart.   Peace, God’s peace, can be found in trusting Him. Keeping our eyes on Him.  Truly, when I keep God as the lens through which I see my world, it changes everything.  Many days, as I sip my coffee while watching the morning news or scrolling online, world events, national statistics, local issues and private struggles all blend together in an overwhelming barrage.  Sadly, it does not take much for me to exchange my peace of mind for anxiety over things in and even out of my control.  But then God shows up, in a simple line from a hymn, on a screen without music, and I am reminded how great a gift of peace He gave us through the birth of Christ Jesus.

The birth of Jesus would bring about the ultimate sacrifice for our sin, He is our redeemer.  God’s peace is not the absence of war, lack of striving, or even quietly getting along…God’s peace is trusting in Him…it is the internal assurance of personal forgiveness and grace and the external confidence that He is in control and always working in our favor and to His glory. 

Sometimes, even the prettiest of tinsel and lights of the season can be dimmed by stress, anxiety and pressure…Please join me in taking a few minutes to soak in the peace God offers us, this week my new favorite Christmas song is this one:

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2