About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also best-selling author of "A Confident Heart" and the familiar voice of a friend to women around the world as the former Proverbs 31 Ministries' radio co-host for ten years. Renee is a mom of three Joshua (25), Andrew (22) and...

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  1. Renee,
    I don’t have much family and I’ve often thought about how wonderful it would be to have a big family Christmas. But, as you pointed out, I could fill my home with a hundred people, but if I don’t have Christ I will still feel empty. The 5th stanza really resonated with me…”Surround me…Clear my mind….Slow me down…so that I can feel the hush of Jesus. Beautiful!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • It’s so true Bev! Even a big, wonderful family isn’t enough to fill us – without His presence and our awareness of His love for us, we just end up empty. I pray you will experience the contentment of His peace, the clarity of His voice and the calming hush of His love surrounding you this Christmas and every day leading up to it!! xoxo

  2. What a beautiful poem Renee. The birth of Jesus is so pure is the word the comes to mind. I need Jesus presence and his peace and I can really feel his love. Thanks for bringing the true meaning the importance of Jesus and being with him to remember and give thanks for this miracle so important the most important part of Christmas!

  3. Oh and the last part not sure if it’s more than one stanze (I’m not a writer) but this:

    his Christmas, Jesus, come to the manger of my heart.
    Invade my soul like Bethlehem, bringing peace to every part.
    Dwell within and around me as I unwrap Your presence each day.
    Keep me close to You, Lord. It’s in Your wonderful Name I pray.

    • That’s my favorite stanza too. When I wrote that prayer, it felt like the Holy Spirit was writing it through me and showing me things I’d never thought. The imagery of Jesus, the Prince of peace, invading Bethlehem with His presence took my breath away.

  4. Absolutely beautiful!!!!
    May this poem be my heartbeat this season and all year long!!!
    Merry Christmas to you!!!

  5. That was a beautiful story and a beautiful poem. Both were just what I needed today. Christmas can be a series of unfulfilled expectations if we are not focused on the “real” story of Christmas.

    • It really can be. I want the posture of my heart to be an expectancy of Him coming closer superseding my expectations or hopes of how things should, could or will go. Just more of Him this Christmas!

  6. Oh, Renee, your prayer spoke to my heart! I find myself often distracted, but this is helping me focus!
    Your writings have truly been an inspiration to me, real, transparent.
    An example of God likeness. Thank you!

    • Thank you Sue. Your words of encouragement mean a lot. Praying we will both be distracted by His goodness and grace, and nothing more than what He wants our Christmas to be! xoxo

  7. Christmas is so intensely theological! We could live on the truth of it year round if we ever once let ourselves slow down and take it all in. Trusting for some good “closet time” this year as well…

    • Amen!! It is such a rich and life-giving part of our story woven into the unfolding of His. May we soak in it deeply this December, and look for more closet conversations. 🙂

  8. This is my favorite stanza, and the cry of my heart:
    Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth,
    when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth.

  9. What a beautiful poem Renee. I needed this today, to remind me to slow down during this Christmas season of “to do’s”. The 5th stanza really spoke to me…..I long for His presence, I want and need to hear His voice, too much holiday noise, slow me down and help me not to rush, in the midst of everything I desire to feel your hush. Thank you Renee for sharing and helping to redirect my Advent season.

  10. “I was relying on myself to make Christmas something only He could.” Such a common misstep for many of us, as we tackle the extra-long to-do list (some of it self-inflicted!) day after day of Advent. I wonder what might happen if we let go of our Christmas expectations and let God have free reign to fulfill HIS purpose? I wonder how our experience would be enhanced with restored wonder in our Savior’s birth, in his constant presence, in his transforming light? Stanza 3 resonates with me!

    • I’m really leaning into letting Him lead this year. I haven’t even put up one decoration or our tree yet, and I have so much peace. I want to experience it all with Him and not be rushed to do it all, just because it’s “time.” Each year feels more and more like I’m getting to live in the power of this prayer He poured into my heart and out of my hands.

      Merry Christmas Nancy!

  11. Renee,

    Society makes it easy to place our focus on the wrong things. Oh we must have plenty of gifts & food. The house must be neatly decorated just so & all must be perfect-or so we think. Truth is all we really have to do is focus our attention on the greatest gift ever given–Jesus Christ. He who left the splendor of Heaven to come to dark sin filled broken Earth. The holidays should be all about being “fully present” with family & friends. Having a good time & remembering the greatest gift of all. This is going to be a real tough Christmas for my MIL & family. We lost FIL Monday before Thanksgiving. We will have around 13 peoples at the house to celebrate & be with the MIL. That’s why I like the third stanza. Restore to me the wonder that came with Jesus’ birth, when He left the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in rags of earth. Immanuel, God with us, Your presence came that night. And angels announced, “Into your darkness, God brings His Light.”

    Advent blessings 🙂

  12. Thank you for sharing this. Your words sing, and your poem would be a beautiful song.
    As a vocal music teacher, wife to another choral director, and accompanist for a youth choir ministry, this season is generally one of the most stressful times of the year. Your words are just what I needed as I try to keep my focus on Jesus in the midst of the cacophony. <3 Thank you for letting Him speak through you.

    • Brie!! I’ve been sensing lately that maybe I’m supposed to reach out to some people I know in Christian music to talk about these stanzas of words being woven into the lyrics of a song. You are the second or third person who has mentioned something similar. Would treasure your prayers around
      that prompting. I can only imagine how much this season stretches you and others in music. Praying that your heart experiences the fullness of these words He poured into my soul to pour back out to Him!