On the refrigerator in Utah author Emily Belle Freeman’s home this December has been a sign that simply reads “Expect Miracles.”
“We’ve had such great conversations in the kitchen just about what that looks like and what does that look like in our life and how do we see that happening,” Freeman said in a phone interview.
“The Christ-Centered Home: Inviting Jesus In” has 12 chapters, each including an experience from the New Testament of homes Jesus Christ entered, a lesson learned and a way to invite him in.
Freeman also shares personal and family experiences along with workbook-style questions. Each chapter includes a section called “The Conversation,” with a scripture and ways to discuss the lesson; “The Connection,” with a place to write a goal to act on the lesson; and “The Celebration,” with recipes from Freeman's family and friends as a guide for families to learn together and set goals together, she said.
As she studied scriptures and the homes Jesus entered, Freeman said she looked for “How does this apply to me today?”
“There are lessons that I want to teach my own children,” she said. “I want them to experience that same moment in our own home.”
In Jesus’ experiences, many times there was an obvious lesson and then an underlying lesson that caught her attention, she said.
“It becomes the little golden nugget that’s right in there and the applications for our lives,” she said.
In the chapter on “Expect Miracles,” which focuses on developing “A Household of Faith,” she shares the experience of Jesus traveling to the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He was resting in a home when a gentile woman who had a daughter oppressed by a demon asked for his help (see Mark 7:24-30).
“That woman is so humble in the expectation of a miracle that could change her life and change the life of her daughter, she says that she’ll take anything,” Freeman said.
This experience isn’t just about faith in asking for help, she said.
“She approached Jesus with the expectation of a miracle,” Freeman said. “I wonder how many of us do that in our lives?”
These principles, including faith, prayer, scripture, holiness, unity, grace, love, gratitude and worship, aren’t ones that are done once and then finished, she said.
“They are something you add into your spiritual routine of life,” she said.
It’s also not meant to be overwhelming or impossible, she added.
“One of my favorite lessons of Jesus Christ is that he is willing to meet people where we are,” Freeman said. “No matter where we are that we can invite Jesus in, it will change our lives for the better.”
This potential yearlong study is meant to help people and families “reflect on what are we doing well and where can we improve,” she said.
In her family, Freeman said they went through all 12 lessons, which are designated by months. In December, they revisited “Expect Miracles,” as she saw a need for miracles in their family.
“That visual reminder of what we want to make part of our lives has been powerful,” she said.
Freeman’s previous books include “Celebrating a Christ-Centered Christmas” and "Celebrating a Christ-Centered Easter.” Freeman, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, joined a weekly Bible study group at a different Christian church.
“As we gather together and talk about scriptures and spend time talking about stories in the New Testament, that is one place where we’ve found where we have common ground,” she said. These “sweet conversations” have “become a strength to us, no matter what religion we are.”
The signs/printables for each month and additional information for each lesson are available at christcenteredcelebrations.com/resources.