It’s almost Christmas and all too often this last week becomes a flurry of frantic shopping, expensive travel, rushed cleaning, stressful detail planning, and frustrated family arguments – all of which sound like the true spirit of the Christmas, right? Well, maybe not so much. But we’ve all experienced the stress of the season. When I struggle with those moments, I try to take a minute and remember one of the things that I truly love about Christmas. In thinking about my blog for this week, I decided to figure out what tidbits were the most important. What do I really want my children to remember about Christmas? Here are what I discovered are the five most important things to me.
Christmas is giving. – Children anticipate Christmas morning for months hoping for all the presents they asked Santa for. The excitement is so tangible it hangs in the air with each shred of wrapping paper as they tear into their gifts. They want to receive, not give. But I can tell you as a parent that I get just as excited for my kids to open the gifts that I know they’ve been waiting for. One of my favorite things is wrapping presents because as I am doing that I am imagining each person’s happiness when they receive that gift. It was picked out just for them and hopefully will bring a smile to their heart. I have received many wonderful gifts in life, but I have come to the point where I enjoy giving so much more than receiving. Deuteronomy 16:17 tells us “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” It doesn’t matter if it is something handmade or one of those ‘big ticket’ items, you should give as the Lord has given to you. Whether it is giving to those less fortunate or to your loved ones, when you give from the heart, it will matter so much more. I hope that my kids will discover that wonder because it makes Christmas so much sweeter.
Christmas is together. – I grew up always spending holidays with families. Sometimes we traveled and sometimes we hosted, but there was always one side of the family or another around. When I got into college with a new circle of friends that had not grown up that way, it was amazing to me just how many families did not place importance on that. It didn’t mean they didn’t love each other, but they didn’t strive to celebrate together. And even more, I was suddenly aware of all the people who seemed not to have anyone to celebrate with. I moved about 1000 miles away from my family in college, and the first Christmas that I didn’t get to travel home, I was heartbroken. It really didn’t seem like Christmas without my family. A friend invited me to his home for Christmas Day and even though I barely knew his family, I felt so much better. I know there are people who don’t have that circle of loved ones to turn to, so I hope we all remember to invite someone new into our homes as well. 1 Peter 4:9 says “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” It’s all too easy to grumble about that family member or that person at work, but be open to welcoming them all, because they may not have anyone else. Together is truly better.
Christmas is music. – Yes, I am that person that listens to the Christmas radio station as soon as it starts playing in November. I am loud and proud and I LOVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC! No other holiday spawns new stations and takes over playlists for over a month. It is a big deal. And it’s wonderful that half of Christmas songs have to do with the birth of Christ. I just think it is an amazing way to celebrate – it lifts my spirit and just makes me smile all day when I am listening to that music. Psalm 98:1a says tells us to “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.” What an amazing way to worship our Lord who has blessed us with this incredible reason to celebrate.
Christmas is sparkle. – My children like to make fun of me because at night I often sit in the living room with all the lights turned out just watching the sparkle of the Christmas tree. I’m the mom that forces everyone into the car some random night to drive around and look at all the Christmas lights. I buy the cards with glitter on them. I love when it snows at night because in the morning the smooth snow outside sparkles in the sunlight. Christmas is sparkle to me in so many little ways. But I hope that my kids learn that it isn’t just about the shine and glimmer of things, but the sparkle of wonder that the holiday holds. It is one of the few times of year that people will simply stop and enjoy the holiday. Whether it is looking at lights or new fallen snow, people take that extra moment at Christmas to savor the time. I wish it was like that all year round. Psalm 118:23 says “The Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” That is what I think of all the sparkle of Christmas. He has done all of this, and it is wonderful.
Christmas is love. – All of the earthly and commercial reasons we celebrate Christmas have to do in some way with love. Everyone knows that. But there is no love more significant that the love our heavenly Father showed us by sending his son to be born on Earth in a lowly stable and grow up only to suffer and die for each and every one of us. John 3:16 explains “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” That is love. That is the Lord. And that is truly what Christmas is about.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,