Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year
I immediately hear Lucy, Linus, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty and the rest of the bunch when I read those lyrics, do you? I think I’ve grown to love the annual television programming of the Charlie Brown shows more as I’ve gotten older. It has to be a nostalgia thing, bringing to mind enjoyable memories from my childhood. What our house looked like during the holidays, who we spent our time with, what we ate, the music we listened to (usually Mannheim Steamroller if my dad was running things!) and what we wore. You know, the trend of ugly sweaters were a legitimate piece of clothing at one time – yikes! Those are vivid and such special memories that I’m thankful for and will always have. I want to create memories that our girls will cherish and carry along too. The old and new traditions, celebrating with family and friends and all of the excitement that this time of year holds!
Even more than those memories that I hope are being fostered though, this season brings to the forefront, my prayer that Jesus becomes so real in their lives. As someone who didn’t find a personal relationship with Jesus until after I was married and less than a decade ago, Christmas has meant so much more in recent years. I’ve always loved the festivities, the extra time with family, and any reason to make treats and to host get togethers in our home. Since becoming parents, we have made it a point to ask our girls often what we are celebrating at Christmas, and of course we smile and give a resounding “yes!” to their response of “it’s Jesus’ birthday!”. That’s exactly right, and I’m so thankful that even from their young perspective they know that it’s more than the gifts and cookies.
At 34 years old, the reality of Christmas being the birth of Our Savior feels different than in years past. I’ve felt God’s presence in amazing ways. He has challenged my heart. He has forgiven. He has stretched me beyond my comfort level while extending such amazing grace, and last but certainly not least, He sent His son to die for my sins.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. – Matthew 1:21
There is a weight to that. Christmas – the birth of the One…who died for MY sins. I am forgiven because Jesus paid my ransom and I am washed clean. How grim would that be if it weren’t for the incredible hope we have because of Jesus’ love and willingness to die to save us? He LOVES us immeasurably and this year more than any other, I feel such beautiful joy in celebrating Him! It has taken me awhile to even begin to grasp what this means, and I can’t expect our young daughters to fully “get it” either. What I can do is make it a point to openly share who Jesus is in my life, not just during Christmas, but in our everyday, and pray fervently that they find Him in their own lives in a way that reaches the depths of their hearts and settles in completely. That they come to a point in their lives where Christmas feels like so much more too.
Enjoy the Christmas season for all that it is. Let the kids and grandkids have fun, and allow yourself to as well. Soak up the family time and savor the treats, and in every opportunity you have to dwell on the birth of Our Savior, take that extra minute to audibly say, even if to yourself, “we are celebrating the birth of…Our Savior”. In the past it was simply routine for me to go through the motions of saying it, singing it, and reading it, but taking time to center my heart on His coming has felt nothing short of indescribable peace, joy and to be in absolute wonder of His love!