As I sit here and write this blog I am actually having a hard time finding the words to begin it. And as I’ve read it over, let me just say that this comes from my heart, my convictions, and my thoughts over this past Christmas. I don’t want to ever hurt anyones feelings but I just had to write some stuff and get it off my chest.
I love Christmas. For our family, we gather together in Florida, create wonderful memories and celebrate the birth of our Savior. It’s just such a happy time of year. But honestly, leading up to it can be stressful and conflicting for me. I desperately want our family to embrace the real meaning of Christmas. I want my children knowing that it’s all and only about Jesus, when He was born and how He had to be born to save us. But let’s get real, our culture makes that very difficult. And you’ll even discover that different family traditions can create conflict over how Christmas should play out for you and your immediate family. And then there is a wide variety of opinions out there (like MINE, haha!) from the extremely radical – to the way to laid back worldly “This is what WE do for Christmas.” It can be tough to find how Christ wants each of us as Christians, individuals, and families to celebrate the day he entered this world as a little baby. We are all going to have our own special and unique traditions. I struggle every year with identifying what our Christmas should look like. And I don’t even know if we’ve gotten it right yet but I hope we do our best to express our love and gratitude to Jesus for the sacrifice he made.
This year Christmas fell on a Sunday. I can’t tell you how much this excited me. How perfect it felt to be in church, with our Lord and Savior on His birthday. Between that and the Christmas Eve service I felt like this Christmas was the BEST because it was, as it should be, centered around Him. Singing to Him, praising Him, worshipping Him. Being in church really brought the focus on Him. And the emotions for me were running high reflecting on the miracle of his birth and the even greater miracle of his love for US. With our choir we sang so many beautiful songs, one of which was not your typical “Christmas” song but so appropriate to explain “How He Loves” (David Crowder Band). In the song they specifically write “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves us” I know I’m pregnant but that’s not ALWAYS the reason for my emotions these days. 😉 It was like a waterfall of tears thinking about the way he loves ME. Have you thought about that? Do you think about how rotten and sinful you are at points and how that doesn’t stop him from loving you with this immeasurable love. It just amazes me.
I told my dad that I think Christmas should be like Easter… always on Sunday. It just felt right. As I said, we all have different traditions but this honestly seems like a no brainer to me now. And for the LIFE of me I can’t even understand how some churches DID NOT have services. I don’t normally want to write things in my blog that might be considered “offensive” but that created a sick feeling in my stomach just thinking “What are we coming to?” That even some of our leaders are putting a message out there that says “It’s no big deal, don’t come worship the birth of Christ. Stay home with YOUR family, open YOUR gifts,…. you you you.” The 1 year out of every 7 we can’t just get out of our pj’s and make it to an 11 o’clock service to recognize what Jesus did and show some gratitude. Satan has become so clever and crafty with his way of taking Christmas from Jesus little by little. He has convinced the world that it’s about santa, presents, and consuming on ourselves. We all, myself included, have fallen for this in one way or another. But it’s up to us as Christians to instill in future generations that it’s ONLY about Jesus. How can we convey that when we can’t even sacrifice a few hours at church on His birthday. That’s just a small sacrifice. I know you don’t have to be IN a church to worship him but let’s be honest it’s a lot easier to forget and/or neglect worshipping him if we aren’t. You can not avoid his presence when you are in his house. And yes, some circumstances will have it that we can’t be in a place of worship on his birthday and yes we CAN worship him anywhere. I just know from personal experience being in church holds a certain accountability within me to give him the worship he deserves. And I was blessed in a way this Christmas that I haven’t been before and I wouldn’t have experienced it had I stayed home. And this is all something I’m realizing for the first time, so I don’t want to sound like “I’m so holy…..” I’m not. I fully recognize my own rotten sinful self and my desperate need for Jesus Christ.
We did have an amazing Christmas. And like I said I’m still trying to figure out how our family can make it about him. Ultimately I have learned that a big way to make it about HIM is to NOT make it about ME and my desires and what I think Christmas should look like. (me, me, me) Because that certainly wont convey the love of Jesus. And Christmas is about just that. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.
The greatest thing about this Christmas for me was once again being made aware of God’s goodness. I love experiencing that overwhelming feeling, almost as if He is wrapping His arms around me and squeezing me tight saying, “You know I love you SO much.” And I have this firm belief and confidence in it,…. it’s so hard to explain but the most wonderful feeling in the world. We don’t always get to “feel” things. But what a gift when we do.
I have to end with that David Crowder song again and my favorite part in it….
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
He loves us