My tree is up! Can you believe it? Before Thanksgiving no less! I am usually a Christmas purist… I do not believe in bringing out decorations early or putting a tree up before Thanksgiving and please do not ever (ever!) try to take me into a Christmas all year store. They make me itch and a little nauseous. But this year I just couldn't help myself, the tree had to come out early. I feel like I have the Christmas Spirit bursting out of me! Part of me knows it is because I have an almost 3 year old and everything she sees right now is magical. The best way to see something is through the eyes of a happy child. Still, I know that isn't the only reason. H was almost 2 last year and noticed everything then too but I didn't feel the way I do right now about the Christmas season.
I think the majority of this change in me comes from my view and approach of Christmas this year. About a month ago I sent a letter out to my family asking that I not receive any gifts this year. I didn't do it to be a grinch or to be a saint, I did it because I knew God was clearly telling me to say no to the excess of the American life and to give money to where the real needs are. Starving children, girls being trafficked, widows and single moms without homes; these are the things worthy of money and time, not the newest gadget or another piece of clothing when I already have so much. I am not saying there is anything wrong with gifts. I love gifts. I love knowing that someone was thinking of me. I hesitated for a minute before sending the letter because I knew that when you clearly and passionately ask people to not give you anything they will respect your wishes. I had to double check my motives. Did I truly believe it and really wanted nothing or was I sending it to appease God and “look good” while still knowing that there might be something for me? It was nice to get the confirmation that my motives were true and that this year my sights are set on something bigger than me. (Disclaimer: In the midst of this I also know that what God has called me to isn’t going to be for everyone so I have tried to not impose or preach to others. Please do not think that is the purpose of this post. I know what God has called me to and I am responsible to respond but I am not anyone else’s Holy Spirit. So, we are still doing gifts for our family members and enjoying every moment of it.) What a joy it is to say that truly, for the first time in my adult life, I feel like I am finally getting the Spirit of Christmas. Instead of celebrating “Getmas” I am choosing to celebrate CHRISTmas.
Over the last year my love for my Savior has grown exponentially. I have learned so much about Him and I realized that I lived each day acting like He wasn't real. I couldn't keep doing it in my daily life and I didn't want to do it at Christmas. I finally understood that I had bought into the idea that the purpose of this season is to celebrate “togetherness” through big dinners, singing songs and getting great family time and that this somehow honored God/baby Jesus. The whole reason we celebrate Christmas is to recognize that God Himself sent His Son from a perfect place, where He had angels worshiping Him night and day, to a dirty, sad, sin filled world so that He could teach us for a short time and then be killed in a horrific way. That’s it. Read that sentence again. Let it sink in. I can barely look at a manager scene without my eyes filling with tears as I think about how this precious baby would be beaten, bloodied and killed for me. I think about Mary. How strange would it have felt to look at your child and know that He is God? I think about how often I wonder if I am doing a good job with Hannah as a first time parent… could you imagine the self imposed pressure of raising GOD?
Let me encourage you, if you have felt your heart tugged towards those who need food, shelter or clothing there is still plenty of time to act on your desire to help. Call a local shelter or children’s home. They count on the donations and the time of others to provide for those that are in their care. I guarantee you that if your heart is beating excitedly at the idea of being able to help someone that God will lead you to the right place. There is no better gift you can give than to give of yourself for Christmas. There is no better way to celebrate this season than to follow in the steps of our Savior who laid down His life because of His Love for us.
I pray that as Christmas comes closer that you will be filled with the Holy Spirit and overflowing with His Love to give to those that cross your path.
With a Thankful Heart,
PS: I have been enjoying 2 Christmas CD’s I was able to get with free Amazon creditsJ I HIGHLY recommend them both. The First is Jason Gray’s “Christmas Stories”. Love the song “Rest”… from the point of view of the innkeeper. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
I have also loved Jeremy Camp’s “God with Us”. I haven’t really listened to much of his music in the past but I am really enjoying this CD. Click here to check it out on Amazon.