Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Wishes

I love Christmas.

Christmas is simultaneously a time of joy and sometimes sad nostalgia.  I can't help but think about Christmases past.  Often times those memories include people who have passed away, and I can't help but have a small heart ache for their loss.  However, Christmas present is such a joyous time.  My four year old daughter keeps saying, "Mommy, this is going to be the most wonderful Christmas ever!"  Her enthusiasm and genuine excitement and wonder, are so heartwarming that I know that Christmas present is by far the happiest of all Christmases.

Christmas past

I grew up in deep South Texas.  That is to say that it was never really cold.  We had a faux fireplace in our house, and no snow for sleighs or reindeer.  I have both a brother and a sister, who are, and I say this proudly, both older than me. ( Insert evil-smiley smirk here!)  One Christmas, I have no idea how old we were, but I am guessing around 4, 7, and 8.  On Christmas Eve the three of us all slept together in one room. We were NOT going to bed.  We were going to wait for Santa and his reindeer. We talked, laughed, and planned on how we were going to catch Santa leaving our gifts.  My mother had come in several times to tell us to go to bed, because Santa could not come unless we were sleeping.  On her last attempt, the most AMAZING thing happened, we heard Santa land on our roof.  There was a definite sound of running, and a very realistic sound of a sleigh.  To hear my mom tell the story, three children had never been to sleep faster than that night.  That was the night that my dad, took branches, and ran up and down our roof pretending to be Santa!  Of all my Christmases, I think this is the one I remember the most.  I don't remember the gifts but  I remember Santa landing on our roof.  Thanks Mom and Dad, for making it fun!

Christmas Present

I find that I sometimes am sad over missing the Grandparents who have passed and the family too far to visit, wishing that I could share Christmas with everyone I love from all ages of my life.  The reality is that Christmas present is for making new traditions and celebrating Christmas the way we want to celebrate for our daughter.  Even though I am called an adult, most of the time I don't feel like one.  It is foreign to me, to be creating new traditions for MY family to start and celebrate.  I keep thinking how much Santa is too much Santa?  How do we properly emphasize Jesus, but still have fun with Santa?  Other simple decisions like do we have turkey, prime rib, or ham seem to have me in a quandary. 

That is when the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit puts things into perspective for me.  Jesus was born in a manger!  Mary and Joseph had no room at the inn, and probably no fancy meal.  They had something so much better, than stockings of candy, gifts, and big meals.  They had real joy and heavenly love.  They had the newborn baby, Jesus, the Savior of the world.  They weren't focused on earthly stresses like their hotel, or their meal, they were focused on LOVE.  With this in mind, I am thinking that we may just change the way we do things.  I want stress-free and love filled!  I think that this year, while we will still have a meal, and gifts, we are going to take it easy.  We are going to Church, then home to relax.  This year there will be no major table setting, no fancy crystal, no unnecessary stress, just family and love.  Who cares what the table looks like, or if I am in my pajamas!  Jesus came as a gift.  He came to forgive of us our sins, he came to show us great love.  This Christmas, that it what I want for my family.  I want smiles, lots of hugs, I love you's all around.  I want to live out loud the call to "love one another as I have loved you."  This Christmas will be a celebration honoring Jesus, and His unfailing love for us.

To each of you my dear friends, I pray that you will honor Jesus by showing love and mercy where you haven't been showing it.  I pray that love overflow your homes, and hearts with the knowledge that Jesus came to save us, and show us love.  Finally I pray, that if your heart does not have a home with Jesus that you will hear his knock and open the door, to the best Christmas gift ever given.

Merry Christmas!

Luke 2: 8- 14
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 1112 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

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