Thanks to all my sweet friends for your encouragement yesterday. It's amazing the difference a day can make. I am feeling so much better today. This morning I blasted the Christmas music when I was getting ready and sang, sang, sang! There was no crying or blowing my nose on my glove. The sun is shining and it is freeeezing outside....I am totally in the Christmas spirit - but not because I've been shopping or have made out my Christmas wish list. I am in the Christmas spirit because I have spent some time digging into God's word and reading parts of the Christmas story. I am reminded once again of the hope that I have in Christ Jesus. Because of that HOPE I can forget about the dreadful day I had yesterday and can look forward to what's to come. That HOPE is what Christmas is all about!
I am putting together a short lesson on the Christmas story for our small group tomorrow night. I can't wait for us to discuss this amazing story and the meaning behind it. I'm trying to think of a really creative activity we can do as a group that will really focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
I have been a Christian for a long time - but I think this is the first year that I have really made an effort to keep Christ at the center of Christmas. It's the first year I haven't gotten all stressed out over what to buy my family and friends. There are VERY few presents under my tree - only 5 to be exact! I usually have at least a "few" things on my Christmas list, but this year I can't think of a single thing I "Need." (Except for that baby from Ethiopia). I have decided that I am not going to let the craziness of December rob me of my Christmas joy.
John and I started the Bible Study "Advent Conspiracy" with one of our small groups. It's all about worshipping more, spending less, giving more and loving all.
Last night we had to answer this question...
How would you describe the best Christmas you ever had as a child?
It's funny that nobody named their favorite gifts. I can definitely remember some of the gifts I received when I was a child, but what I remember most was spending Christmas Eve at my G-Dad's house. I remember putting on my pajamas, loading up in the car and heading home to wait for Santa. I remember "Granny Boxes" full of fun stuff - and they always included a new package of panties. I remember NOEL cookies and decorating the Christmas tree as a family. It seemed to take my dad an eternity to put the lights on the tree. I remember when I was a little girl, sitting on my parents bed, talking to my Meme on their brown rotary phone. We would sing "Away in a Manger"
Christmas is about investing in people. It's about spending time with the ones you love and about making memories that will last a lifetime. It won't take long to forget about the "stuff" but you will always remember the traditions.
Here is an excerpt from "Advent Conspiracy"
"God was here in flesh and blood and by His life, death and resurrection, we now have hope. This is what the Incarnation means to us. All the prophecies, all the promises, came down to this one very relational gift. The Father gave the most personal gift ever - his Son.
Now we can creatively give to one another the gift of ourselves. It becomes more about "presence" than "presents." And it is in these moments that others begin to get a sense of who God is. Perhaps even a watching world will take notice as we worship Him and love one another."
What are your favorite Christmas memories? How will you make this Christmas more about the people in your life and less about the "stuff"?