I admit I’m a bit uncomfortable writing this.
But this season I pondered how we celebrate Christmas. I toiled over it sometimes to the point of agonizing over it, my spirit unsettled at the way our culture (and I do mean Christians) celebrate the coming of our Savior, the miracle of this God cloaking himself in skin and living and breathing among us.
Does this indulging in buying as much as we can for each member of the family glorify God on His birthday? Is that what He wants for His birthday?
I haven’t been alone in these thoughts this season. I had several girlfriends write me or call me, asking my opinions on Christmas.
God with us. God moving in our hearts, whispering in our midst.
I love the exchanging of gifts. All the learning to give. However I am uncomfortable with how it has become the focus, and the amount given. Whose birthday is it anyway, I would continually ask myself.
The thought came to me, let’s make the main gift of Christmas to Him. The focus of our giving. “When you give to the least of these, you have given to Me.”
So the first gift of Christmas is for Jesus. I wrapped up this tree to represent the money we sent to assist in bringing children out of slavery, the tree representing life. A reminder to pray for these kids whenever we see the tree and a symbol of the gift we give to Jesus.
So Christmas Eve after the feasting and the worship-filled carols around the piano, the first gift of Christmas is opened by my firstborn. He explains to all the family gathered around what it stands for and why we give. To hear him give his heartfelt account of it all is the best gift I could receive. And I know God is smiling at our meager attempt to love Him.
I certainly don’t think there’s one right way to do Christmas. But I know I don’t ever want our family to blindly march on to the beat of the culture’s drum, oblivious to what God is calling us to, and missing out on the joy, this abundant life that springs from it.
So we gather around each evening in December, light a candle, and the kids unwrap a hope-filled Christmas book for us to share in. Oh the anticipation to see which book it will be! (Many are on loan from a precious friend).
When admiring the glow of the lights from our tree we discuss all the wondrous symbolism there. The tree representing the cross He gave His all on, the lights representing the one true Light, the always green fir tree representing eternal life, and then there’s the fruit and the candy canes and the star on top of it all, a rich illustration.
We fill our home with cinnamon and spruce candles burning, choral and instrumental Christmas music, and the aroma of pies baking in hopes of creating memories we will savor for years to come.
But most of all, we long for the way in which we celebrate to point to Him, to lavish love on Him, to bring a smile. It is, after all, His birthday.
Please, dear friends, leave a comment as to how you make your Christmas about Christ. I hope ours will look a little more like Him each year, so I would love to hear your ideas.