The sounds of Christmas are starting earlier every year. Halloween isn’t even here yet when the stores start decorating for Christmas. And before Thanksgiving is on the horizon, Christmas music starts playing.
In fact as I sit here writing this I am listening to my own mix of Christmas music. My taste in this has changed somewhat over the years. Now I prefer instrumental music over songs with lyrics. It soothes and calms my heart and makes me feel more in touch with what I believe Christmas should really be.
Celebrating Christmas involves a host of activities. Buying—maybe making—and giving presents. Baking cookies and other holiday yummies. Christmas trees, ornaments and decorations. Singing and listening to carols. Connecting with others.
What is it about Christmas that makes us want to embrace it so completely?
There are countless magazine, ezine and other online articles showing us how to create the perfect Christmas for our families. Some magazines are even completely dedicated to the Christmas theme, filled with new or traditional recipes for cookies and other treats. They illustrate ways to decorate our homes to enhance that Christmas feeling and show us how to create to-do lists to keep track of everything that needs to be done by December 25th.
We rush around in an effort to find the best deals on gifts for friends and family. And why not? Since everything is more expensive now and our paychecks are probably not keeping up with rising prices, we need to save money wherever we can. Maybe we’ve decided to try for a more basic Christmas by making gifts and goodies. That still means we have to actually buy whatever it takes to make them. In a frenzied effort to provide our families with the perfect Christmas, we may miss the point of the whole thing.
And that is…?
Celebrating the birth of Jesus because it paved the way for us to live with Him forever in heaven.
Worshiping the One who made us and sent His Son to be born as a human being.
Thanking God for the humanness of Jesus Christ so that He experienced everything we’re going through and completely understands our joys and sorrows.
I have changed a lot over the years. When my children were young, I enjoyed all the hustle and bustle of decorating the tree and the house, baking all sorts of cookies and treats, shopping for those “perfect” gifts. I loved the excited smiles on my children’s faces as they saw the presents piled under the tree on Christmas morning and rushed to find those with their names on them.
Now I cherish more simple things this time of year: enjoying the long-standing tradition of exchanging Christmas socks with my daughter; listening to reflective Christmas music as I am right now; reading cards and notes from friends and family.
Other simple things? The look of twinkling lights. The aroma of a few cookies and quick breads baking. Hanging the stockings I crocheted on the mantel.
My Christmas trees used to drip with treasured family ornaments and colored lights. Now I put out this small but precious ceramic tree made especially for me years ago by my mother-in-law. There are also a few decorations scattered throughout the house and a wreath on the front door…
more than enough to satisfy my Christmas heart.
How about you, Beloved? Do you go all out for Christmas or have you scaled back in recent years?
It was close this morning. I almost didn’t make it to church because a nauseous migraine had me in its grip. I miss way too many Sunday services because of that migraine nastiness. Taking an additional dose of meds a couple of hours after the first one today definitely helped my mission to get to church, and was I ever glad I went! Not that I’m not always happy to be there, but today we shared the communion table. And that’s always a huge blessing.
How can I describe the extreme praise and thankfulness I felt during today’s worship service? I am always thankful for the fellowship and the joy of taking communion “in remembrance of [Jesus].” But every so often I am overcome with such thanks for all that I have through my relationship with Jesus Christ that I have trouble wrapping my mind around it. To think that Jesus paid the price for my sins, along with the sins of all mankind… just so that we would be able to live with Him in heaven for eternity!
So, as usual for times such as these, my eyes “leaked”—Rick’s tender description for tears which come on suddenly and have trouble stopping. Good thing I had my trust hankie in my purse.For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. —1 Corinthians 11:23-26