Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who are We Celebrating?

It seems there's a lot of buzz about "keeping Christ in Christmas". I find myself wrestling with that on many levels. First off, if I don't mind my manners, I want to just shout "DUH!!! ... who else is the season about?". Then I stop and kinda scratch my head and wonder how did our culture get to this dilemma ... yes, I'm speaking of the Christian culture here. I have to ask why do we need a little ditty like "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" to cue us and remind us what all the fuss about. Over the years, as I've pondered this increasing challenge surrounding families, I've come to a theory. It's just that, a theory. I'm no genius. In fact, some days I think my children have vacuumed up every last brain cell I have.

Theory ... if Jesus was first in our lives all the other 364 days of the year .... it wouldn't be so hard for us to find a way to make Him front and center on the one other day of the year. Think about it.

I think back to our family's Christmases, because honestly I don't really remember this huge battle or having to take extensive effort in some big transition in making sure He was the focus.

I remember the year while David was in Bible college and we had three small children in a humble apartment living in the inner-city of Chicago trying to survive. I had the blessing of overseeing the boutique on campus that was for the married student families. I'll never forget one day seeing a BRAND NEW HUGE box of crayons. The seal was still unbroken. I was SO full of joy knowing the great fun my oldest would have with those. And the price ... it was perfectly in line with what we could afford that year. $0. Thank you, Lord. :) I also remember the sweatsuits I had found for the boys and how I could even pull off a cozy/comfortable/coordinated photo in front of the tree. You guessed it, from boutiques. Each year I take that framed photo out of the Christmas decorations and remember that season of our lives. I think about how the ONE we were celebrating was always so faithful to provide.

Other years' memories include welcoming hurting people into our home that really didn't have a place to go. No, we weren't related to them. Yes, we ached for our Grandmas and Grandpas that we were far away from and longed to be with. But isn't Christmas about the SAVIOR? ... that baby boy who would grow up to die for all of our sins? Sharing that love with others needs to take precedence over past traditions sometimes.

Then there was the memory of two Christmases ago when we were amazed by all that God had done through our youngest daughter's life. You can read about that JOY here! It was one of the hardest seasons we had ever faced .... circumstances kept us far from family.

I guess for our family, Christmas is just the climax of what we celebrate all year long! The King of Kings!! ... He's the very reason we are alive and have joy. He's the reason we have to get up each morning when all seems hopeless .... when there wasn't enough work ... when dreams were shattered ... when loved ones died.

Perhaps if Christmas to you is about a big 'ole guy in a red suit and beard ... then I guess I could see the dilemma ... but oh how you're missing out. Something I've witnessed through the years is when kids aren't spoiled with every wish being given at their beckon call all year long ... then a few simple and special gifts on December 25th is just a fun way to show our love to each other. I was reminded the other day of what so many children long for.  My daughter looked up at me from coloring and said to me .... "Momma ... if you had not come for me, I would be all alone and would not have a family." As I tried to fathom what she had just said I rubbed her little back and said ... "Oh sweet girl .. I am SO thankful that God told to come to you."

Isn't that what it's all about? This Christ we celebrate? He wants a real and active relationship with you and with me. He doesn't just want our praises on Christmas, but He wants to be Lord of our Lives every day of the year! He is the one that takes us in our brokenness ... with all our defects and inadequacies and SIN .... and He cleanses us and does something beautiful through us. That is what we celebrate.

No matter if this year has been full of incredibly wonderful things for you .... or if you've found yourself in brokenness, despair and agonizing heartache .... you have a reason to celebrate. That baby that came all those years ago? .... He came for you. He offers to you something no "thing" and no "one" can ever give you. Would you take hold of His gift this Christmas?

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