How is it even possible that Christmas is in one week? ONE WEEK, people! This is my first Christmas married and will also be my first one spent away from my family. Trent and I will be traveling to Illinois on Saturday morning– and by Saturday morning I’m fairly certain I mean Friday night. We are required to arrive at the airport at 4:50 am!
Who does that? Oh, that’s right, we do- that’s who!
Anyway, we will be spending the week there with his family experiencing all things Amish. However, I am a Cali girl living in Florida who is currently wearing a jacket in 70-degree weather. My poor body is not anywhere near prepared for the freezing weather it is about to endure!
Because most of my family lives here in Florida, we will be celebrating Christmas twice- once here on Wednesday evening and once there on Sunday! Seriously, no one told me marriage would be this awesome!
As the festivities approach, I began to think, as most I’m sure do, about the true meaning behind Christmas. I personally love all things Christmas. I would even be happy if December was 2 months long that way we could have more time to experience all the sights and sounds associated with the holiday season.
Though I love this time of year, the truth is that it’s not only about the trees, lights, music, yummy baked goods and gifts! These things are not wrong in any way and I believe they transform a small season of the year from ordinary into extraordinary!
There comes a point, however, when these things begin to overshadow the real “reason for the season”.
Christmas is not merely a season to jam-pack with holly jolly festivities, but rather a birthday party that lasts an entire month!
Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of a Baby that would change the world! He came to earth fully knowing that He would eventually be brutally crucified in order to provide salvation for all, yet He still chose to come!
This season, I urge you to “send out” an additional invitation for the celebration you are so carefully planning. This invitation should be sent to none other than Jesus Himself. I mean, let’s be honest. You wouldn’t plan a birthday celebration for a friend and then forget to invite them because you got so wrapped up in the decorations, food, and gifts; so why do we often forget to invite Jesus to His own birthday?
We had several Christmas traditions while I was growing up. On Christmas Eve, we opened the gifts under our tree and then on Christmas Day, we would wake up and eat fresh baked (from the can) cinnamon rolls, read the Christmas Story from Luke 2, read the Christmas cards we had received from friends and family and then open our stockings. There were even years growing up that we would bake a birthday cake, light candles, and sing happy birthday to Jesus!
For me, the concept was instilled from an early age that Jesus is invited for Christmas. When I have a child of my own one day, additionally to or instead of writing letters to Santa (that has yet to be decided), we will also “mail” an invite to Jesus. I want my children to know that it is okay to celebrate Christmas with the traditional sights and sounds, but it bears no weight if the celebration takes place without acknowledging the “why” behind what we are doing.
So, I urge you. If this is a foreign concept, maybe you should actually drop an invite in the mail! (Don’t worry- I hear word travels to Heaven quickly so He’ll get it in plenty of time!) Or maybe, just plan on singing Happy Birthday before you open your presents on Sunday! At some point, gather around as a family or with friends and read the Christmas story from Luke 2. If you have children (or even if you don’t) go around the circle and take turns reading each verse! It will make the story come alive and even forces you to pay attention since you have to be prepared for your turn!
However it looks for you this year, please just pause and take a second to invite Him in. Thank His Father for allowing Him to come to earth as a baby and thank Him for making that sacrifice for you!