Tis the season to be jolly. That's what they say, but how many of us really are? We spend the whole month of December running from this store to that one in the hope of finding something special for those who are dear to us. It seems like a lot of stress to me! As a matter of fact, I know it can be stressful.
Due to some changes in Dawn's vacation schedule this year, we had to forgo our trip to RI at Christmas and we went for Thanksgiving instead. We finalized our plans at the beginning of November, so everything had to be done in a post-haste way to be ready for Thanksgiving.
As you probably read in the last post, we had a great time visiting with friends and family and celebrating a different holiday. On the Friday before we left (the day after Thanksgiving) we celebrated our Christmas' with our families. This meant that we were done with almost all our Christmas shopping and exchanging before December first! Oh, what a feeling!
The month of December has been a stress-free month long reflection on what the season is truly about and how we (Dawn, Emily and I) are going to celebrate Christmas this year. We have decided to start some new traditions that we would like to carry on in our family. God is in control and we don't know what the future holds, but as long as He allows, we will continue to go to RI for Thanksgiving instead of Christmas and celebrate Christmas by focusing on the birth of Jesus.
As a family, we have decided to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. There is not much to open because we have already celebrated with our extended family and Dawn and I are not exchanging gifts. Emily has some gifts to open and we will be doing this tonight, as soon as I am done here. Tomorrow, we are going to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. We bought some cupcakes and we are going to have a birthday party with candles and the works (minus the party hats). We will start the day by reading the Gospel accounts of the Christmas story and sharing with Emily who Jesus is and why He had to come as a baby in the manger. We will explain that it is God's perfect plan from before the foundation of the world. When He created man, He gave us free will. With this free will comes the ability to reject God. This is sin and we are all sinners. There must be a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. God gave us the Greatest Gift of All by sending His Son, Jesus, to come to earth as a man and to live a perfect life, to suffer a cruel death and die on a cross. While on the cross, He took the full wrath of God for the sins of those who believe in Him. He died on the cross, but He rose again on the third day and now is seated at the right hand of God.
This Jesus who died on the cross is the reason we celebrate Christmas and He is where our focus is going to be.
It is our hope that as you celebrate this day with your family, you will take a moment and remember what you are really celebrating. We like to focus on the gifts, but we sometimes forget about why we exchange gifts in the first place. It was God who gave us the Greatest Gift of All...
If you have questions about who Jesus is or why He had to die, please feel free to leave a comment or email me. My goal in life is to share the message of Jesus Christ and His redeeming story with the world. It would be my pleasure to share His story with you.
May God pour His blessings upon you and your families this Christmas.