It's one of those things we hear everywhere this time of year. "Keep Christ in Christmas" or remember the "Reason of the Season". But how do you do that? I mean really, how DO you? Just like other sayings it kinda goes in one ear and out the other. Does it mean that we make sure we read the Christmas story before everyone digs into the presents? Does it mean we think of those less fortunate than ourselves? Or maybe it's making sure we have nothing "santa-ish" sitting around. I would love to hear what you guys think...
The past few years Christmas didn't really "feel" like Christmas. 2 years ago we were on our honeymoon. Last year we were in Florida. This year I've been so busy with substituting at school and getting everything else done. It seems like we've been running ever since Thanksgiving. With organizing the parade and then our church's Nativity the weekend after that, Christmas dinners, and working at my other job on Saturdays, and getting the shopping done... it's been crazy.
So then I think to myself, "what is Christmas supposed to "feel" like"? For me, I guess it's different things. I think mostly to how it was when I was living at home. Things like making cookies, having the whole family over to do chocolates, the kids coming for a sleepover, rearranging the presents mom had wrapped and driving her crazy, and just spending time with family.
We still do that now but it's different when you're married! There are more responsibilities and other things to think about. Like now when there are family get togethers you don't just show up, you're in charge to bring something too! Life changes and you make new traditions.
I don't know if you've thought about the music playing as you go shopping and do your errands. Sure, you hear all kinds of songs but what amazes me is the "Christian" songs being played everywhere. Brad and I went to Red Lobster for our anniversary. While we were feasting on shrimp and lobster I told Brad to stop and listen. "Go Tell it on the Mountain" was coming from the speakers. Did people even hear? Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is LORD. I wonder, with all this politically correct mumble jumble going on, how long will songs like that be played? For some reason at Christmas, stations that wouldn't even mention Jesus, now play songs telling of his birth and life. I think we as Christians should celebrate that. Sure it's just at Christmas time but my prayer is that someone would hear the song and the message in it. Let's pray that as those songs get played on rock and country stations all over, that someone would hear the song in a whole new way!!!
This year I again made trays of cookies to take to the neighbors. We have 2 close neighbors and they are the ones we took cookies to this year. When we knocked on the door of the neighbor beside us the dear lady said "I guess you heard my husband passed away". Brad and I were both shocked. We had no idea! Here our neighbor had passed away back in September and we had no clue. No clue that just next door a family had been reeling from the news that their husband/father had cancer and a few short weeks later he was gone. We stayed and chatted awhile and she told us all about his final days and how things have been since then. It was a huge eye opener to me to seriously pay attention to those right around us.
Each year I ask the Lord to show me something new in the Christmas story. You know how when you hear the same things over and over again you kinda forget about the "story". It seems every year, something hits me all over again. With being so involved in the Nativity, there are oppurtunities everywhere to just let the Christmas story sink in.
This year, it was Joseph. I don't know exactly when it hit me or when I really thought about it. He was the daddy to Jesus. The DADDY to JESUS. Seriously how would you do that? A few years ago I thought of Mary and the HUGE calling on her life to be the MOTHER of JESUS but this year I thought of Joseph. Maybe it was sometime in hearing my brother as he played the character of Joseph. One of the lines he said was something like "How, HOW, am I supposed to be a Father to the SON OF GOD?" Jim did such a good job acting the part and it made me really think. I wonder what all Joseph went through. Mary???...yeah I'm sure things were amazing for her too but Jesus was in her womb. Joseph??? He just had to fill the part. Jesus was not his flesh and yet he took on the role of his earthly father. What an amazing man Joseph must have been. I picture him as this humble man, not easily riled up, confident in who he was and who he was called to be. He must have loved his wife soo so deeply. He had to, to not give a rip about what people were fussing about. I'm sure he was Mary's rock when she got stressed out from the gossip flying all around her and even when she got those moments of "freaking out" about the calling on their lives.
In the stable, in the last scene in the nativity we do,Joseph sings a song called "How Could it Be". One of the verses in the song goes like this..."Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours. How can a MAN be FATHER to the SON OF GOD. Lord for all my life I've been a simple carpenter. How can I raise a KING." I've just been letting that soak in. Joseph took on that responsibility. I can not imagine how he must've felt.
So back to my question. How do you make sure that amidst all the hustle and bustle of getting the right gift for the right person, attending parties and get togethers, and everything...how do you keep your focus where it should be? I think for me it's simply asking God to bring things to mind. Sit down and let your imagination run wild. How must've it been when Jesus was born. Teaching first grade is the perfect place to let that happen! One morning for devotions we talked about that. Imagine what it was like. The things they came up with were just precious. It would be "scary" to be a shepherd and all of a sudden there are angels everywhere etc.! But that's what does it for me. Letting my mind go and imagine, and meditating on HIM.
It still baffles me though how ALL of God and who he is fit into one tiny, infant, helpless baby. That the great and mighty LORD of the earth would humble himself and come down to earth just blows my mind! And on top of that yet, that poor, little ole me may call him Father and he claims ME as his child...