Why We Need Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving, our family got out our Christmas decorations, put up the tree, hung our stockings, and even set up lights in front of our house. It’s officially the Christmas season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time!

We were certainly not the first to dig out our Christmas tubs and boxes. This year, people were stringing lights and trimming their trees earlier than ever. 2020 has been a lump of coal, to say it politely, and across the board people have been long anticipating the holiday season. 

This yearning is not just for children excited to open presents on Christmas morning. It’s us, as adults. We need Christmas this year. 

Why is there more attention, focus and enthusiasm for Christmas than usual? Why does it seem we desperately need Christmas to come, the sooner the better?

Collectively, for almost all of us, this year has, well, been a year. It’s a year we’d like to escape, to sucker punch and kick to the curb. It’s been hard, and for some devastating. People have lost opportunities, lost jobs, lost loved ones, lost their sanity in quarantine, lost safety, lost elections, lost peace, lost joy. We’ve lost. With no end in sight, and no light at the end of the tunnel, we feel lost.

And so when the sparkling lights of the Christmas tree glow, and outdoor displays shine bright in the dark (at 5 p.m. – thanks to time change), we feel a flicker of hope that all is not lost.

Christmas is about remembering what was and believing in what could be again. 

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is putting up our Christmas tree. My husband puts the tree together, and then I string the lights and garland. Next, we decorate the tree with ribbons carefully saved from our holiday wedding. Finally, the kids hang all of our ornaments, spanning decades of memories. It’s certainly not a professional job, and not one you’d ever see in a store display, but it’s ours. 

Our Christmas tree holds so many years of special moments and stories, smiles and laughter. It reminds us of the joy and blessings God has given us.

For instance, my favorite ornament on our tree is a construction paper stocking, stitched with yarn by small fingers, and half of the sequins are now missing. On the back is my son’s name, proudly written by a little boy after working on this special project together. It’s trash to most, but one I will always keep and prominently display.

My favorite ornament

There are so many ornaments lovingly made in school classrooms by my children (and their thoughtful teachers), that capture moments and precious faces I don’t want to forget.

Precious faces and memories on the tree

Both my husband and I have ornaments commemorating our first Christmases from our parents, and others from our childhood. And we have special ornaments that we’ve picked out together for our tree.

Each year, when we have the opportunity, my husband and I pick out a special Nativity Christmas ornament.

Our Christmas tree reminds us what’s most important. It’s the One who has shaped our Christmas memories and who holds all our future Christmases.

People long for Christmas, because deep down, even if they don’t understand it, they ache for a Savior. They want someone to save the day – to change what the world has become.

We need peace in the midst of this pandemic. We need joy instead of the constant jockeying for position. We need faith to come against fear and fighting. We need hope to heal the hurting. 

We need Christmas. We need Christ.

Jesus is peace. Jesus is joy. Jesus is the reason for our faith, and the source of our hope.

Christmas not only reminds us of what’s most important, it gives us a glimpse of what could be and should be when we seek the Savior of the World. Only Jesus can restore what we’ve lost. 

He was the One who left the perfection of Heaven to step into our mess. He lived a life without corruption, selfishness and sin. And, because we couldn’t do it on our own, He gave His life to save ours. He gave us hope and life, and that resurrection is available to us, even today.

So, bring on the Christmas carols, mugs of hot chocolate, nativity scenes and candles flickering in the windows. Light up those obnoxious Christmas displays and cover couches with Christmas pillows and blankets. Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and snuggle together with only the glow of the Christmas tree lights in the room. Christmas is here – and we have reason to celebrate! 

The Light of the World has come! Look for Him this Christmas.

It’s 2 weeks until Easter – Make the most of it!

Many of us have found ourselves with more time at home with our families than our schedules would have ever allowed before. We used to have activities every night, with homework squeezed in as we made a mad dash toward bedtime. Then we would wake up and do it all over again.

Suddenly life has been shaken, and our dinner table is a gathering place each night, filled with relaxed conversation. Margin exists for evening family walks, and, most importantly, unrushed time with the Lord.

Easter is in two weeks. And, it’s going to look different this year. There won’t be that traditional church service where everyone dresses up “because it’s Easter” and large egg hunts where kids find way too much candy and a slew of “perfect” family photos on social media.

Most of us will be in our living rooms.

Jesus will be, too.

What if this Easter, it’s about Jesus, and Jesus alone?

What if these short weeks before Easter we intentionally focused together as families on why Jesus came, and how Jesus lived, and the reason why He died?

What if this Easter, we rediscovered the hope that is ours and embrace the life He’s given us because HE IS ALIVE?

Each year, our family experiences a tradition that we call 2 Weeks 2 The Cross. When our children were very little, my husband and I determined we wanted to make the most of the time we have to pour into our family the truth of the Gospel. Christmas was always the flashy holiday, but what about Easter? Without the cross, our faith means nothing! We wanted to imprint on our children’s hearts the beauty of Christ’s sacrifice and the transformational power of the resurrection.

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So for the 14 days leading up to Easter, we focus on Scripture and family activities that lead us through Passion Week, those last days before the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. It has been adapted over the years as our children grew – but the emphasis has remained the same.

We look forward to this time all year! Even with our kids now at 13 and 10 years old, when I announced 2 Weeks 2 The Cross starts tomorrow, they cheered. 🙂 Why? Because time with each other focused on Jesus matters!

Here on this blog, each day’s emphasis, Scripture passage, and potential activities are archived, so that you can take this journey with your family, too. Check out 2 Weeks 2 The Cross here.

If activities aren’t your thing, focus on the Word. Read the passages together as a family, and ask these questions:

  • Who do we meet in these verses?
  • What happens? Describe the events in your own words.
  • How does Jesus show (that day’s theme)? For instance, how does Jesus show He wants to clean my heart on Day 2?
  • Why do you think God chose for these particular events to be recorded in the Bible for us to read today?
  • Pray and thank God for this Scripture and what it means for us personally.

Most of the activities are fairly simple, and you will likely have the materials you need. If not, be creative! The purpose is to spend time together as a family applying truths of God’s Word.

If two weeks seems daunting, try it! Many of us have more time than we did a month ago – put it to good use!

And, if you’d prefer focusing on a few of these leading up to Easter, here are our family favorites (though it’s very hard to choose just a few!):

Review these free resources, and make them your own! Adapt them to your family. The point is to experience Jesus together.

Make the most of these two weeks leading up to Easter. You may find that this Easter will be the one your family will treasure for years to come.

He is risen!

View all 2 Weeks 2 The Cross resources here: https://myeverydaygod.com/2-weeks-2-the-cross/