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.

Christmas Countdown Day 17: The Great Christmas Lights Adventure

Our Advent Scripture for Day 18 is Luke 1:57-66.

Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her His great mercy, and they rejoiced with her.

When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day,they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. But his mother responded, “No! He will be called John.”

Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.”So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote:

HIS NAME IS JOHN.

And they were all amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard about him took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the Lord’s hand was with him.

Monday night, we jumped in the car after dinner, cranked the heat, and set off for adventure. Our mission was to discover the best outdoor Christmas light displays in our town. When we found ones the kids thought were amazing, I would hop out and take a photo, and then we voted at the end of the night for the best.

We weaved through streets hunting for lights. Some neighborhoods were illuminated from the abundance of Christmas lights on this dark night. Others sat dark and cold. The kids gravitated toward the displays with blow-ups on the front lawns. Matt and I really liked the homes outlined in lights. We saw many manger scenes, and each were special.

At the end of the night, we drove out to see a particularly large Nativity scene we knew about outside of town, but after going further than we intended, we realized the lights weren’t on. In fact, we couldn’t hardly even see the house from the highway. What a difference light can make in the darkness!

Jackson fell asleep on the way home. Lauren was close when we pulled in the driveway.

Here is the kids’ first place winner of our first annual Christmas Lights Adventure:

The kids loved how many blow-up decorations there were in this yard. It wins first prize in our hunt!

The kids loved how many blow-up decorations there were in this yard. It wins first prize in our hunt!

This was second place:

This photo doesn't do justice to how spectacular these lights were!  Attention was on the details, including landing skid marks from Santa's sleigh.

This photo doesn’t do justice to how spectacular these lights were! Attention was on the details, including landing skid marks from Santa’s sleigh.

If you live in our area, check out the Southern Hills subdivision and Ash Street right off of James. Some of the best light displays can be found there.

Get out and enjoy the lights of the season! And, be a light to those around you proclaiming the birth of the Savior!