Christmas Countdown Day 1 focused on light. We made candle ornaments, and each child hung them on small Christmas trees in their rooms. Jesus is the light of the world, and we realized how much light chases the darkness away, like how the lights on our Christmas trees brighten the whole room. Jesus came to give us light and show us His love.
Did you hear that?
It’s the sound of our Christmas Countdown plans crashing to the ground, along with our Christmas tree.
Yesterday, I ended up at the doctor with strep throat, and the kids watched movies the rest of the day while I rested and waited for my medicine to kick in. Today we were planning to go to Silver Dollar City in Branson with my sister and her family, but instead it was Matt’s turn to go to the doctor for strep throat.
Then, this morning, Jackson was running around the living room and toppled backward into the Christmas tree. While I screamed in shock, Matt miraculously caught the tree before it hit the floor.
Though we tried to fix the tree so it would stand upright, it was no use. It was all I could do not to cry. Matt held up the tree while I quickly took off the ornaments, garland and lights. The pieces of tree now are laying in a pile in a corner.
My first inclination was to immediately send Matt to the store to buy a new Christmas tree. But then I remembered Matt was sick. And, Christmas trees are expensive.
So, we let things lie, literally, for a little while. After lunch, Matt gently reminded me that we could get a really good deal after Christmas for an even better tree. Maybe we could just use the Christmas Countdown paper tree.
The paper tree? Really?? I looked over at the lopsided green paper tree stuck to the wall with sticky tack. It would fit on the wall where the broken tree used to stand. With a sigh, I knew it was the right decision.
And, I also knew what our family activity would be tonight! We gathered together under the paper tree, determined to bring some three-dimensionality and bling to the room. We strung lights, hung ornaments, and made a rockin’ tree topper with the garland the kids had popped in half while playing tug-of-war when I wasn’t looking today.
After we were finished, we turned off the lights to admire our handiwork. I think they like the paper tree better!
I told them that just as our tree was broken today, our hearts can sometimes be broken through painful situations or our own bad choices. But, when we call out to God, He will come and remake our heart, just as we created a new tree. Jesus came at Christmas to make our hearts whole. Jesus is what makes Christmas, Christmas.
I’m sure someday when we’re old, we’ll gather around at Christmas and say, “Remember the time Jackson broke the tree and we decorated that paper one?” and we’ll all laugh.
Christmas isn’t about the tree, after all.
Day 19 Scripture is Isaiah 7:10-14.
Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—from the depths of Sheol to the heights of heaven.”
But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.”
Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
Day 20 Scripture is Luke 1:26-35.
In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be.Then the angel told her:
Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.
Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”
The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.”