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.

In love after 30 years

My current daily Bible reading plan. Search for “A Passion to Serve” on the Bible App (YouVersion).

My heart leaped this morning when I saw what was next in my Bible reading plan!

I’m currently working through the “A Passion to Serve” plan on the YouVersion Bible app, focusing on places in Scripture that detail what it means to serve God and serve others. I’m on Day 305! 🙂 Yesterday I finished the book of Genesis and the life and legacy of Joseph. Today, I opened up the app, and I’m diving into the book of Acts next!! This is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I was almost giddy when I saw it!

In that moment of silly joy over Scripture, it hit me all over that this is what it means to be in love with Jesus.

God saved me 30 years ago. It really blows my mind that we have been in relationship for three decades!! The God of the Universe has chosen to walk by my side for all these years, putting up with my faults and annoyances, my failures and fears. He’s seen my best and my worst, and His love has never changed. He’s never left my side. He’s carried me through the darkest moments, shouldered my burdens, and held my heart through unbearable loss. He’s invited me on mission, imparted the words and the courage to share the Greatest News, and given me the precious privilege of seeing my children come to know Him. He’s blessed beyond what I’ve ever deserved! His patience astounds me, His compassion overwhelms me, and knowing He will never give up on me makes me love Him even more.

So when my heart beats a little faster opening up God’s letter to me, it makes me smile. Not everyday is like that. There are times I read and pray because I should, and not because I want to. Yet, God’s faithfulness isn’t determined by mine. I’m in a love relationship with the God who created me, with the Savior who sacrificed everything for me, with the Spirit who has chosen to dwell within me.

When God redeemed my life, it was for keeps. I can think of nothing better than growing old with Jesus. After 30 years, He still makes me smile.

 


**I do realize that many of us have and are walking roads where our faith has been stretched across the painful realities of life, and our love relationship with God has been strained. Our hearts don’t match with our heads. We may be asking hard questions, struggling to see where God is in the midst of a difficult situation, or perhaps we’ve just grown apathetic over time without meaning to be. Our desire is gone. I raise my hand and confess to all of these scenarios over the course of my relationship with Christ, even recently. Please know in those moments, God’s love does not change. He has not left you, and He is continually choosing to love you. There has never been a time He has regretted dying on the cross for you. Pray for God to renew that love and joy in your heart. Pray over Psalm 51:12.  There is no distance that God’s grace cannot reach. I’m praying for you today.