It’s that time of the year again! You know as the song goes, “The most wonderful time of the year!” Sort of… I do love this time of year though. I enjoy all the get-togethers and parties. I can be a bit shy but I have realized that I’m more of an extrovert than an introvert. So I really feed off of all of the business and activities. I also love baking cookies with the kids. Currently I am trying to get them each to think of their favorite Christmas cookie, that we can put on the ‘to bake’ list. So far this plan of mine is not working out to well… it’s hard for them to narrow it down to just one cookie, and then there is the issue that one of them thinks his favorite cookie is ginger bread men, and I know it’s not…I’m not even sure he’s had a ginger bread cookie. But he likes the story with the ginger bread boy in it; therefore his favorite cookie is gingerbread men. I’m thinking I will have to either rethink my plan a bit, or make more types of cookies than I currently want to. I also enjoy shopping, picking out the gifts, and brainstorming gift ideas for the boys with Daniel, as we get excited for what Christmas morning will look like.
But lets face it. Christmas is not without it’s challenges. Oh so many challenges… I have been pondering them this past week. I know that there are many, many different challenges for each different person at Christmas. I want to just write about a few of them that I have been working through this year. I am just going to start with the first one here. I started to write this all in one post, and it was getting long, so I will break it into two and put up the second next week. I think short and simple works a bit better during this season. So you’re welcome! 😉
Christmas is a time when we should be so filled with hope, joy and thankfulness. We look back and can be thankful for the birth of Jesus and his coming. In the present we can be thankful for all that He has done for us that leads to our salvation and forgiveness. And we look to the future where we can be thankful that He is coming again and that our eternity is sound and secure in Christ.
I personally have so much to be thankful for in my own life right now.
And yet, it’s this time of year that can also make it so hard to be thankful.
Our family started making Christmas lists for each other the past few years. Takes a little bit of the guess work out of Christmas shopping, and for those of us who will not make it home for Christmas, it also helps if those things are on amazon and can be easily shipped! At first it’s hard for me to think of what I want to put on my list… (Besides a new van! And that is not really a Christmas list item, ha!) But once I get the ball rolling and coming up with a few things, I realize, there are a whole lot of things I could put on this list. My kid’s start adding to their Christmas lists as soon as Christmas is over! All these toys ‘conveniently’ come with adds that show all the other toys they don’t have in a particular set. And the kids show us what they ‘need’ to get next from these little add booklets. Well played Lego… Well played…
It’s so easy to fall into discontentment during this time of year. It’s so easy to see all the things we don’t have. It’s so easy to compare our lives with others. Most of the time it creeps in without me even realizing it.
This year I have been more actively aware of this mental battle. For me just being more aware of it has helped, recognizing the lies before they can take root. It helps me actively redirect those thoughts, to where they should be.
Also it can be hard for me to set aside time to spend with God this time of year. I know it should be #1 priority right! Well, it sure can get hard when there is so much going on this time of year! But it has really helped me to keep this a priority. It does not look the same everyday. And that is one thing I love about the freedom we have as we rest in Gods grace. There are no set rules for when to do devotions, or what that should look like! Just seek the Lord. Do what He puts on your heart and what works for you.
I recently got an advent devotional from an app called “She Reads Truth”. It has been really good. Currently the devos have been tying the Old Testament prophecy about Jesus’ coming to the New Testament scripture where Jesus has come and fulfilled that prophecy. I have been enjoying it! It’s also right there on my phone, so if I miss out on my morning devotions, I have it right there when I have time later in the day.
As far as getting my kids to focus on the true reason for the season, we talk about it a lot. In our nightly prayers, we make a point to talk about it, to thank God for the birth of Jesus, for sending His Son. We do have some advent things to do with the kids as well. But it’s a work in progress (I mean who am I kidding! I just wrote about how I am still a work in progress!). I don’t have it all figured out. I just keep praying that God will give us wisdom and guidance. And of course the continued prayer for my boys and their relationships with Jesus…and it wouldn’t hurt if they could settle on a favorite Christmas cookie either…
So here are a few verses on why we celebrate Christmas!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.