Luke 2:12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Growing up, Christmas was a tussle of highs and lows...it seemed like there was a lot of emphasis on the holiday foods, the decor - to cover up the yelling and fighting and deteriorating family structure.It was our own "Christmas tradition" for someone to have a big blow up during the holidays. Nevertheless, Christmas was still the most magical time at home.
But in later years, as the parents got older and my sisters and I grew up...the tempers settled down. Christmas was still Christmas, and I found that my "grown up Christmas list" was very different from the things I had wanted when I was much younger.
There are many traditions I would like to carry on from my childhood to my new Christmases with my husband now - the music and caroling, the "Christmas prayer ornaments", and of course all the glorious food - but I have to remember, first and most of all - why we celebrate this day.
Too often, people have certain expectations of what should be happening at Christmastime - how family gatherings should go, what presents they should be getting - but really, the only expectations we should be having is on ourselves - about how will we celebrate the day? How is our Christmas glorifying Jesus' birth?
This Christmas, my husband and I have been travelling - first for his work trip, and then driving down to visit his family. Christmas already feels strange to me - without my daily baking of winter goodies, playing Christmas music nonstop on the piano - but it's not these "traditions" that make up what Christmas is - it is the purpose.
I just need to remember to celebrate the purpose of Christmas - in whatever way I can - and that is Christmas at it's best.
Thank you so much for sending your Son for us. I cannot imagine having a child knowing that it was born to die. Please help me to always keep in my heart the true purpose of Christmas, and when I am feeling greedy, stressed, or fussy during this time of the year - help me find a silent time to focus mainly on you.
Have you ever had a Christmas celebration where certain expectations weren't meant?
How do you plan on making room for the true purpose of Christmas this year?
Take time to read "The Three Trees" story, maybe to your family on Christmas Eve, and reflect on the personal gift given by each tree.