"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and you will call Him Immanuel, God with us." Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)
The mall was crowded with shoppers. I struggled to hold my infant and my crying, wriggling toddler. He was uncomfortable and I was in the middle of a hot flash. Is that possible at 29 years of age? Music in the background played, "It's the most wonderful time of the year."
"Whatever!" I thought "This is NOT the most wonderful time for me!"
Last year was ten month old Dylan's first official Christmas. For two year-old Cooper, it was his first Christmas in many ways too. Sure we have video of him sitting in front of presents his first Christmas. But he was just four months old at the time. I think he fell asleep before my husband and I finished opening his gifts!
He wore more of Christmas dinner than he ingested. Nap time interfered with celebrations. Instead of It's a Wonderful Life we watched Barney. Because we had tried all of these celebrations with Cooper, we should have known Dylan would not be able to comprehend the festivities around him. Still we went through all the same pomp and circumstance.
Looking back over the pictures I marvel at the ways we tried to help our young boys celebrate the season. A drive to enjoy Christmas lights turned into a meltdown of historic proportions. Family celebrations proved to be more exhausting than exhilarating. We had done it all - enjoyed meals, read the Christmas story, opened gifts, and as best as I could tell our boys were none the wiser to the real meaning of Christmas.
I couldn't help but wonder, Am I more like my naïve children than I'd like to admit? Did I fail to understand all that was happening around me? Did I let the magnitude of the season pass me by unnoticed? Had I slept my way through the celebrations with family and friends?
Was the One who orchestrated the very first Christmas waiting for this child to enjoy all that He had done for me?
I wish I could say I celebrated Christmas like a spiritually mature mother of two, but I'm afraid I slept through it. I was entertained. I was distracted. I was only partly there. I whined and whimpered. I fixated on the wrong things.
So how does one who slept through Christmas 2008 prepare for Christmas 2009? By accepting God's grand invitation to celebrate Christ's birth every day. Perhaps this is the only way to appreciate its magnitude. A few weeks ago I went to our basement where we store our Christmas decorations. I dug out my favorite ornament and hung it in my office, hopeful it will remind me to celebrate Christ today. Maybe after a month of wide-awake worship I'll be ready to show my children - and myself - all that we missed last year.
Dear Lord, help me celebrate You every day in every way. Father, I don't want my children to think that celebrating Your entrance into this world is relegated to just the month of December. Your birth changed me forever; may I celebrate it accordingly. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Pursuing the Christ: 31 Morning and Evening Devotions for Christmastime by Jennifer Kennedy Dean
My First Christmas Story by Tim Dowley
Visit Whitney’s blog – Speak When Spoken Through
Has Jesus’ birth changed you forever?
Resolve to think about Christmas long before the hustle and bustle begins. Start discussing with your children the ways your family wants to honor Jesus this season. Prioritize the weeks around activities and events that celebrate the Christ child.
Would those outside my family and friends look at how we celebrate the season and know that we see it as the life-changing, history-altering event it is?
Based on how we fill our days and nights, what priorities do we esteem during the Christmas season?
1 John 2:16, "For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world." (NIV)
Luke 2:13-14, 20, "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'…The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." (NIV)
© 2009 by Whitney Capps. All rights reserved.