Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reason for the Season

I have been reminded lately of how out of touch we are with the true meaning of the CHRISTmas season. We have missionary friends who are overseas in a country where Christmas is not recognized. Yet they have shared that they are finding ways, daily, to be intentional about their celebration of Christ’s birth. That even if they leave the comforts of their apartment and are not surrounded by the commercialism of the “Holiday Season” that we are, their children will still be reminded of what is most important at this time of year and all year long.

I admit that I get caught up in the commercialized aspect of the season. The sales, the decorations and music etc. And we try to talk with our kids about what CHRISTmas is really about – the birth of Christ. But I don’t know that they really “get” it.

Gabriel has lots of questions right now about Santa, if he really lives at the North Pole, why he lives at the North Pole, why he comes down a chimney, what he will do at our house because we don’t have a chimney. I try to patiently answer all of these questions when he has them – over and over – but then I try to follow it up with talking about Jesus being born, which usually leads to questions about the baby in my tummy and if it is Jesus too.

We got this interactive Nativity set from Family Life that is really good – it has 7 boxes with a figurine inside each box and a pop-up manger scene and a story that goes with it. The concept talks about what God wants for Christmas and on the last day/box it is opened to reveal a mirror and information about how God wants us for Christmas. Gabriel really liked that – that God wanted him for His present….but I don’t know that he understands what that means yet.

One of my favorite songs is from the Point of Grace “A Christmas Story” CD. The song is titled “Not that far from Bethlehem” and I wanted to share the lyrics.

Underneath the stars
Just a simple man and wife
Somewhere in the dark
His words cut the silent night
Take my hand, for the childThat you carry is God’s own
And though it seems the road is long
(chorus)
We’re not that far from Bethlehem
Where all our hope and joy begins
For in our arms we’ll cherish Him
We’re not that far, not that far from Bethlehem
Let us celebrate
As the Christmases go by
Learn to live our days
With our hearts near to the child
Ever drawn, ever close
To the only love that lasts
And though 2000 years have passed
We’re not that far from Bethlehem
Where all our hope and joy began
For when our hearts still cherish Him
We’re not that far, not that far from Bethlehem

Over the next two weeks, if we haven’t already, let us all try to remember that we have been given such an amazing gift in the Christ child. God sent His son to earth, knowing He would have to be the sacrifice for me, for you for the sins we would commit daily. He knew in advance this was His fate and He chose to offer us this gift some 2000 years ago. I can’t understand it or comprehend the magnitude of that sacrifice, but I am so very grateful for His unconditional love. Merry CHRISTmas friends!

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