I LOOOOOVE Christmas! Like I REALLY love it. I start listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween (or maybe even the day after July 4th…). I love the music, the lights, the smells, everything. Sometimes, even though I know and truly appreciate deep down the humble beginnings of this holiday, I get distracted.
These distractions can be good things; giving gifts, cooking for family, attending church and school plays – all good things. GREAT things even.
But there is something about this holiday that needs to be given sacred reflection. It’s easy to say – keep the Christ in Christmas or let’s celebrate Jesus’ birthday! (all good things!) But my heart cries out for me to give so much more! The name of the holiday itself contains something sacred, perfect, and holy. Christ.
So many times in the Bible, Jesus tried to tell the people who He really was. He gave them illustration after illustration; desperately trying to convey His identity. If I had been there, would I have been so blind as they? Would I have missed it too?
They kept asking Him – “Who are you?”
Several years ago, I picked up this little book and ornament set. It contains a little book and 12 ornaments with 12 names of Christmas. It contains several of the well known, “I am” statements Jesus spoke.
Each page contains a name for Jesus, a corresponding verse, and a short devotional to read. It’s simple enough for my 4 year old to enjoy and has questions deep enough for my 16 year old to participate.
There is a quick-start parent guide at the beginning with resources from FamilyLife.com. I also love that it includes pages in the back with guides to talking to children about Christ.
I had great intentions of making a new tradition for our family. The idea was that we would sit quietly each evening for the 12 nights before Christmas and read each of the names for Christ. We would reflect on its meaning and have deep conversations about our savior.
We tried. We made it through a couple nights one year before we got distracted by good things. One year I think we made it to 8. I would allow my frustration over the imperfectness of our family, the chaos that destroyed my ideal visions to take over and I would say “Maybe next year.”
“Maybe when they’re older.”
“Maybe tomorrow night.”
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
My life has changed sooo much this year (which is a post for another time) but I feel SO much MORE this year. So much closer to understanding the feeling of not knowing where home is, not knowing what will happen or what will become of our family. I understand a world desperate for a savior. I understand The Way not looking like what you expected; and yet being so much greater than you could have ever imagined.
My heart is longing to teach my kids each and every name for Christ, no matter how chaotic the conversation. It doesn’t matter if everyone isn’t sitting quietly, or wearing matching pajamas, or if we even have a tree. I want to and will still enjoy the good things; the cookies, the pictures, parades, and programs; but never at the expense of the BEST thing.
This year, we all look forward to reading a new page, learning more about another name for our savior. We look forward to hanging each ornament on a string on the mantle because we don’t have a tree yet. This year, we are being more purposeful about putting the distractions to rest. This year, there are no “maybe when’s”.
NO matter what – Jesus is going to be at the center.
NO matter what – Jesus will be on our lips as we speak about Christmas.
NO matter what – JESUS.
We will need grace, we will get distracted sometimes. SO, if you see me trying to let the good things take over the BEST thing – point me back in the right direction, will ya?
I’ve included an affiliate link to the devotional on Amazon in the post above.