“Oh, Come Let Us Adore Him “
Christmas is quickly approaching! For those that celebrate this sacred and joy-filled time of year, it is often faced with mixed emotions. On the commercial end of Christmas, it is a frantic scurrying of gift shopping, cooking, baking, card writing, decorating, traveling, and event planning. We can get caught up in the details of all these “traditional ways of celebrating” and end up feeling stressed and overwhelmed. We can get so immersed in the activity of preparation that we miss out on the joy of the meaning behind Christmas! We are so laser focused on purchasing that perfect gift for Uncle Tom and daughter Rebecca that we can lose sight of what the “true gift” really is. We run desperately from store to store, party to party, checking off our endless lists of to-dos in the sea of others’ doing the very same thing.
Cookie baking supplies, check, wrapping paper, check, standing in long lines at the post office to mail all the packages my budget can’t afford (sigh), check, Christmas ham and turkey, check, Christmas cards and stamps, check, buy Christmas lights to replace the ones that burned out, yet again, check, gifts for the office staff, check, food shopping for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, cookie exchanges, unexpected guests that drop off, stocking stuffer gifts, ten-fold check, and on and on it goes. And then we need to do all the necessary holiday festivities of finding and putting up the perfect Christmas tree, going to see all the local Christmas lights, going to plays, recitals, school and church programs, recording all the Christmas shows that we watch every year, attend work and office parties, and visit relatives we may not see all year long,check,check,check.
It is no wonder we end up frustrated, exhausted, overwhelmed, teary eyed and moody, financially maxed out, and often dreading this joyous celebration! In past years I have found myself robotically going through the motions of all the “required” preparation for the Christmas season. I was devoid of joy and anticipation because I couldn’t keep up with the endless sea of tasks, lists, and arrangements. I would battle the “Did I find the perfect gift for this loved one?” and “what should I make for Christmas dinner that won’t cost a fortune and everyone will enjoy eating?” The dread would build as the December calendar days ticked off at such a rapid pace even the most organized person would find it daunting! The continuous recording playing in my mind was, “Christmas is how many days away??!!” It was more like a primal scream going on in my overtaxed brain on a daily basis. The stress and anxiety hitting all new levels as each day checked off that much closer to the 25th of December.
In all this hustle and bustle it really is no wonder the whole reason for the season gets lost in all the preparation and daunting task load we put upon ourselves. I do not want to sound like a Scrooge, nor am I knocking the Century old traditions that are followed during the Christmas season. I just mourn the loss of the true meaning of Christmas within these traditions. The Lord spoke to my heart this year and He gave me the words “stripped down”. They have been truly prophetic and have come into play on numerous occasions. When we strip things down it is easier to see what is under the surface, the true source, the true meaning. When we add fluff and load on bows and adornments the reason can be easily missed or lost. Below I have shared some thoughts and scripture on Christmas in the stripped down version. While the adornments are pretty and eye catching they can also be deceiving or distracting. I love all the thoughts and traditions of Christmas, the lights, the foods, and gifts, just like the next person. I would rather celebrate this year’s Christmas in the most stripped down version possible.
Christmas is not….
- Christmas is not a sum of all the above-named activities and traditions.
- Christmas is not about the gift giving and receiving of store bought gifts.
- Christmas is not about the endless eating of calorie-laden foods.
- Christmas is not a contest about who has the best light show or gives the best gift.
- Christmas is not about running frantically from place to place, preparing for a day that typically flies by.
- Christmas is not about having the perfect meal, perfect house, or perfect gift.
- The celebration of Jesus’ birth.
- God sent His Son, Jesus, to the world, to the lost, to be born in a humble manger to Mary and Joseph.
- God, the Father, sent Jesus to identify with the human heart of man.
- Jesus was sent to give us hope and redemption.
- Jesus’ birth brought Shepherds, wise men, and angels to share the excitement in the birth of baby Jesus. They knew this was no ordinary baby! Prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before.
- Jesus’ birth brought great joy and peace!
- Jesus’ birth was an expression of God’s great and eternal love for His children.
- Jesus’ birth brought salvation to us all!
- Jesus was born so that one day He would die upon a cross, atoning for all of our sins.
- We are clean and made whole, forgiven, through Jesus.
- Jesus is the reason for the season! Celebrate and rejoice!
Luke 2: 1-21 (NIV)
The Birth of Jesus
1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place whilea Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to their own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Isaiah 7:14 (AMP) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).
Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) 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.
The following was found on http://biblesforamerica.org/the-deep-significance-of-the-birth-of-jesus-christ/. “The conception and birth of Jesus Christ was the mingling of God with humanity.”The conception and birth of Jesus Christ was the mingling of God with humanity.” “Through His incarnation, God was expressed in a man, Jesus Christ, in the flesh. Jesus, who was born in the manger, fully expressed the very God in all His rich being and Person to mankind. God’s love, mercy, righteousness, holiness, compassion, and glory were and still are expressed in the humanity of Christ.” “By believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved and receive Jesus—the one who lived a perfect human life that expressed the true God—as our Savior and our life.”
“If you’ve never done so before, you can receive Him right now by praying this prayer.”
“Lord Jesus, I believe that You are both the complete God and a perfect man. Thank You for being born with our humanity and becoming a real and genuine man with both divinity and humanity. Thank You for dying for my sins. Lord, I receive You right now. Thank You for coming into me to be my life. Lord, live out in me Your wonderful life that expresses God.”
The words above are the truths and real meaning behind Christmas. It is a time of intense gratitude and joy. It is a time of peace and reflection. It is a time to help thy neighbor and give to those in need or less fortunate. It is time to think beyond the obvious and look underneath the surface for the truth. It is a time of seeing beyond the distracting glitter to the baby lying in a rustic manger on that starry night. Christmas is a time to rejoice, to give back, to reach out, to reflect, to be generous and charitable, and to tell our Lord how grateful we are for His birth.
The following are some ways I think we can simplify our Christmas season:
- Cut down on the number of events you attend, perhaps have a top 5 list.
- Consider picking names for gifts in the family, or set a price limit for each person. You could consider doing a family activity together in place of gifts. Or you could give the money you would spend on gifts to a charity you love.
- Think “stripped down” each day. Find ways to shorten your to-do lists. Keep your focus on the true meaning of Christmas.
- Serve at a homeless center or your local church. Invite someone that has nowhere to go to your family dinner.
- Celebrate differently than you ever have before. Find ways to simplify and to express your gratitude.
- Play Christmas worship music, pray, or rest when you are feeling overwhelmed. Take the time to remember what Christmas is all about.
- Read the story of Jesus’s birth to your children.
- Attend the Christmas services at your local church.
- Visit the elderly in your local area, bring them some Christmas cheer.
- Find ways to reach out to your community and ways to make a difference.
- Give yourself grace.
- Take time to rest and just be still in the Lord’s presence.
- Embrace each moment of your holiday planning with your loved ones. Embrace them. Love them.
- Face your to-do’s with joy instead of dread and stress.
- Be grateful for what you have.
- Look up to Jesus, and let Him be your focus.
I pray this Christmas is your most stripped down yet. I pray that you and your family are able to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and share that joy with others. I pray that we all adore Him and share the gift of His birth with everyone we meet throughout the Christmas season and beyond. I wish you all a very blessed and joy filled Christmas! “Oh, Come let us adore Him.” Merry Christmas to one and all! Jesus, we rejoice You and Your birth!
I am honored to be a part of the Blogs by Chrisitan Women’s Christmas Blogger Showcase Tour. The tour is an opportunity to visit fellow sisters in Christ showcasing their family-friendly Christmas theme posts. I pray you enjoy them and continue to follow them after the Christmas season. You can find Blogs by Christian Women at http://blogsbychristianwomen.com/holiday-blogger-showcase-giveaway/ . They are offering giveaways from December 6th-12th, 2016 if you’d like to enter. The giveaways include; a Studiopress child theme, Advocare Spark packets, and a Write the Word journal. You can enter below if you would like.
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