Frenzied Preparation

December 21st 2009

My parents are coming for Christmas!  I am so excited because this is my first Christmas in my new house, and the first Christmas since I have been married, we years, that I have been able to have family come to my home for Christmas.  So it is very exciting for me to have them come this year.  The past couple of days we have been getting ready for their arrival, and since we just moved in 2 months ago, there were a few extra things that were still left undone from the move.

We still had a few boxes left in the room they are staying in-done.  We needed to get the bed set up for them-done.  My husband wanted to get a few of the things that were still in the garage taken care of-he is working on that now.  Plus all of the normal things you do when company comes.  Plus shopping for Christmas dinner.  So it has been a bit frenzied the last couple of days because I added on top of that singing in the cantata yesterday.  Then of course while I would be working on doing something I would get distracted, forget what I was doing, then have to go back to it again.  Well they will arrive tomorrow, whether I am ready or not.

In all of this I started thinking, we all tend to get a little frenzied when company is coming to our house.  However, how frenzied are we over the fact that Christ is returning for His church?  He is coming whether we are ready or not.  I for one would very much like to be prepared if He arrives while I am still here.  I want Him to find me doing what He has asked me to be doing, rather then distracted.  He is going to arrive either way, and I pray we are all diligently working on being prepared.

The last few nights it has been so nice to sit in the evening and do what we have done leading up to Christmas every year for the past several years.  We have a tradition in our house of doing the “Adorenaments” from FamilyLife each year.  If you haven’t heard of these they are a set of ornaments that match 12 names of Christ, and on them is printed the scripture reference that goes with it.  Each night leading up to Christmas we get one out, read the reference, and the devotional to go with it.  Then Bryan gets to hang the Adorenament on the tree.

When Bryan was really little we focused on him learning that they were different things that Christ is to us, and that we know that because the bible tells us that.  Now at almost 9, he really understands why Christ has several of these names, and how to even explain them before we read the devotional.  In each of the names of Christ is a promise, and if my son knows them and understands them, then he is going to be able to see God fulfilling those promises in his life.

So each night up until Christmas we will continue doing this, and we will do it again next year.  This is one way we make sure we don’t get caught up in All The Fringe in this house.  My challenge to you-  Ask yourself  “What is my Christ centered Christmas tradition?”

All The Fringe

December 3rd 2009

We are all pulling out the trees, putting up the lights, hanging the stockings, and decorating the mantels.  It is officially the Christmas season.  As we drive down street at night more and more homes are adorned with lights.  Have you put yours up yet?  Has your tree made its appearance, filling your living room with color?  Are there any other decorations you put up during the holidays that you just love?

This year I am in my new house.  I put my Christmas village up in it’s brand new location, and I went and bought some brand new decorations for the living room.  The tree is out of storage and waiting to be put up.  All of the snowmen have been taken out of their crates and places around the house where they will stay for winter until the birdhouses reappear.  It definitely looks like Christmas in my home.

Looks–how many of us concentrate really hard on whether our homes look like Christmas?  Here is another more interesting question–does your home look like Christmas to God?  Good question, but what does Christmas look like to God?  To answer that question we must look at what Christmas is.  Christmas is a celebration of the very fact that Christ chose, of His own accord, to become flesh in order to die so that we might know forgiveness of sin.  Yes, that is what Christmas is about.  Christ’s choice to become flesh for us, and the celebration of that.  So, in order for Christmas to look like Christmas to God, He needs to see that celebration in us.  There is only way way that is going to happen, and that is if we know Christ.

So how does God see Christmas in us and in our home?  Through the very fact that we belong to Him, that we are saved by grace because He chose to come as flesh and die for us.  The celebration of Christmas is about that, and the rest of it, all the decorations, the tree, the lights, it’s all fringe.  All the fringe isn’t what pleases God at Christmas.  Sure it is pretty, but the beauty of Christmas is what God sees in us, and that is Christ who lives in us once we believe that He came to earth, died on the cross, and rose for us.  This Christmas enjoy the fringe, but celebrate what God sees in you.