Ready. Set. Go!
Stack Christmas cards. Email gift lists. Take kids to the downtown parade. Wear the red dress. Bake cookies. Sing carols. Fill a shoebox for kids overseas. Find another babysitter for holiday party 58. Glue DIY teacher gifts till midnight. Watch the nightly festive movie on TV. Sip cocoa. Snuggle by the fire. Hang lights. Trim the tree.
Phew! Are you ready for the rush to Christmas?
Then a question from a sweet little one over Thanksgiving stopped me right in my tracks. “Mimi, why do we decorate a tree?” As usual, the answer was good for me to think about, too, because it’s not just to celebrate Christmas, I realized.
We decorate, sing, and give to help us remember: to point us to Christmas … to Christ.
Sometimes I get to Christmas — any holiday, really — and I realize that I’ve fully invested myself in making memories with my family, teaching them the lessons to be gleaned from the holiday, and creating a prepared place for my friends and family to thrive with sweet times together. But inside, I feel hollow, somehow like the holiday has run past me. Or over me.
The way our world currently celebrates the Christmas season doesn’t exactly foster time to meditate on the real miracle of “God with us.” It’s far easier to be focused on loving everyone well— the pitch-perfect gifts; the awe-filled memories; the scented, warm atmosphere; the sentimental foods and story times — and completely miss the beauty of focusing on the One Thing that is important.
So I decided to carve out some time last weekend to start the season truly prepared. I want to start Christmas in my heart before everything else snowballs.
I am rereading the account of Mary, the woman of the Christmas story. It amazes me that every year, her story still unwraps truth for me. After all, even Mary, with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy before her, chose to focus her eyes on God — for His honor — rather than her circumstances.
I’d like to follow Mary’s example. It’s most important for me to worship God for what He did in this season. Like Mary in her heart, she treasured the things she saw. As the woman who shapes our family’s Christmas story, I must set the tone in my home at Christmas that way—in worshipful remembrance and adoration of the King of kings who set aside His royalty in His heavenly home to become Emmanuel, God with us on plain ‘ol earth.
Since nightly reminders won’t be accompanying the movies on ABC Family, I’m filling my tree with beautiful pieces that adorn my home well but also prepare my heart well. These radiant names of Jesus declare worship in the glinting firelight, sparking my soul to praise.
I’ll also do a daily advent to countdown to Christmas, but it won’t be filled with chocolates or bells or paper chains. I’m going to read one verse each day that tells more of the identity of our wonderful Savior. If you’d like to join me, please comment below with your e-mail and we will send you a downloadable PDF.
Stay tuned for more practical ideas that help you and your family worship in excited anticipation during this advent season. And please share with us, in the comments below, ways that your family is focused on adoring the Baby King this Christmas season.