The last few weeks we’ve been preparing our house to prepare for Christmas. I know that may sound silly. We’ve had a list of home projects we wanted to cross off before the end of the year, including painting our living room and fireplace—the location for our beloved Christmas tree.
I knew if I procrastinated the project, the list would not get finished with the tree up and decorated. So, I diligently painted and scrubbed for days (painting judges paneling is no joke). On the last day of painting, I realized my mind, effort, and energy was so focused on finishing the project to prepare for Christmas that I'd neglected quality time with our son.
So like any mother, I asked what he wanted to do. His response: “Griffin’s Kwismas Tree.” He’d watched me put grit and time into preparing for a tree, so a tree he was going to get. We put it up the very next day. The ornaments he chose gave him such joy, and the ambiance from the lights serves as a perfect new night light for his bedroom. The tree is small, but it's his, and we did it together.
I cried tears of joy as I watched him sleep beside the tree that night. I also couldn't help but feel guilty. All my sweet boy needed was a small tree, a few ornaments, and some quality time with his mom.
We have commercialized Christmas so much in the last several decades. We prepare to prepare for Christmas. We spend hours and money to decorate for the season, buy endless gifts, and consume ourselves with holiday festivities.
But what’s at the core of Christmas? A man and a pregnant woman who were scared, but faithful. A barn, a manger, and the love of God. The greatest Christmas of all didn't include lights, presents, ornaments, and rich food. Mary and Joseph weren't painting their living room to prepare for a lavish Christmas tree. They were pouring their hearts out to God. They were keeping hope for a safe delivery of the Savior of the World. They were humbling themselves for the eternal roles they were about to play.
Like my sweet boy, God doesn't need all the frills of Christmas to stir our hearts. He just needs our faithfulness, our dependence, and quality time spent with Him. He longs to remind us of the joy and peace this season brings;joy that has nothing to do with freshly painted walls, and peace that comes despite lights or gifts.
I'm thankful that Christmas is such a big holiday for so many. But I'm even more grateful for God’s message to me just before the holiday season unfolds. The gift of Christ’s birth came to a poor, lowly couple who had nothing but love in their hearts and faith in a God promising to do big things. So whether we’re blessed with much or little, my hope is that we festively celebrate this season for all it stands for. I pray we all try to place ourselves in the shoes of Mary and Joseph.
In the midst of gifts, parties, and presents, let’s stop to remember that Christ is our hope, joy, and future. Let’s pause to realize the depth and privilege of parenting our children— gifts given to us by the same God who gave us the Prince of Peace. May we focus our hearts on what's most important, and on those around us who need quality love, time, and affection while we “prepare to prepare” for the greatest time of year.
May love and peace find you in simple moments when it's easiest to hear God’s whispers, and give you hope that the joy of Christmas is only a prayer away.
Word of the Day:
She gave birth to her firstborn son; she wrapped him in cloths and lay him in a manger because there was no room available to them. (Luke 2:7)
Thank You for the miracle of Jesus. Thank You for reminding us that Christmas takes place with or without all the bells and whistles. I pray we seek out moments that show your goodness and mercy this holiday season. I pray You humble us with the true meaning of Christmas and help us find gratefulness for the opportunity to celebrate the Savior of the World. Thank you for giving us the same privilege as Mary and Joseph. may we embody their faithfulness and love of Your son.
Author: Candace Koon