Even though we went to church regularly as I grew up and we attended Christmas Eve services, heard the Christmas story with the animals, the inn, the stable, the start, the shepherds and the magi – I did not feel or understand the truth of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of Christmas until Christmas Even 2004.
I had given my life to Christ in 2001. But until that Christmas Eve when I heard the word incarnation and what it meant, I had not understood God’s plan, God’s sacrifice and His opening of heaven to humanity.
God came down.
God became one of us
God lived with us, ate with us and slept with us
God with humanity
What a revelation! My life changed in that moment to a LIVING understanding of Jesus.
Christmas has never been the same.
Our family decided that presents for the sake of buying presents every Christmas was ridiculous. It added an unneeded stress to a season full of busyness. This took some of the stress out of Christmas.
Someone pointed out that they offered their children at Christmas:
- A need
- A want
- A share
I love this as it echoes what my children are teaching their children about money. They have three jars – one for saving, one for spending, one for giving. All monies are divided equally.
What a grand idea! Keeping life simple – away from the secular pull of bangles, bobbles and business.
Our family stopped gifting each other. We do give token gifts to the grandchildren but instead of gifts for each other we give to a charity of our choice.
I remember the best Christmas we ever had. We got up early Christmas morning – left the house without opening any presents. All five of us headed to a mission about 30 minutes away to distribute a Christmas breakfast to people in a shelter and those who came in off the street.
One man asked me why I would give up Christmas morning with my family to help. I can’t remember my exact answer but it was certainly God’s love that promoted our saying YES to the call. And my joy overflowed.
How are you celebrating Christmas this year?
Are you feeling the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of Christ this Christmas?