Well Christmas celebrations came and went this year. In reflecting, I have several observations about what transpired in our home over the past 4 weeks, and I thought I'd share them. Maybe you too have been able to enjoy, celebrate and re-evaluate your "christmas traditions".
First, I am grateful that my boys received very few presents this year. It sure made them appreciate what they did receive, plus it made the whole "gift thing" a smaller part of our Christmas season. If I can help them understand the rightful emphasis of gifting in the years to come, I will be grateful to God for help in this regard.
One thing that I particularly enjoyed for Christmas 2006 was reading a collection of 24 verses from Luke and Matthew during the advent weeks. It was great to read and re-read these verses with the boys, since the meaning grew with every passage over those precious words. My goal for next year (should we be granted another Christmas season) would be to have a dedicated time each evening for a "vesper" service -where we read God's word and sing carols. We tried this a few times - snuggled in mom's bed with the Christmas lights twinkling -and it was a special time. The only obstacle were the nights of christmas choir practice and Boys' Brigade. Maybe I can figure a way to have these services despite the later nights for the children.
Anyway, another thing that I relished this past season, was contemplating Christ's second coming as part of my Christmas "mind-travel". I would love to do a deeper study of eschatology in conjunction with an Advent preparation. Maybe the Lord will allow me that next year.
Finally, I was grateful that we were holed up in bed with the flu the week prior to Christmas. This afforded me a lot of time to read scripture, listen to John Piper, John MacArthur, etc. It was a special "treat" that was forced upon us in the midst of the Christmas flurry. One side benefit was that I realized that sometimes stepping back can give a lot of clarity to the whole "holiday" time. There can be great joy for our families in preparing for December 25th, but in the midst of our society's perversion of the holiday, we need to be vigilent in keeping our eyes glued to the truth of the incarnation.
These past weeks, I have been so thankful for the many reminders that God came to earth because of the dirty sinners that populate this planet. This includes you and me. We all deserve God's wrath. It is reasonable for law-breakers to be punished, and since we have broken the holy Creator's sacred laws, we deserve His pure and justifiable wrath, with judgement.
Thanks be to God for sending Jesus to walk this earth, next to sinful creature. Thanks be to Jesus for being faithful in purity, obedience and sacrifice. Had the incarnation not happened, we would all be destined to hell, BUT... praise God for His gift of a Savior.
Interestingly, Jesus' role as a Savior permeated all the Christmas events I attended this year, and it reflected the joy in my soul. He is my Savior!! I would have no hope... and now my future is completely changed. Already I experience the wonderful blessings of this changed heart, but I anticipate with even greater hope my final glory - when I will be face to face in God's presence... worshiping forever without distraction. Now that's a reason to celebrate - and not just on December 25th, but for the whole year!!