Beholding Christmas

Charlie is obsessed with trains. If you think I am kidding, somehow trains make it into the song Old McDonald. His version of the song goes something like this :

Old McDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O! And on that farm he had a train! (and then instead of animal noises, he makes train noises… I can’t make this up friends)

With his love of trains, I am not sure why I was surprised that when I asked Charlie this week why we celebrate Christmas, he responded by saying Trains. The thoughts in my head after he said this very quickly ranged from Who taught him that Christmas was about trains?, to We are failures as parents if he thinks Christmas is about trains, and finally Okay, now that Thanksgiving is over it is time to tell him about the birth of Jesus again.

I want to find the most beauty by beholding Jesus being born as a baby, heaven coming to earth.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday cheer. I love the baking, and trying new recipes (I have already tried a white chocolate peppermint fudge recipe this year, amazing!). I love trying to find the perfect gifts, and the get-togethers. I love the Christmas lights, and the holiday candle scents. But when Charlie said trains, my heart sunk a little. In the midst of it all, the hustle and bustle and beauty of the holiday, I don’t want the season to be about holiday cheer. I want to find the most beauty by beholding Jesus being born as a baby, heaven coming to earth. God sending His son to show us His great love.

I have been thinking about what happens when a baby is born. There is celebration, and messages of congratulations and best wishes. There are gifts for the new little bundle of joy. And there is the anticipation to meet and hold the baby. I remember last year, I was talking to a dear friend at church. She was meeting Olivia, my infant daughter, for the first time. She reached out and excitedly said Okay, let me hold her! I remember feeling so much joy in those moments just knowing my friend wanted to hold my daughter, it is a moment I treasured.

I wonder if Mary felt like I did when the shepherds arrived to adore the baby wrapped in clothes, laying in a manger. Did she know the true power of those first sweet moments, as she was treasuring them in her heart.

Let’s have our joyful adoration of Jesus be in the middle of the holiday cheer.

Jesus came into the broken, and the messy. He entered into the heartbreak, and the storm. Born as a baby. The baby that we celebrate and adore each Christmas season. I can focus so much on His death and resurrection. But this season I remember that a good Father, sent His son to earth.

Let us approach Jesus like my friend wanted to hold Olivia.

This season, let’s have our joyful adoration of Jesus be in the middle of the holiday cheer.

So, how are we remembering Jesus during this season? Here are a few traditions that we started a a couple of years ago in hopes to keep our focus on Jesus born into this world:

  • We make Jesus birthday pancakes on Christmas morning, and then watch the VeggieTales movie “Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas”. We make them special, with sprinkes and whipped cream. Last year I think we made a birthday cake too and served it on Christmas eve.
  • We have a coin jar and every year as a family we take that money and give it away. Last year, I think we gave it to my friends adoption fund. The year before we bought toys for the toy blitz at our church for a community where our church has a mentoring program.
  • During the Christmas season we read books before bed that focus on that one silent night. Our current favorites are “God Gave Us Christmas”, “Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving”, and “The Best Christmas Gift Ever”.

My Christmas prayer for you is that beyond the holiday cheer, your season be filled with moments that leave you beholding Jesus. I pray you stand in awe of who He is, and adore this mighty Son of God who came to earth gently as a baby, to eventually hang on the violent cross, only to be beautifully resurrected so we can live abundantly because of this gift. And that you have sweet moments adoring Jesus that you treasure in your hearts.

I’d love to hear what are you and/or your family are doing this Christmas season to remember why we celebrate Christmas?

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