It's like clockwork: Christmas comes every year in December, but every year, I swear it has snuck up on me. I promise myself that I'll plan ahead and have tons of crafts and outings to do with my kids for every single wintery day, that my advent calendar will be homemade and crafty and oozing with thoughtfulness, and that my gift shopping will have been done already to avoid lines and stress and chaos. And yet today, I scrambled to 2 stores to find those cheap-o, flimsy, chocolate-filled advent calendars with Santa's rosy face plastered all over it (and if you know me at all, I don't like to have any Christmas decorations with Santa on them...) and realized I have only purchased one gift out of the many I promised I'd be wrapping already. Sadly, I'm off to a not-so-great start.
And then my kids, though moments before had been making my skin crawl and I was counting the seconds to bedtime, brought me back to truth. What is Christmas really about and why are we celebrating it?
I told them about the Advent season, the coming of Jesus, and the hope that He brings us. I think they were more excited about lighting a candle, aka playing with fire, but it promptly convicted and humbled me. Forgive me for spouting an overused phrase: Jesus IS the reason for the season. For every day until Christmas, we will read verses from the bible about Jesus, his coming, his birth, his hope, his light and joy to the world.
My kids usually get to pick a bedtime song but I asked if we could sing a Christmas song together:
Away in a manger,
No crib for a bed.
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the sky
Looked down where he lay.
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.
I try to picture in my mind what it would have been like to kneel in the hay before this newborn baby, with the barnyard smell so strong, the sheep bleeting, the other wisemen or shepherds rustling the straw, and knowing that this baby was my King, the Savior for us all. Wow. Even now, it brings me to tears, and I want to go throw those advent calendars out the front door. Wait, let me empty the candies out first. C'mon, I'm no fool!