Our family has started a tradition of decorating our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving. This year we had Thanksgiving early because that’s when family could be here, so we decorated early too!
This year was the first year that we let our girls hang most of the ornaments. That was definitely a test for this Mommy! Most of our ornaments are hanging on the front lower half of our tree, because that’s where the girls could reach. Some branches have more than one ornament!
I had planned to redistribute the ornaments after they went to bed. It was hard for me to really look at the tree! But those two girls had such a great time hanging ornaments and candy canes, they were so proud of their work! My husband convinced me to just let it be.
This year Christmas means something a little different to me. It’s not about having a perfectly decorated tree or exquisitely wrapped presents.
This year I want to watch my girls experience Christmas. I want to take them to every walk-through nativity we can, every fancy light display, I want to read them the story of Jesus’ birth as many times as we can… I want to pay attention and soak in every moment. I want to watch their faces light up a little more as Christmas gets closer.
Yesterday my girls asked my husband to read the story of Baby Jesus from The Jesus Storybook Bible. If you don’t have that book, I highly recommend it! I love how it’s written for children, but it’s not babyish. Anyways…
In the chapter called “The Light of the whole world” it tells the story of when the angels visited the shepherds to tell them about the birth of Jesus. The beginning of the chapter is so sweet…
“That same night, in amongst the other stars, suddenly a bright light appeared. Of all the stars in the dark vaulted heavens, this one shone clearer. It blazed in the night and made the other stars look pale beside it.
God put it there when his baby Son was born — to be like a spotlight. Shining on him. Lighting up the darkness. Showing people the way to him.
You see, God was like a new daddy — he couldn’t keep the good news to himself. He’d been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone.
So he pulled out all the stops. He’d sent an angel to tell Mary the good news. He’d put a special star in the sky to show where his boy was. And now he was going to send a big choir of angels to sing his happy song to the world: He’s here! He’s come! Go and see him. My little Boy.” – The Jesus Storybook Bible, by Sally Lloyd-Jones, pg. 184-186
I’m not the only parent who gets excited at Christmas time because of their kids. I’ve only had to wait a year to share this with them. God waited thousands of years before His Son was born. The birth of that Baby meant the plan of salvation was in motion. All of Biblical history was leading up to that moment in a stable, and God wanted the world to know!
It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas and forget the story behind the season. There is so much joy to be had if we really watch for it!
So this year, I want to be more present. I encourage you to do the same!