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The Inn after Christmas

These are the leftovers of Christmas that remain underneath our tree.

The last of the gifts that need to be unboxed and placed in their appropriate places throughout the house. We chose to unwrap our gifts and then place them here instead of leaving our tree bare after Christmas morning. Weird, maybe. Lazy…whatever you wish to call it.

However, even though we prefer to purchase a live tree each year, we decided this year to leave it up a little longer. I happen to enjoy the twinkling lights. We were both home the full two weeks for winter break. And while living or artificial, each year we seem to want to put our decorations up earlier, and keep them up later and later.

Then there is also the twelve days of Christmas that played into this. The wise men did not visit Jesus on Christmas night. They actually paid their visit to the Messiah several nights later. Bearing gifts that were much more glorious than any sitting underneath our tree right now.

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down to worship him. They opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11, NLT

Whether you celebrate the Twelfth Night today or tomorrow (because yes, even that is debated). If you don’t even give it a thought. Whether you think it’s superstition to take anything “old” into a “new” year, and take your decorations down as soon as Christmas Day is done; or whatever Christmas decor lore you subscribe to, let’s remember this:

The true gift was never placed under a tree. He was swaddled with love and care, and placed in a feeding trough in a lowly manger. He is a gift that is ours for the taking daily, as long as we receive him in our hearts. His spirit isn’t relegated to a season, and his love and spirit of giving, kindness and compassion that lives in those who call him Savior should be present far beyond Christmas Day. Far beyond the day the decor is packed away. The carols are sung, or the gift boxes are placed in the attic. It is lived out daily. Given to others daily.

If you are a follower of Jesus, let’s look at others the way I look at my Christmas tree. With wonder. With delight. As if it’s the most magical thing you have ever seen, and you certainly don’t want it taken down.

Could we spend a little more time in awe of people this way? Even those who are hard to love? In awe of him this way?

Even after all the decorations and twinkling lights are gone?

Will there still be room for Jesus? For love, peace, joy, and compassion in our inns?

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2019 in Loving Others

 

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Because Christmas Is Not About Presents

“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all the people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem.” Luke 2:10-11

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“So, what is the true meaning of Christmas, Hayley?” 

“Jesus!” That’s my girl!

“Hunter, why do we celebrate Christmas?”

“To get presents!” Um….well, not the answer I was looking for. This doesn’t bode well coming from the son of a children’s pastor. How did he miss the message of Christmas?

I’ll tell you how….Christmas (in the best Lucy impression I can muster) has gone commercial! Before the Halloween decorations have been packed away, Christmas decorations are already being put on display in the store. Among the shiny tinsel covered trees, or the 8 foot artificial trees with “improved,” multicolor, flickering lights, or the Hot New Toy of the Year-the message is clear-your old tree is so last year. You need one that is bigger and better. Your child needs the Hot New Toy of the Year, otherwise his life is incomplete. And, let’s not get started on what Black Friday has now become-a contest to see which You Tube user can share the biggest brawl over that Hot New Toy!

Don’t get me wrong. I have a tinsel covered tree, I like to buy a shiny, new ornament for my tree each year, and I can’t wait until Thanksgiving Day to pull out my shiny (so last year) decorations. Yes, I even shop. But somewhere between the tinsel, the lights, the Hot New Toy, and the Black Friday sales ads, the true meaning of Christmas has been lost.

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.” Luke 1:31

A child was born. A child who would die to save us, and what do we do each year? Worry about whether our aunt twice removed that we see once a year will like the gift we stressed out over purchasing this year. Christmas and its meaning should bring us great joy. It is a time when instead of stressing over giving gifts, yelling at the cashier because the Hot New Toy of the Year is not on sale, or spending large amounts of money on gifts that will be re-gifted and put underneath someone else’s tree next year, we should be rejoicing! Our Savior was born!

Christmas is about this Savior. The one who loved others, and wants us to do the same. He wants us to be joyful. He wants us to blare those Christmas carols, and sing about Him as loud as we can. He wants us to spend time with our families without the pressure of gifts. He wants us to stop reflecting on what is in our bank accounts, and reflect on Him. He wants us to reflect on the many ways we can give gifts to others that do not cost anything-like joy, time, love, laughter. What if we all gave a little bit more of these instead of more gifts?

My son’s favorite Christmas book is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The other night as I read a few of his favorite lines:

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

Hunter looked up at me and said, “It’s about Jesus, right Mommy?”

Yes, it’s about Jesus, honey!

Now, that’s my boy!

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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