I believe Jesus is the reason for the season.❤️
But really I believe He’s the reason for every season.💜
It’s a big deal to celebrate the birth and coming of Jesus~the rescue plan for the world. But at Christmastime I also like to make a big deal out of Santa Claus, buying gifts, Elf on the Shelf, and all things Christmas fun.❤️💚
And that’s ok. ♥️
This time of year, we can easily fall into the trap of over-spiritualizing things. If we’re not careful, our words could have the opposite effect than the ‘message’ we’re trying to convey.
When we make statements like ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’, ‘Remember the Reason for the Season,’ etc, we can justify saying it because it appears like we’re defending Jesus, but in the process we can offend those who may NOT be leaving Jesus out of their holidays necessarily, but rather including Him in on the fun.😎
But maybe it’s US who might be unintentionally excluding Jesus from our ‘other’ activities by reserving His time for only sacred and holy days, and keeping everything else separate.
When we practice separation, we put Jesus right back in that familiar box…the ‘sacred,’ or ‘religious’ box, reserved for seriousness and reverence. If we allow fun to creep in, it’s usually very ‘safe’ and ‘controlled’ fun.😯
If you’ve ever felt this way, it may be a sign that something is amiss. It was never the intention of Jesus to keep you from having fun.😯
God is the originator of laughter and joy. He wired it into us. He must’ve had a tremendous sense of humor-😁I know it’s weird to imagine; but fashioned in His image~ we certainly are going to reflect Him.💞 But we get all serious thinking He demands reverence far too often.😕
“And God said..Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness.”❤️ Genesis 1:26 ESV
Paranoia and fear of our performance-based religion drives us to drive out the fun far too often.😥
Another way we practice separation is when we feel like all ‘worshipful’ activities need to be in a ‘sacred’ space..such as a sanctuary, temple, chapel, mosque, etc. Or, if we feel we may have lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas, we become frantic and feel the need to schedule in a more reverent activity. I don’t get it.🤔
There’s nothing wrong with sacred space, but it should just be a reminder that all space is sacred.💙
Most of us understand that there is absolutely nothing sacred about a church building. There’s nothing sacred about the sanctuary in a church building. The presence of Jesus doesn’t dwell there any more or less than He does in the fellowship hall, kitchen, foyer, parking lot, sunday school classes~everywhere is sacred and Jesus is just as present in all places.✝️
We’re so used to separating the secular from the spiritual as if they can’t coexist. But everything is spiritual because there is no separation anymore.
Where does this idea of separation come from? If you are a Christian, it’s likely that the Gospel you’ve believed in is entirely based on the fact that our sin separated us from God, and if we don’t turn to Him we will be separated from Him for eternity.
That’s not Good News! So how can it be the Gospel? It’s not. 😵
Jesus didn’t come to change God’s mind about us, He came to change humanity’s mind about God.
We need to stop believing that God separated Himself from us, and begin embracing the fact that we are the ones who initiate separation. The Gospel we’ve believed in for centuries in the Western World has been founded on the fact that God separated himself from us and therefore sent Jesus to build a bridge so we’d have a way ‘back’ to God. We’ve built entire doctrines and theologies on this idea that simply isn’t true.
“I’m absolutely convinced that nothing–nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable–absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love.” (Romans 8)MSG💕
God didn’t hide his face or distance Himself from Adam and Eve. There is nothing in scripture that indicates God ceased having a relationship with them. They are the ones who felt the need to hide and pull away.💔
But He still went looking for them.♥️
And He will go to the depths of the earth to find you too.💖
We need to stop putting Jesus in a box where he doesn’t belong.
You’re never going to find Jesus in a box. Unless He wants to be in it with you. If that’s where you live, if that’s your comfort zone, He will go down that road to find you too.
He definitely found me in a box. I had a real encounter with Jesus in that box labeled religion…but I’m so grateful He rescued me from it.♥️
That’s one reason why religion can be so damaging. It keeps confirming the lies we’ve believed over the course of time. That also might be one reason why people are walking away from the ‘church’ and not coming back. Because something’s just not adding up.
And that’s why I’ve found that non-religious people are so much more enjoyable to be around. You can relax because there’s far less fear of judgement, and just an overall feeling of acceptance. They’re not worried about what they’re doing or not doing, and vice versa. People who aren’t tied down to a denomination and a list of dos and dont’s are the ones who may have discovered what a true relationship with Jesus really is.
So at Christmastime I could relax and have fun with my kids with Santa and the Elf on the Shelf and Jesus too. There shouldn’t be any guilt. I didn’t need to separate the secular from the spiritual because Jesus is IN everything and we are IN Him. So I will invite him into everything because He wants to be included in our everyday moments, not just in a church service or a solemn or monotone reading of the Christmas story.
When I was little, Elf-on-the-shelf wasn’t around obviously, but I whole-heartedly believed in Santa Claus. And I loved every second of that magic.
And guess what? I’m ok. 👌🏼❤️
I mean, of course I have issues like most of us do, 😵but Santa definitely wasn’t a contributing factor to any abnormalities or flaws that I have. 😮
I’m actually grateful that my parents allowed me to believe in that magic. I don’t hold anything against them, I don’t think they were lying to me, and I’m glad they didn’t think they were too ‘set-apart’ to participate in it.
I do remember when I finally caught on to the fact that Santa may not be real. 💔I don’t know if it was the apples and oranges missing from the kitchen table that were crammed into the bottom of my stocking every year..😪(to take up more room, maybe??)
Or maybe the fact that Santa’s handwriting looked mysteriously similar to my dad’s…😂Like, exactly..
Or the fact that Santa was continuously borrowing our crackly wrapping paper year after year. 😐
But these memories in no way make me hold a grudge, they are light-hearted and fun memories and I’m grateful for them. It makes me remember the wonder and innocence of being a child. And in a world where all of the wonder, joy, and innocence is being stolen away from them, I’m going to preserve it for as long as I can.
They’re only kids once. Don’t deprive them of a chance to be little and believe in a little magic and just have fun. Life gets way too serious way too quick.
I’m also not going to pretend I have all my priorities right by adhering to the popular (in the last couple of years) 4 gift rule we see pop up on newsfeeds around Christmas.
I don’t have a problem with the rule itself, if it works for your family. But the only way it could even make sense to a kid is if their family upheld the same standards for the other 364 days of the year. And if that’s the case, it’s truly admirable.👌🏼
For those unfamiliar with the rule…you only buy your kids 4 gifts for Christmas…
1)something you want
2)something you need
3)something to wear
4)something to read
It sounds catchy and many jumped on board with it in typical trend-following fashion, but I’m not sure if they actually thought it through.
Getting your kids something they need, can wear, and read is fine…except I thought that’s what we do all throughout the year…? 🤔 When their socks have holes, I buy them new socks. If they want a book-I’m gonna jump at the chance to encourage their love for reading.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with the rule, if you adhere to a similar set of standards the other 364 days of the year. But in the age of endless external stimulation at the first hint of idleness-I don’t buy it. When I see a child walking down a hallway at church with a screen in their face…it breaks my heart. 💔Do they need entertainment to just walk down a hallway? When I see one of my kid’s friends fumbling around with a phone in a restaurant..struggling to make conversation with his peers..it even seems like natural childhood silliness with a friend isn’t natural anymore..because his eyes keep getting drawn back to that addiction. It makes me very concerned for my children’s future and what they’ll be up against with peers that can’t break free from their addiction, one that will have serious consequences and side affects that will be devastating.
Let’s also not pretend we don’t go to great lengths to make certain our kids have the best of the best iPhones, iPads, tablets, gaming devices, activities galore, fancy trips, and everything else that we fork over hundreds of dollars for to make sure they’re not deprived in any way. Guilty? I definitely am.😩
And…most of us don’t deprive ourselves of anything we want or need either so we can’t be too quick to judge anyone else’s lifestyle.
So I’m not going to deprive my kids of Christmas fun on the most exciting day of the year. Being a kid is a GIFT. A time of playing, learning, and self-discovery. The anticipation of a day that seems magical is irreplaceable in the life of a child. It’s one day a year, and they’ll carry those memories with them throughout their life.
There is nothing I enjoy more than to see the joy, excitement, and innocence in the eyes of my 4-year old when he talks about and reflects on Christmas. I would never purposely deprive him of that because I thought my family was too holy for secular things. And he talks about Jesus frequently because we do too, when referring to Christmas and everything else too, and not just on sacred holidays.
And, maybe at times I have too much clutter laying around, but I prefer a house that has evidence of life and imagination any day over a sedentary lifestyle ruled by screens and devices. There’s no joy in that. Some may ‘save money’ because they don’t buy toys anymore, but it’s a possibility that just as much money is wrapped up in other things, whether its activities every night of the week, weekend trips, etc. So saving money and a neat and orderly house is great..but what are they losing in the process? It’s all in perspective.
Just the other day I witnessed a line of children waiting to see a Santa who was giving out toys to every kid in line. Nice toys. But I didn’t really notice any excitement, no anticipation from the kids standing in the line. And you can’t force excitement. It’s like we’re trying to preserve a thing that’s in the past. I think if I’d witnessed this just 10 years ago, there would’ve been a glow coming from that line of children and an excitement and giddiness of getting a gift from the guy who loves to give gifts to children. But we can’t recreate that magic anymore~childhood is being snatched away and kids aren’t really interested in being kids anymore.😥
So this year I’m not going to be quick to judge anyone’s Christmas/Holiday traditions. I’m going to be thankful that I can INCLUDE Jesus in on our plans and not have to separate the secular and the spiritual and make sure I have an equal number of both.
Of course there’s balance to everything.
We love to give back as a family during the holidays as well. So absolutely participate in ways you can do this. Pack shoeboxes, go Christmas caroling, volunteer in a soup kitchen and/or homeless shelter, select an angel off of the tree, go to a Christmas play to support your community.💕
But include Him in your everything, don’t keep him in a box. Separation doesn’t exist anymore. He tore the veil so we could have direct access to Him. We no longer need to go to a sacred place or relay messages through sacred people in order to communicate with God anymore.♥️
Every night before bed, the kids would take turns opening up a Christmas book to read. On Christmas Eve I was short one book, so I grabbed one quickly at Walmart. I shouldn’t have even BEEN at Walmart on Christmas Eve for any reason, but I tend to be last minute. 😖 The book I chose and read that night “coincidentally” went right along with what I’ve been wanting to share, the topic of what you’ve been reading. ❤️
I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but coincidence has a name…Jesus. He cares about the details in your life, even if you think they’re insignificant. If it’s important to you, it’s important to Him.❤️ So He joined me in my last minute, rushed attempt to make everything special for my kids. It was a great reminder that even though I should be a better planner, He’s still right there with me~even in the areas of my life that need work.💚
And remember~you can celebrate every aspect of the Christmas story on the days before and after Christmas too. Jesus was and is God’s rescue plan for the whole world.
And that was God’s greatest gift to us. To KNOW him. And what better way to know him than to send Himself as a baby to experience and do life with us.💚
Here’s what I read to my kids Christmas Eve from the book..
“God is here with us, with me and with you,
A gift sent straight from above-
Eyes full of peace, hands full of grace,
A heart full of perfect love.
He’s Baby Jesus, no crib for a bed,
In a manger just after His birth.
He’s the gentle Moooing of wide-eyed cows❤️
With Him in the stable that night.
He’s the glory of a thousand angels
Giving us heaven’s own light.
He is the wisdom of all the Magi,
Traveling there from afar.
He is the light, always leading the way,
Our wondrous bright-shining star.
He’s in the warmth of a crackling fire
And the sparkle of fresh-fallen snow.
He’s the evergreen of a fresh pine wreath
And the twinkle of lights aglow.
He is the sweet smell of cookies,
Iced with bright green and red.❤️
He is the sound of a daddy reading
The story of Christmas in bed.❤️
He is the love that families still feel
As we celebrate the time
When Jesus came down to be GOD HERE WITH US,
Saying, “I am yours, and child, you are mine.”
“A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel, which means “God is with us.“
Matthew 1:13 CEV
Emmanuel. God WITH us.❤️
He’s everywhere, and IN everything. Nothing is separate from Him. Include Him in your holidays and the days before and after.
Merry Christmas ❤️🎁💚🎄