The title just popped into my head because we truly are having a wonderful time this year. After many years of working towards limiting activities to a level where we can actually enjoy the Christmas season, I think I’m getting pretty close this year. Unfortunately, a stream of sicknesses in our family has given me a hand there. The good news is none of the sicknesses have been very bad. It’s just that someone in our family has been sick nearly everyday since Thanksgiving week with a bug just bad enough for me to say “No, we need to stay home.” And strangely enough it has actually been nice. We have managed to include some of our traditional activities such as the Christmas parade, our nightly advent devotionals, driving around looking at Christmas lights, and our annual hunt for the “perfect” tree. (By the way, searching for a Christmas tree sounds like a great family activity, but my family managed to turn it into a crying-fest because everyone had their own idea on which tree was the perfect one for us. So much for trying to democratically find Christmas tree.) We also went to two new events that were extremely meaningful and fun. One was a Bethlehem village which was a free event put on by a local church where the children were given “shekels” to spend in the marketplace where they got to buy/make a flute, a necklace with a small bottle of frankincense, myrrh, and anise attached, a mosiac box, a rope, grind grain, make bread, and also visit a Jewish home. There were Roman soldiers warning people not to cause any trouble and to watch out for thieves, beggars, and tax collectors going around demanding taxes. The trip through town culminated with the shepherds telling us of learning about the birth of Jesus and a visit to meet Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus (which is when the 4-year-old decided to throw himself on the ground screaming). We also attended a Christmas concert/musical which I will write more about tomorrow.
First, I want to share something I read that really stuck me in a new light. I have been receiving a weekly Advent devotional from Wineskins. Week 1 was about preparing yourself for the celebration of the arrival of our King. One of the scriptures to meditate on was Romans 13:11-14. Here it is in The Message:
But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about.
I think that this is extremely appropriate for the Advent season. This past Sunday our minister spoke about how too often during the holidays our “quiet time” is shoved out of our busy lives. He urged us to take the time to meditate on God’s Word and the coming of His Son even if we have to get up extra early during this extremely busy and exhausting season to do it. He suggested that our holiday would be even more special and meaningful if we took the time to spend with God instead of letting him get pushed aside. I believe this to be true, so I am working on doing just that. I have to confess that I’m not so great about the getting up extra early part, but God has so graciously awakened me early several mornings. And we have spent some amazing time together!
I hope you and yours are simply having a wonderful Christmastime as well.