Mostly, all the presents have been purchased, chosen with utmost care for each individual recipient. They are just awaiting wrapping. Most of the shopping I did before Thanksgiving, as I usually do, to try to slow down the pressing momentum to Christmas. My challenge is not the gift buying or even the gift giving.

My challenge is the keeping of the right heart. What is this season really about? Who is this season really for? Jesus is the reason. I talk about it. I read about it. But how do I live it?

The season really begins with preparations for the Thanksgiving feast with recipes and grocery lists in hand, leading up to a day of stuffing turkeys and stuffing faces.

Then after bellies full and kitchen sinks piled high, the torrent of offers, deals and discounts, discounting the real reason we celebrate, arrives Black, snuffing out Thanksgiving before we barely had time for seconds. All for GAIN? Then the Christmas season hastens by, leaving bills, torn gift wrapping paper, and empty boxes behind. God forbid, empty hearts, if we are not careful.

I am weary with, “I wants…!” and “Can I haves…?”  Not just from them, but from me, too! The next best thing??? The greatest iPhone yet??? Maybe an iPad, too. “I want and wish I had…” Yet I am so blessed with more than I can find room for.

Christmas season is synonymous with gifts. Gift buying and giving and getting is not inappropriate. Yet, something does not feel right. I know there has to be more, more than just consuming. More that I need to see. More to model for my kids.

Most of the gifts we buy are going to our children, so this should make me happy, and of course it does. But I know there is something to give them that surpasses any material gift we have to offer. What memories could we imprint that we would want them to take into their lifetime of service to their Creator? What will have eternal worth? What could we do without?

For as long as I can remember, Christmas day has been about opening presents. Yet, Christmas is about the greatest gift given because God so loved the whole world, and yet, the whole world does not even know. Christ child taking on flesh and time, laying His majesty aside, so I could live blessed, sins forgiven, for eternity with Him.

Though He is God…

He did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up his divine privileges;
He took the humble position of a servant
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
He humbled Himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Philipians 2:6-8 NLT

And yet, on the eve of the celebration day of the birth of our Lord, the jest is about leaving cookies for Santa that we all know daddy really eats. The morning of Christmas is eagerly anticipated with the focus on “What is mine?” and “What did I get?”

Every year we read the Christmas story and pray before anyone opens a single gift. Is it enough? What sets us apart from the people who celebrate Christmas but do not even know Christ?

Perhaps I am being to hard on myself. All these things are good and sweet…

Or maybe, just maybe, He is calling me higher. Maybe He is gently nudging and whispering, and let me incline my ear to hear. Maybe He is calling us, my whole family, to a higher place in Him. His call, I will answer.

It is more blessed to give, than receive.

How do I teach that to teenagers, children and toddler, when I hardly practice as an adult? It cannot be taught. It must be lived.

“God help me.”

Because He gave, and keeps giving. Because He loved first and keeps loving.

We don’t need more stuff! We need more heart to feel what others feel. We need more selflessness lived out daily. We need more love and compassion supported by our works, not more words. We need more of God.

I pray for the Spirit of God dwell in our home so that the whole world will see Jesus. I dream of raising children that will be selfless servant leaders.  I have a vision for raising world changers and history makers. Yet, some days I look in the mirror, and I feel like this is foolishly impossible.

God, help me.”

My standard is His Holy Word. I cannot make it theirs. I can teach them Truth, but only God can convict them and reach their hearts to create a hunger after righteousness and belief that cannot be shaken. Only by God’s grace can they set their face like flint and not be moved by anything in this world that may try to detour them from fulfilling their purpose in Him. Only through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us, is God’s love poured out in our hearts. Fervently, I pray He does.

Lord teach me, teach us… Lead me, lead us… Have Your way in me this Christmas, have Your way in us… Help us answer Your call, higher… whatever it may take.

Lord, help me to count everything as loss, compared to the priceless privilege, the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth of knowing You, Jesus. May I progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, recognizing and understanding You more fully and clearly. May I, for Your sake, consider everything lost to be rubbish in order…

that I may GAIN… You.

Philippians 3:7-8

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  • Krista

    I needed to read this. Having pregnancy sickness for almost 8 weeks now, I have been miserable and sometimes depressed. Lately depressed that I don’t have the energy to do anyhting for Christmas. What about the tree? What about the gifts? Teacher gifts? I have felt worthless. But, GOD has placed a child inside of me, the desire of my heart one last time. I am blessed. He chode me to help Him grow this precious child. How can I be upset or depressed when He has given me that? ANd He has given me 3 other precious, amazing children who need to see the joy insid eof me becasue of Jesus in spite of circumstances or feelings. He is calling my family to a higher place this CHRISTmas as well. There are so many people we will spend Christmas with, our family, that don’t even know Him. That is what I should be sad about. Thank you for sharing your heart and I can’t wait to see what God does in both of our families! <3

    • Michele

      I know how challenging those first months can be. I spent the first 3 months of my pregnancy with my last, in bed. I homeschool, so this made it all the more difficult. But it is all so worth it, as God uses all these things to conform us into His image. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. I pray that God will have His way in all of us.

      Blessings and Merry Christmas,