It’s the word that best describes the way I feel during the Christmas season. I’m the girl who never plans her personal life yet has a Christmas checklist prepared and ready come June and a Christmas countdown app on my computer all-year-round. I watch the snow fall like glitter from the sky while the flavors of cocoa and peppermint fill my senses. Wrapped in a cozy blanket, I see my two and four-year old dance to Christmas carols and belt out the words “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way” as their eyes sparkle with anticipation noticing all the presents underneath the tree.
“E-V-E-L-Y-N! That gift’s for me, mama!”
“You are right, sweet girl! But what’s the best gift of all this season?”
How right she is.
As a child, my parents did a great job including the story of Jesus’ birth during the Christmas season. But as I grew, somewhere along the way, the meaning of Christmas got lost. Sure, I remembered the story of baby Jesus but not in a deep enough way for it to shake and rattle me as it should. Jesus’ birth was a nice “feel-good” story I could recite by heart, but I didn’t let it into my heart.
But this year has been different.
This year my children are old enough to understand, and my hope for them to truly know Jesus far outweighs my involvement in any Christmas planning. The magic has shifted from Christmas lights and candy canes to sharing with my children the one gift that will change their lives forever.
My children believe in God the best way they know how, but they are still growing and will one day need to develop a faith of their own. In the meantime, here is what I want them to know:
The magic of Christmas is found when we understand that God chose to put skin on and come to earth to meet us right where we are.
Through the coming of Jesus, we were delivered a story that includes more than just a happy ending. It included…
Scandal — the virgin birth led many to believe Mary was unfaithful to Joseph.
Brokenness — trust between Mary and Joseph was severed when she first told him she was expecting a child and he knew it wasn’t his.
Fear — traveling at nine months pregnant a hundred plus miles to Bethlehem, no room for them in the inn, carrying the Savior of the world without knowing what was to come etc.
Misunderstanding — the world would reject Jesus and many would never accept who He was.
Sure, we see the nativity this time of year and it looks calm and “picture perfect.” But knowing all that surrounded the birth of Jesus and all that came after is sure to change our perspective.
Romans 3:23-24 says: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
We all are in so much need of a Savior.
Though not the way many people thought the Messiah would enter the world, the humbleness found in an innocent baby’s arrival rather than the grand entrance of an imperial King is just one way that this story is magical. But the biggest reason of all is the grace and hope God offered to us — asking nothing from us but acceptance.
The first coming of Jesus gave us the magical parts that make us feel all giddy inside with joy and anticipation, but Jesus’ second coming, when He frees us from this broken world, is when we will truly be able to dwell in and enjoy the gift of grace the way it was intended.
In John 14:3 Jesus says, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
God wants us with Him! As a mother, I could never send my child into such a big mess of people who choose sin over a perfect plan. But God, out of His unchanging love, sent a Redeemer because He wanted to give us a second chance in heaven — a place without pain and sorrow.
I don’t know what kind of trials my children will face in their future. If it were up to me, they would never feel pain or disappointment. But instead of protecting them from despair, I pray they will find Jesus and let His story and gift sink deep into their hearts, so that, together, we will experience eternal life.
Until then, let’s enjoy this special season with family and friends creating traditions, eating all the sugary goodies, showing extra love, and reflecting on the previous year’s highs and lows. But make sure this Christmas to remember the magic that begins around the manger holding an innocent babe with parents who are scared to death but hopeful that their Son will one day save the world.
Because He will!
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