December 4, 2014

Interacting with Christmas: Holly-Jolly and Holy Joy

Since on Tuesdays through December I will be sharing about holiday traditions our family enjoys, I thought I would reserve Thursdays for more serious reflection on Christmas.  Don't get me wrong, I am serious about traditions!  But making this season one of special focus is much more than a basket of picture books, cutting paper snowflakes, or even showing up for the Christmas Eve service.  So on Thursdays, let's interact with Christmas!

In this interactive experience you will be granted access to the inner-workings of my brain as I try to process through the holly-jolly and get to real joy.  You know, I really love the holly-jolly - Christmas lights, Salvation Army bells ringing, the background music of carols, shopping for gifts - but maintaining the 'merry and bright' attitude of my own volition for an entire month is pretty much impossible.  Can I get an amen?


Part of my problem this week is that I don't want to have to do any obligatory work.  I came off of a week of Thanksgiving vacation wishing we could go straight into our two week Christmas break!  But that is not real life.  And if Christmas is going to make a difference it has to intersect with real life, not be a happy blip of celebration in an otherwise dull existence.

Joy of joys, and Hope of hopes, Christmas does intersect with real life and can enliven not only our celebration in December, but each day of the year.

One of our pastors was teaching Sunday school this past Sunday morning and was asking us to apply the "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace" passage to our lives, so we can give testimony to who Christ is and what He does when we interact with people this Christmas.  Cool idea, huh?  If knowing Christ is not changing our lives, how can we tell others about how He can transform theirs?
Please join me this week in asking yourself, How have I known the Lord as my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace?

A second part of my struggle this week is feeling very defeated by my sin.  I am proud.  That leads to either judging others or envying them, and feeling very insecure.  I am impatient.  That leads to quick anger with my children, husband, and others.  I am un-self-conrolled.  That leads to over-eating and laziness.

I am a sinner.  That needs to be led to a Savior.

Thank God it is Christmastime!

She will give birth to a son,
and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.

That is what the angel of the Lord told Joseph in a dream, recorded in Matthew 1.  This is my very most favorite Christmas-story verse.

Christmas is so much more than holly-jolly.  It is holy joy!  Jesus came to save His people from their sins!!
Please join me this week in meditating on this truth when your sin threatens to undo you and satan is accusing you with all he's got.

In the midst of every-day life, with its less-than-thrilling routines and frequent uncertainties, our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace is present and unchanging.  In the face of our sin, Christmas reminds us that we are redeemed because love came down and went from the manger to the cross, then rose to life and will come again.

Please join me in clinging tightly to hope this Christmas.
May our hearts be filled with holy joy!

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