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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas observance’

I don’t think I have anything new to say about this topic I haven’t already shared, but this is a special time of year for us now – whereas we used to dread it because our abstinence created so much conflict and stress.  You think the holiday season is stressful?  Try explaining to everyone again and again why you don’t celebrate it at all!  That gets exhausting because it always leads to more and more why questions, and none of those answers led to Jesus, but to me.  One of the first questions people asked was, “Do you believe in Jesus?” and the answer was “Yes, but..” and in the ensuing explanation, Jesus got set aside.

This year has been incredibly difficult for us.  Looking back I can assess the experiences as speed bumps, but while going through it all, it felt more like racing toward a cliff.  I am looking forward to Christmas here at home with all my kids, and now a new grand baby too.  Just to be together and healthy fills my heart with so much gratitude for what He has brought us through.

Recently we have made a new group of friends who are not all Christians.  Tomorrow the kids are getting together to exchange crafts for a Christmas party.  I don’t have to make some excuse about why I can’t come.  I can go and pray for open doors to share Jesus… even though I am in great need of courage to share Him in a society that doesn’t need Him anymore.

There is another man who has this boldness for Christ and he has inspired me many times.  He lives where there is genuine risk of persecution, but he wants Christmas to be a time to draw people’s attention to Jesus, right in the city of His birth.  We can quibble over days and laws, but I would rather be filled with His Spirit to speak for Him whenever and wherever He leads.  Christmas, Ramadan, or Halloween.   What matters is that people see Him!

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Just another Christmas reflection.  I have at least five posts in my head, but no one wants to think about them right now.  Not even me.  It’s nice to take a break and just enjoy the peace.  This year I would say we finally hit Christmas full swing, in a way I didn’t really want to do when we first began to acknowledge it again; parties, gift exchanges, mad-dash shopping at the last minute .  I even found myself with the Classical Christmas Pandora station playing today as I lit the candles around the nativity decorations.  The $8.00 artificial tree is lit up with its yard-sale decoration finds, (okay – some are dollar-store new).

I also did something I had not done in a very long time.  I popped in on some people with some small symbols of our affection (truly, the thought has to count because my dollars don’t).  As the big day gets closer, so many people come to my mind that I love and am so thankful for.  People I don’t think to tell.  At other times it might be more awkward, but this time of year gives everyone permission to be a little mushy, even those of us who are mush-challenged, like me.  I think of people I won’t have time to contact, those I don’t know how to reach, and those I just plum forgot. 😦   My heart breaks for those who are alone but we’ve also enjoyed the privilege of sharing a little with those in need.  We ourselves have been in need these past few months – yet miraculously, we have managed to give more than ever before.

Today I was thinking how this “Spirit of Christmas” ….. this urge to give and love….is such a beautiful reflection of the heart of God.  And such a small speck in contrast to what He gave when He left the glory of heaven to born to a young woman with her reputation on the line, in a barn, to sleep in a feeding trough, wrapped in strips of cloth intended for newborn animals.  To lead such a humble life, a sacrificial life, and death.

I believe it’s good for us to empty ourselves a little for others, every day of the year.  But at Christmas it’s nearly irresistible.  I remember that being the hardest call to leave unanswered during our years of Christmas abstinence.  I still felt that urge strongly and would see little gifts I knew “so and so” would like, but then stop, remembering “we don’t do that anymore.”

It would be great if everyone could give like Christmas all year, but thankful that for a few days, it becomes a nearly universal practice.  Even those who take no thought of the Christian theme of this day, still reflect the Giver who made them.   I still hate the retail-driven frenzy that invades what could just be simple and beautiful.  But I have learned to block that out and keep my eyes on Him who gave all for me.

May your Christmas make you a blessing.

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