Christmas Blessings To You All

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

I hope this post finds you having a joyful, peaceful, and abundant day with loved ones. May you be so absorbed in the true meaning behind Christmas, that the gifts you receive are merely a reminder of how blessed you are, rather than the determinate of a memorable holiday.

I have to be honest with you. Today, for some reason, does not really seem like Christmas. Even though I am back home at my parents house, have attended multiple Christmas Eve services {Lutheran Church of Hope & Two Rivers which were both excellent}, am surrounded by my family, and have eaten way too much food, it just doesn’t really seem like a typical Christmas day. Not to mention the beautiful white snow we still have on the ground from last week’s dumping.

After we enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared by the men of the family, we gathered around our living room and my dad read us an excerpt from one of his 10,000 books and then prompted us with this question: “What does Christmas mean or look like to each one of you?” Pastor Don likes to enter into “care & share” time around special occasions. Although at times we mocked this during birthdays and such, I am so thankful to have a family where we feel safe and comfortable enough to share our hearts with one another.

My dad also followed up his question by saying “Besides the birth of our Savior which is the prominent reason we celebrate Christmas, what else comes to mind?” So as we all began to think up our answer, I proclaimed “family.” Exactly what we were doing at that moment, is what comes to my mind when I think about December 25th. I think about our traditions and the fond memories filled with laughter & great joy. I also think about the Christmas when my dad had just gotten home from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. That is one of the fondest of them all, because he was there with us and the Lord had brought my dad back home to us.

One of my sisters responded next with “abundance.” She was discussing how much we have, and how little other people have. She went further to talk about broken families, absent parents, and other tragic situations in which Christmas means depression, anxiety, and emptiness.

My brother talked about showing love to all people, not just our family. He was referring specifically to our neighbors, who my parents have recently become friends with. The father is a non-practicing Catholic man and his wife is Jewish. They have felt led to spend time with this family, serve them, and last night they decided to invite them over to our home on Christmas Eve and share a meal with us. My dad prayed over our food, as we always do, and we were not shy to speak of God’s sovereignty and blessings in our life. The Holy Spirit was so present in our home and we all had such a wonderful time in fellowship.

That is what Christmas is all about. It is not about the gifts we really don’t need. It isn’t about the food we enjoy for a brief moment. And it definitely is not about Santa Clause. Christmas is about showing God’s love through us and witnessing to those around us. Sure, it is enjoyable and easy to love our family members. But we are called to so much more than that.

This line out of my favorite Christmas hymn, Oh Holy Night says it better than I ever could.

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.

I still don’t exactly know why today doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. But what I have learned and what my life mission needs to be 365 days of the year, is to love others the way Christ so unconditionally loves me. I challenge you to first off, be grateful and thankful for the gifts your receive, but ultimately to extend love to someone outside of your comfort zone. Go, tell it on the mountain.

Enjoy this day and I hope we all will carry over the joy we experience today into everyday from here on out. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God {Hebrews 12:2}.

vintage-joy-to-the-world

Let your light shine. Much love to you all!

-Abby Dawn

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