It’s hard to believe that Christmas Eve is already here.
December 1st feels like just yesterday but tomorrow is already the day we’ve all been anticipating. December 25th.
Mike and I have followed along with the She Reads Truth/He Reads Truth advent study this year. I have never done an advent study from start to finish (although I’ve had good intentions in the past) but this year seemed different.
This year. Our last Christmas before we become parents. Before we start this new adventure that seems terrifying and perfect all at once.
It has brought about a lot of reflection. A lot of conversations. A lot of growth.
Something we’ve talked about consistently is the Joy of this holiday. Mike put it perfectly in his parent newsletter at the church a few weeks back.
“The Christmas party got me thinking about the Christmas traditions I had growing up. As I was thinking, I couldn’t help but be struck by the difference between my family and the family that I married into. Christmastime at the Jaderston household has a different feel than Kelsey’s household.
Growing up, my parents only really had one tradition – reading the Christmas story on Christmas Eve. Sure, we had a tree (most years), maybe a couple of decorations, some delicious food on Christmas, but that was about it. It was relaxed and simple.
For my wife’s side of the family, however, Christmastime is a sight to behold. My father-in-law may just be Clark Griswold. From the beautiful decorations, to the three Christmas trees in the house, to the vast array of traditions (including sugar cookies, old home videos, Elf on the Shelf, leaving food for Santa, Advent candles, going to watch Christmas light shows, “Ornament of the Night,” and waking up early on Christmas day) it is an eye opening, wonderful, experience.
Though the differences between the two houses may be stark, I have discovered that there is a common thread that runs between them. In the Christmas season, both homes are marked by a distinct characteristic – joy.
We can remember that in proclaiming the news to the shepherds, the angel said in Luke 2:10, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” This good news, of course, is that God has sent his son Jesus to the world. And through his death and resurrection, we can experience forgiveness from our sin and acceptance into God’s family. Although the joys of Christmas are many, this news should be our true source of joy this holiday season.
Whether your holidays are a time of simplicity or a time of tradition, my prayer is that Christmas would be marked by an unshakeable joy. That in the craziness of buying gifts, parties, and going to the grandparents, smiles would be the norm and laughter would be bountiful. I pray that your attitude would not depend on worldly things but on the hope of a Savior born in a manger.”
This doesn’t always come easily to me. I can get wrapped up in the stress of gift giving or having the perfect decorations. The worldly part of me wants to have control over the financial stuff and I want to have a perfectly decorated home. But that power struggle steals my joy. Because the reality is, it’s not me who’s in control. I’m learning. And I’m so thankful for a husband that can walk alongside me and gently correct me when I get too caught up in worldly things, like the perfect tree.
Because our crooked tree with our s’mornaments is perfect. And it brings me joy.
I hope you can find joy in the last few moments of this sweet season.
Jesus is Immanuel.
Jesus is Messiah.
Jesus is King.
There is no greater joy.