Palm trees, 80 degree weather, and friends from other countries have become the norm for us for the last 7 Christmas seasons.
And no matter where we live and celebrate I am reminded what Christmas is not. It is not about where we perform our Christmas Story, instead it is to who and why we tell it so others can share in this so very special gift.
Christmas is not about how many cookies we make and how beautiful they look, but the love put into them and the love giving them. Thank you, Lord, for the fun we had in making them even though we burned the first batch! And thank you for frosting making everything taste better.
Christmas is not focusing on what is gone, but cherishing what we were given. So thankful for this sweet momma who gave her son for my sister and brother-in-law to raise for her. And so thankful that she cherishes that sweet boy still. Amidst her pain of not having him daily, she gave up her son to see him loved and provided for each day.
Christmas is not about the gifts, but the generosity and hearts of those who want to change the world. The excitement on these kids faces as they saw a Bible of their own and their own flashlight was a blessing to give since so many handmade these special boxes.
Christmas is not how many people attend and come. It is Christ's story and He works it out.
Christmas is not what is inside the wrapped gift, but the fellowship we had putting together needed items for families surrounding us. While we debated what others would like best in the food bags, God knew what was needed.
Christmas is not about the making of trees or putting them up, but the joy of learning and making special things for others together. One of our sweet preschoolers is a Jehovah's Witness and this year her family let her spend Christmas with us. How special to tell her what Christmas is and why we celebrate.
Christmas is not about the perfect dress or outfit for the day. Sometimes our best outfit can clothe the most beautiful creation!
Christmas is not the beauty of the costumes, sets, and homes. But the love poured into them and the sacrifice. Our students and staff sacrificed so much time to make "A Night in Bethlehem" real to others. With humility in humble settings.
Christmas is giving. We learn here often that a hug, time spent with someone, and the gift of hope is better than the best gift we can search for online, even though my brain wants to tell me Amazon shipping makes it easier.
While selfishness and busyness creeps in, and Santas and Elves overload us. We open our Bibles and keep seeing...Immanuel, God is With us. He sees all the need and the hurt.
And so we
Love the Lord.
Our neighbor came to church with us to hear of this great love we don't often show and that we still miss out on sometimes. But, even as imperfect as we are God's story is still being told!
Thank you, Jesus, for more times to share your truth. May we do this everyday.