Friday, December 24, 2010

Countdown to Christmas: 1 Day!!!

Happy Christmas Eve! The cookies are baked, the presents are (mostly) wrapped, the special breakfast is planned for tomorrow . . . and the kids' excitement is growing! I love, love, love this time of year. The wonder and the joy, the deeper meaning of the big day that goes far beyond the lights and the presents.

This year we have been focusing even more on the true meaning of Christmas. I don't want this to ever get lost for us, and I especially want our kids to grow up understanding that Jesus is the reason we even have a Christmas. We have been using Ann Voskamp's free downloadable Jesse Tree Advent Devotional, which I linked to earlier this month. It is excellent. Some of it definitely goes over the kids' heads (and sometimes the lack of commas in her writing style drives me nuts, but that might be because I'm such a grammar geek :)), and we ended up skipping some of the days, because there are nights when we get home late and just need to get them to bed without doing our regular Bible time. But anyway, I have really enjoyed using this resource. This little part from the reading about Mary (Dec. 22) really stood out to me:

God can do anything and He can come curl small in the womb of a young girl and the hands that slung all the stars across space, He can swell all the space of Mary who says yes, let me serve you, Lord.

Nothing is impossible for God who is with us and God who is in us and God who is works through us and may all things happen just as God says.

Grace could fill all our empty spaces today.

We hung our last ornament on the Jesse tree last night. The devotional book actually goes up through Christmas day, but I used my homemade ornaments from last year and I didn't have as many as there were devotionals, so next year I plan to make some more to fill out the set. I have a special book set aside to read tonight for our Bible time, this one:

I actually found this at a local bookstore when my mother-in-law and I were shopping together. It was on sale for $4.99! It's a beautiful book, telling the Christmas story straight from Luke 2, and has Christmas carols interspersed throughout the story. I think this will make a beautiful Christmas Eve tradition to start!

Yesterday I was listening to Christmas music while doing chores, and tears came to my eyes at the words, "Hark now hear the angels sing, a new King born today! And man will live forevermore, because of Christmas day." So wonderful, so unfathomable . . . that He would do this for us. For me. I hope each of you is beautifully and powerfully reminded of His love and grace for you, this Christmas!

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