Advent is a time of anticipation, preparation, and expectation. What are some things that you look forward to each year as you prepare for Christmas, and what are some things you would suggest that we all do in anticipation of Christ’s coming again?
Christmas has always been my favorite time of year from childhood on. My family has always instilled this love of Christmas in me. My grandfather had a love for Christmas, and he started a tradition that our family would get together on Christmas Eve every year. We still do that tradition. This is a time of presents, warm hugs, food, and, of course, being together. I might be biased, but my family gives the best hugs! My aunt on my father’s side loves Christmas and decorations. I have a great love for everything Christmas. From childhood on, I would decorate the tree, house, and anything that I could. I remember being so excited to take $20 and go through the dollar store and buy my relatives Christmas gifts. There would be great excitement on my face watching them open their gifts. Giving was something that was always instilled inside of me.
There is something about the preparation and the anticipationn of Christmas. As soon as Thanksgiving had passed, it would be all about Christmas. Excitement would fill my whole body as I was eagerly waiting for the season. I regularly would decorate inside and outside, play Christmas music, and open the Advent calendars my aunt would get us every year. I can remember as a child opening up each door and closely monitoring how long until it was Christmas day. While I was very excited about presents myself, I was more excited about seeing my friends and family open their gifts. I always found such enjoyment with this.
Here and now, having a family to celebrate the season with, takes on a whole new meaning. There are certain traditions like: decorating early, watching Elf, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” The Polar Express, and blasting Christmas music. These are all new traditions my family has started as well as continuing some of the ones while I was a kid like Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. It is a month-long celebration and anticipation of Christmas day!
We all know that 2020 has been a rough year and I really believe we all need the spirit of Christmas. It is an entire season of peace, hope, love, and joy that the season brings. I recently saw a Hobby Lobby Christmas commercial where at the end it says, “Christmas is what you make it.” That really struck a chord with me. This country needs Christmas. I know it is kind of silly to think about ‘magic and wonder’ of the season. But, to see the wonder and anticipation in children eyes, to see the spirit of giving at its best is so refreshing for the heart and soul. We need the promise of Christmas and that is the promise of Jesus.
It is easy to forget the true meaning of Christmas and what the season is about with all of the hustle and bustle of the season. As a whole we tend to get lost in the present buying and gift giving, along with prepping for food and guests. While the 2020 holiday season may look a bit different because of COVID, we haven’t lost the true meaning of Christmas. The true promise of Jesus isn’t lost. Some of the big ways that helped me to put things into perspective are lighting the Advent candles and my father reading each Sunday from the Bible. Little did he know that this would have a profound impact on his two sons. The Advent candles and Bible reading are traditions I am passing down to my son and daughter.
I challenge you this holiday season to take a look at the true meaning of Christmas and remember that God sent His Son, Jesus, in the flesh to die for our sins. Take a read through Matthew chapter 2 on your own time. The wise men had full anticipation that Jesus was finally here on earth and they prepped for this moment. They got together expensive items of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:11 “They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (NIV)
The wise men prepped for this moment and with hope and great anticipation, they followed the great star to Bethlehem. The wise men worshiped Jesus for who He was and honored Him. They gave valuable gifts as He is worthy of the best gifts they had to give. Jesus is worthy of the best gifts that we have to give. He just wants you as the gift. Come to Him and accept Him.
There is nothing wrong with the anticipation and the hustle and bustle of the season. There is nothing wrong with traditions, good food, family time, etc. It is important to have all of these things as I cherish the holiday season for these moments. Just remember the real reason for the meaning of the season. Don’t get lost or stressed out trying to make others happy if it means you are losing sight of the true meaning. Remember that above all of these things, the ultimate gift you can give to Jesus and to yourself is to turn your life over to Him. That is a true Christmas miracle!
What were some of your your family’s favorite Christmas traditions when you were growing up?
What are some things you do during the Advent Season to keep the “Real Meaning of Christmas” forefront in your mind?
What else sticks out to you from Matthew 2?
This is meant to be an interactive blog so please share some of your responses with us.