Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The First Christmas

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him." ... After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Matthew 2

Over and over during this holiday season you hear people talk about the real reason for Christmas. I often wonder if they are simply saying that because they are SUPPOSE to or if they truly focus on the reason for the season. The Magi in this story give us the details of what the first Christmas celebration looked liked. Their whole reasoning for following the star and finding the child was to worship Him. Out of all the years past i do not know that i ever worshipped Him on Christmas day. Yeah, we may pray "God, we know the real reason for Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Your son - so we thank you for sending Him as our Savior", but do we ever truly mean it with all of our hearts to the point that it is worship to Him.

I'm always impressed with parents that find creative ways to teach their children about Christ. I love how they can relate everything to Him and His word. I've saved many emails that i've recieved with the hopes of sharing some of those memories and activities with my children. I guess i really want them to know the REALness of Christ and to know that it is possible to have a deep intimate relationship with Him. I want to do everything possible to show them the love of Christ (yet not beat them down with it). I want to find ways to get on their level.

What are some things you could do to teach your kids the true meaning of Christmas?

I'm a visual person so for me i believe i would need a hands on activity. I asked the kids i babysit if they thought this idea was nerdy. Kids can be pretty honest, and if they aren't honest with their words you can usually tell by their facial expressions or body language.

What if on Christmas day you bake a cake with your children and decorate it for Jesus' birthday? You could even sing Happy Birthday to Him. What if you also brought gifts to Him? These could be anything from actual toys, to fears, to needs/wants, or anything like that. You could literally wrap it and GIVE it to Christ.

You could give up the one thing that you really enjoy, or even love, to show that nothing will come before Him. (you could even take it farther and give that gift to a child/person who doesn't have as much as you) You could finally lay a worry at His feet and worship Him with your faith and trust in Him. You could have a list of needs/wants that you totally place in His hands. There are so many ideas.

As a family you could come together and do this - you could open your gifts and share them with each other outloud... explain your reasoning or why you chose what you have. Or you could choose to do something else with your gifts. I just think there has to be some kind of way to make this a meaningful experience. (i don't know - maybe i'm crazy)

When i asked the kids if this was nerdy they said, "umm no, why would that be nerdy? Because He isn't really there to eat the cake? He still knows you made it." "That would be fun!" That was enough to answer my question. I wish we could keep the mindset of a child - they don't need proof or big powerful things... they just believe... and that is worship to Him!

As i was laying in bed last night i started to envision myself with my children... leaning over the kitchen counter putting icing on the cake... "Happy Birthday Jesus".... tears began to form in my eyes. In that moment i was worshipping Him - probably more than i do in a formal event when i'm trying my hardest focus on Him and nothing else around me.

It's never the words, the routine, or even our actions.... it's our hearts. You don't have to be at the church house to have worship. You don't have to sing or preach to have worship. If we are truly trying to know Him and love Him with everything that we do, then it is honoring Him... and that is worship! Even something as simple (and even silly) as having a birthday party for Jesus!

We have come to worship Him! May that be true for us also, Lord! All we want for christmas is You! We love You!

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