Making Room {Are you celebrating the reason or the season?}

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by Heather Spring {Gilion}

Our Christmas construction paper chain is getting SHORTER! My boys (ages: 6 and 4) love to take turns tearing off a chain link as they jump and dance about:

“Only 17 more days!”

“16 more days!”

“15 MORE DAYS until CHRISTMAS!”

The sad thing is, up until now, every morning as they tear off the paper ring, I feel anxiety rush over me. As they are celebrating, my eyes glaze over as I’m internally groaning: “Oh NO! ONLY 15 more days! AHHHH… I have so much to do!”

Until I made room.

Sweet Mary, moments away from giving birth, was told, “There’s no room for you here.”

This became one of the themes of Jesus’ life: “There’s no room for you.” He pressed against culture, religion, purpose, and what others considered truth, as many encounters left Jesus feeling the breeze of the door slam in His face, “There’s no room for you.” And finally, as He died on the cross, wasn’t that the world’s final way of saying, “There’s no room for You here?”

I know God had a plan in all of it. He knew Jesus would be treated in this manner and still sent Christ into a world that could not hold Him. A world that could not understand Him. Among a people that struggled with His very existence. He was “other”—the Word became flesh. Finally mankind got to see – the words that were penned long ago foretelling of His birth, became reality as skin covered bones and came wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. God became man—one you could touch, hear, and see. His name was Jesus! He was sent at the perfect time to share the perfect story as He walked, talked, laughed, cried, loved, saved, and redeemed.

As I still my anxious heart this season, putting away my to-do lists, I can hear this steady knock.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. {Revelation 3:20}

“There is room for you here, my Lord,” I reply.

Christmas is derived from two words: Christ’s Mass. Mass means to gather and “feast” on Christ, much like a church (followers of Jesus) join together to remember Jesus’ life and death through the Lord’s Supper. What a picture of what Christmas means for the world, an invitation to feast on Christ. If we’re not feasting on Christ then we are feasting on something else. So far, this season, if I’m honest, I’ve been shoveling in mouthfuls of second bests. It’s just not cutting it, and I’m thankful. {I’m publicly repenting, here. Thanks for listening.}

~SO HERE’S HOW I’M MAKING ROOM~

In the heart department:
{1} I’m spending time meditating on my great need for Him. I can’t celebrate my “Savior” if I don’t daily come to grips that I need one. I need Him! And His birth is and was a BIG deal. I can say, as of today, with great delight I’m watching our paper chain grow shorter as I remember “the reason for the season”—God’s plan of sending Emmanuel “God with us” to become our deliverance!

{2} Even in this busy season, I’m waging war on my sin. I’m letting God reveal the areas in my life that are not pleasing to him and I’m putting sin to death. I wish this time of year just naturally made me more thankful, but I confess I’m quicker to covet, to compare, to hold things tighter… want.want.want.spend.spend.spend! Giving myself the “excuse” to follow the world’s “Christmas standards” is not acceptable or pleasing to Him, and ultimately not satisfying for me. There’s no such thing as a sin-cation, so as I make room and invite Him in, He reveals the sin in my heart. I must continue to confess and realign my heart with His.

In the decorating department:
Up until now, I’ve focused on making my house “pretty.” My tree stands loud and proud, along with twinkling lights in many rooms, and stockings hung by the fireplace with care; but I’ve missed making it all about Jesus and His birth. A couple days ago, as I took in my decorations, nothing really pointed to Jesus. I’m making room. I’m adding some things to turn my gaze upward. I long to put the focus on my Beloved, making some alteration that speak to my King’s birthday! {Sidenote: It’s not about a list of decorating do’s and don’ts—it’s a heart issue.} For me personally, I knew I hadn’t made Jesus the center.

In the children department:
Little eyes are watching. “What is mom saying {by her actions} is the ultimate meaning of Christmas?” I have great responsibility, as I stand alongside my hubby, to lead our family. Do I talk more about the presents they may or may not get on Christmas morning more than I speak of this baby that came and changed the world? In our home, no doubt, we talk about Jesus, [when Noah used to list our family members, he’d say: Mommy, Daddy, Woah {that’s how he said his name}, Zach, and Jesus!] but am I doing everything I can to “train up my children”—establishing the right traditions that frame my children’s understanding of Christmas for years to come.

I want them to understand
• why we relish this time of year (the promise that was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth!),
• why we decorate (It’s a birthday celebration),
• why we give extravagant gifts (following in step with the 3 wise men as they came bearing gifts as they celebrated God’s most extravagant gift—JESUS).

I’m making room this season, and sharing the spoils with my children as I strive to teach and train my boys that Christmas is not just about nostalgic songs, traditions, ornaments, sugar cookies, and PRESENTS! {Even though I enjoy each and every one of these things.}

In the list department:
I’m not suggesting throwing out the list. But there are times in my day, everyday, that I’m throwing out my list. I enjoy a good productive day, like the next guy, but the list does not need to rule my day nor should it be accomplished through the wrong motive. I’m giving Him my list, letting Him check it twice (heehee)! Yes, I have lots to do. You do too. But as we do and buy and make and bake and set and wrap, may it all be from an outpouring of love for our King that deserves our everything as He equips us to love others.

So celebrate your little head off! He’s worth it! Make some of that creepy Figgy Pudding that makes your guests turn into ungrateful children, ordering you to make it or they won’t leave your house and then on top of that you have to practically feed it to them. The nerve! But when we’re “making room” we can even love those people. 😉

I love Christmas time, but when we start celebrating ritual, nostalgia, and presents we’re not engaging in Christmas {Christ’s Mass}, we push the birthday boy out of the party and say, “Sorry, it’s not really about You.” I don’t want to miss filling myself with Him this season. He always makes good on His promises. So come feast!

Feel free to share some things that you do or your family does to “make room.” I’d love to hear! I may share some of the new things we end up doing… we shall see.

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5 thoughts on “Making Room {Are you celebrating the reason or the season?}

  1. What an incredible heart felt post. your children are blessed to have a Mom that will take the time to sit at the Lord’s feet and be instructed. To look at the ‘stuff’ and make the decision to honor the Guest who is in our very presence. He will bless you and yours this season because your focus is on Him. Well said, well done. I shared our traditions in my post Happy Birthday Jesus… (http://dearanonymousfriend.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/happy-birthday-jesus/) Thanks for this, DAF

    • As always, Heather, you open my heart… and joy “falls” in. Overwhelmed with your writings and loving you even more than I did before I read. Thank you… God be with you…

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