How We Can End the War On Christmas Right Now

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I’m ready to put it to bed. This idea of a war on Christmas. It’s only a war if we let it be a war.

Now, satan, he loves to watch us get in a tizzy over this holiday. A holiday that, by the way, we created.

We created Christmas. We are fighting the world to keep the Christmas tree and the words Merry Christmas. Jesus wasn’t born under a Christmas tree. He never declared we greet each other with Merry Christmas. We are fighting to keep ideas and traditions that I can’t for the life of me imagine Christ desiring us to fight for.

We are falling right into the hands of satan’s plans.

Christ can’t be removed from Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of His birth. Jesus overcame the world on the cross. John 16:33.

It’s impossible for the world to remove Christ. The world will try, the world is trying, the world will continue to try. But have you read to the end of Revelation?

The war will end. He wins. He won on the cross, but there is coming a day the entire world will know who wins. So why are we fighting over a holiday that celebrates His birth?

Instead of fighting against the world to keep Him in Christmas, we need to fight a different battle. We need to fight for the world that is blinded by the enemy. That’s where the true battle is waged.

It doesn’t matter if someone says Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. What matters is that whatever they say, we show love. We don’t scowl, cross our arms, stomp our feet, and huff ‘Merry Christmas’ as we storm away.

We don’t demand to have Christmas our way. 

Pride demands to have its own way. Humility places love over the need to be right.

Jesus is the ultimate picture of humility. Lowered Himself to be born a baby to one day willingly hang on a cross. For us. So we could have eternity with Him.

He wasn’t born so that we could have Christmas adorned with trees, singing carols, decked out halls, and shouting Merry Christmas for the world to see.  He was born to die so we could have eternity with Him.

Oh, church.

Is there a more humble birth than to be born to a common family, wrapped in swaddling cloths, placed in a manger because there was no room in the inn? When you are the Son of God!

Is there a more humble death than to hang on a cross and cry out to God to forgive them for they know not what they do??

It’s overwhelming.

Our humble Savior.

If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, it begins with taking the humble position. It’s not standing up straight and arguing to the world around us that this is our holiday and how dare they take it from us.

We are called to LOVE the world.

God is love.

If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, we love the world in a radical way.

If a company removes Merry Christmas, it means nothing. Not one single thing. Jesus never said this world would honor and adore Him. Why are we surprised?

We are fighting the wrong battle.

When a secular company doesn’t recognize Christ at Christmas, why are we aghast?

Love them. Love them. Love them.

Love wins.

We better love this world in such a radical way that they will come to know the One who gave His life for them.

Jesus was unconventional. Let’s follow Jesus. He never did things in the ways we would expect.

There is an enemy blinding our world. We must be the light. We are here for such a time as this. We can’t fall into the trap the rest of the world is falling into. Not at Christmas. Not at anytime.

Let’s rise up together. Then together, let’s sink. To that lowly position. The one that doesn’t demand to be heard, to be recognized, to be seen.

Christ doesn’t need us demanding Christmas trees and Merry Christmas greetings to make Him known.

They will know Him by our love.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

Let’s do it different this year. Let’s CHOOSE to not be offended. Let’s CHOOSE to show love. Let’s CHOOSE to be the hands and feet of Christ to the world rather than demand a Merry Christmas from them.

Maybe we take it a radical step further?

When the world races and fights to complete shopping lists, we stroll among them, be with them, but we serve them, we love on them. Let’s put ourselves in the middle of the chaos and shine a light. Smile, hold the door open, pick up the last item only to place it in their hands, wave them into that last parking spot and choose to walk the distance along the way chatting with others not so lucky in the parking lot.

Love them to smothering pieces. I believe love grows. I believe the more you love, the more you love.

I believe that when we ask God to help us to love others, He delights to say yes to that. But do we dare? Are we afraid, perhaps?

People often say be careful what you pray for. Yes, God delights to make our hearts bent to Him. If we ask Him to help us love others, watch out.

We never know how our small acts impact eternity. There is an actual war. If we had eyes to see what is happening in the spiritual world, I can’t imagine we wouldn’t fight a different fight. I believe we’d stop fighting the silly battles and we’d fight unconventionally. With love.

Merry Christmas. Season’s Greetings. Happy Holidays. Whichever you choose, say it from the heart, smother it in love, deliver it for Christ.

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The Power of a Story and Help With Your Christmas Shopping

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I attended the Allume Conference a few weeks ago. I leisurely strolled the tables displaying businesses and products. None really grabbed my attention initially. It takes a lot to get me to stop if I think you want me to spend my money. So I’m very careful to move at an appropriate pace so as not to be caught.

When I reached the table for Ever Thine Home, I stopped. Willingly. Abruptly.

I love beautiful things, but I love beautiful things with meaning so much more. I don’t want a house full of beautiful things with no story. I want a home that tells a beautiful story.

The entire table of Ever Thine Home products was nothing but beautiful things that tell a story or help you share a story.

Stories. We are missing good stories today. We are too busy running after life and chasing what we will never catch. In the process, we are missing grasping the most beautiful gifts and moments wrapped in the package of a story.  Stories shared in relationships.

That is what captured my eye. A table full of beautiful home decor items that opened the door to the stories. That created a reason to unite in relationship.

I was drawn into this table and began talking with the lady at the table. She was so lovely – her name was Laura.

Her story captivated me. It’s her story I continue to hear the Lord whisper to me.

She told me how her mom was gifted artistically, but knew the Lord wanted her to lay down her talents for the season of raising her children. I believe they had 6 children. And it was AFTER her children were grown that the Lord led her to pick up the gifts and talents He’d given to her to create art to be used beyond her home.

I’ve thought of this many times over the weeks. What obedience. As moms it’s easy to feel that life is passing us by. When the Lord gifts us or places passions in us, it’s easy to believe He must want us to do something with them now. Right now.

I wonder sometimes if He allows us to see the gifts and talents He’s given us, yet He asks us to use those in our homes first. And to save the dreams for when He says Go. I wonder if we chase our bigger purposes and miss the greater purposes?

I’ve thought how much I admire Laura’s mom for her obedience. Obeying isn’t always easy. Especially when our gifts are itching to be used.

In the season of motherhood, those gifts are never wasted. They are used in the loveliest of ways right inside our homes. When they are given in our homes, they will reach outside the home. And then a season comes where the Lord might say, “Ok, now go.”

I likely scared poor Laura silly. I think when you set up a table, you are expecting to have to “sell” someone on your products. Tell them why they would love them. Laura didn’t have to sell me on a thing. I get it. So get it. And so want others to get it that my excitement can be a bit uncomfortable at times.

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So that is what happened when I discovered these Untie Your Story napkin ties. I started babbling about how much I’m in love with them before I’d even bought them.

 

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I bought every kind of Untie Your Story she had. Memories, Gratitude 1, and Gratitude 2.

And then I proceeded down the table. Ornaments. Oh goodness. One day my dream is to have Seeking Christmas ornaments produced and packaged and sold with the book. And part of the reason is that I never find beautiful Christmas ornaments that tell His story.

Until now. My friends, you are welcome.

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It’s hard for me to give a gift that simply has no meaning to it. These napkin ties, make the perfect gift to keep on hand. Teacher’s gift, a thank you gift, birthday gift. Obviously, Christmas gift.

We should really share stories more with each other. Remember my coffee post last week? Stories open doorways through which relationships enter.

Today, share a piece of you with someone. Tell a story. You never know how the Lord will use it in their life down the road.

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The One Christmas Preparation We Can’t Miss

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I avoid going out in the final days before Christmas. The hustle and bustle, the anxiety and stress, the talk of preparing for Christmas, and the conversations of “I’m not ready” or “I’m ready for it to be over” are a discouragement. Instead, I hide away at home with my boys in these final days. To rest. To be still.

While the world keeps itself busy in preparing for Christmas, I pray He prepares my heart. It’s the one Christmas preparation I pray to remember. If the gifts don’t get wrapped, if I forget a gift, if I fail to get everything on my grocery list, if I forget to send a few cards, Christmas will still go on. Christmas won’t be ruined. If I stress about the preparations, I will miss Christmas completely.

If I don’t create the most magical Christmas imaginable for my kids, it might be the greatest gift they unwrap this season. It might just make room for them to be dazzled by their Savior.

It’s not too late, my friends, to change the course of your Christmas season. If you are tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, be still. The only preparation He wants from us is to clear space in our hearts to receive Him this season. He doesn’t want us to work so hard to prepare to celebrate Him that we fail to experience Him. He doesn’t need our never-ending to-do lists.

If our kids don’t get everything they dreamed of, it’s ok. If our company doesn’t think we were the best hosts imaginable, it’s ok. If it doesn’t all get done, it’s ok. It’s deceiving to think it’s possible anyway.

In these final days, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our King, let’s do one thing. Slow down. Slow down so we don’t miss Him completely. Slow down so we have eyes to see Him right here, right now. Mary and Joseph didn’t speed their way into Bethlehem. They journeyed. Let’s journey in these final days.

Then let’s not stop. When we pack away our Christmas decorations, let’s not stop preparing our hearts to celebrate Him. Let’s not stop talking about Him. It’s not just one day. It’s every single day. He was born to die to offer us eternal life and to glorify His Father.

The Light has come. The light shines for the world to see the greatest gift that has ever come, the greatest gift that will ever come. Let that light shine for the world to see. Let that light illuminate your heart and your home in these final Christmas days. The light remains past Christmas. Keep shining. Be still and watch that light. Stand back and watch your children and grandchildren mesmerized by the Creator of true Christmas magic.

Let’s fix our eyes on the light. The Christmas light that shines all year long. The Christmas light that has come into our world. The Christmas light that never burns out, that never fades, that never short-circuits.

These last days can be hectic or slow. It’s our choice. When we slow we truly see the light illuminating the world around us.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas. We pray blessings over you and your families this season and beyond. Thank you for being a part of my life here in this blog space. I hold you close to my heart and truly treasure each of you. Thank you for the love you have shown to our family.

Much love,

Renee

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Longing for Christmas Rest

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As the final days of Christmas unwrap before me, I rest. Rest looks different than I realize most days. For me rest is more internal. It’s a turning over my plans, my ideas, my hopes, my failures, my fears, my everything to Him. I am resting in Him.

It’s been a tough fall for our family. We have encountered attacks from the enemy, we have journeyed down new roads, we have learned we need to bend and change more as our children grow. More than anything we are realizing that living in total submission to God is one of the most beautiful gifts we’ve unwrapped this season.

He has tilled my heart in the most glorious of ways. I’ve been speaking so much this fall that I’ve not been able to blog as much as I’d hoped. I have much to write, so much to share. I feel as though God has taken me through a bit of a spiritual growth spurt over the past few months.

That doesn’t mean I think I’m holier now. I don’t mean that I think I’ve become a “better” person. What I mean is that God has been speaking to me in ways I’ve never heard before. He has opened up parts of my heart that I’ve never known existed. He has allowed me to learn new things and view life in new ways. He has given me eyes to see His gifts in the middle of what looks frightening.

His Presence this season has overwhelmed me. To the point I have so much to say, I feel silenced.

I am taking a bit of a writing and speaking break through the New Year. All fall I’ve longed to just rest in Him. I’m learning. Resting in Him is a gift to be cherished. He longs to lavish us with His love. When I rest in Him, I am overcome by His great love and mercy over me.

Over the next couple of weeks, I won’t be posting regularly. I will resume the first week of January. However, I will be sharing some of the most popular posts over the coming days and weeks from this past year. I will share on Facebook and Twitter. I’d love you to join me there as well.

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When Your Christmas Season Doesn’t Go According To Plan

 

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I walk past the 4 foot tree in the upstairs hall and take note. A sprinkling of handmade ornaments hang on its branches. The rest of the ornaments remain in the box. A box of handprints. A box of painting gone wild. A box of love disguised as art projects.

It’s not the most beautiful of trees, but it is the most special. It’s the one that displays every ornament ever made by the hands of my boys. It’s the one with the colorful lights that remind me of childhood Christmas. It’s the one that the boys have taken ownership of over the years. Their special tree. This year it looks different.

It’s only partially decorated. Without my permission these little boys are becoming bigger boys. Their interests are changing. The little things that once delighted are becoming sweet memories. They are growing up. Somewhere along the tree decorating way that day, I imagine a game of tag broke out. Or a foosball match was challenged. Or a game of backyard football took shape. Something more exciting came along leaving this tree half finished.

I reflect on the years of watching their faces aglow as they meticulously hung each ornament. I remember how they worked together, each securing a spot on the tree that was all theirs. “Look, mom, isn’t it beautiful?” they would call out.

It always was beautiful. It still is beautiful even in its most imperfect, semi-forgotten state.

In our most imperfect, semi-forgotten state, He knows us. He doesn’t forget. He holds us close.

I walk through the house and take note of how different this Christmas looks in our home. “God, give me eyes to see your blessings that never cease.” I continue asking God to let me see the beauty that looks different than I envisioned. Lord, they are growing up too fast. Slow them down. Please, Lord, slow them down. I love each Christmas season as we celebrate you and watch these little eyes dance with joy. But those little eyes are beginning to look deeper into this life you’ve given them. Times are changing. My boys are changing. Show me how to change with them. Show me how to change with you, the One who never changes.

A medicine dropper leaves a sticky residue on the counter. I’m reminded how our season began in a way I never imagined. Multiple trips to the doctor, a son in excruciating pain, a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. A blessing. Answered prayers. A son held close to the Father. A child’s faith growing daily as he experiences the healing hand of his Creator. A child learning what it means to know God is good all the time even when life feels painful. Christmas blessings of hope burrowed deep in the blood and tissues that house his soul. The world calls it disease. We call it hope.

Endless phone calls and trips to doctors, physical therapy visits, researching and discussing, praying and understanding. These have taken the place of the typical Christmas busy. But isn’t Christmas about experiencing Him? Isn’t it about seeing Him? The Savior born into the world that Christmas day? Remembering that from the beginning of creation, God has put a plan in place to save us?

This Christmas looks different, but the message hasn’t changed. 

This Christmas looks different than I planned, but we are experiencing Him moment by moment. Isn’t that Christmas? 

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I walk past our Advent house. The one that counts down the days until we celebrate His birth in full. The one that holds a special activity or moment each day of the season. I think back to the years before. A door opened, a little note read, excited little voices to declare what we would do together. “We get to paint an ornament tonight!” I think back to hours ago. A door opened, a little note read, not-so-excited voices declared, “It’s paint an ornament night.”

I take note of the voice. I see the lack of enthusiasm. It’s ok. They are getting older. They are boys. They are growing and changing. Painting ornaments is supposed to lose its excitement. But thank God, I’ve had the years and the moments He’s graced me with. I delicately pick up the memories and tuck them neatly in my heart, gently closing the door. They are mine to hold forever.

This little advent house hasn’t been the giver of good gifts over the years. He has been the giver of good gifts. He only used that little house to give me those gifts, those moments with my boys. Blessings. He will continue to be the giver of good gifts. He will continue to be the giver of moments. Sometimes they will look different than I envision. He is always good.

This year the gifts look different, but the gift giver hasn’t changed. 

I walk past the box that holds our Christmas movies. Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas this year has been left in the box. They are too old they tell me. I take note. They are getting older. Thank God for past memories. Praise God for new ones.

This year the small moments look different, but the giver of moments remains the same.

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I unplug the lights from the tree. The tree that leans left no matter which direction you view from. The tree that I envisioned looking a particular way. It should be 9 feet tall, full and round, perfectly spaced limbs. It would be bigger and better than any tree that’s ever taken a spot in the family room.

This tree isn’t what I had in mind, but the hands that found it were given to me to hold for a season.

This year the tree looks more imperfect than I hoped, but the creator of that tree remains perfect.

I envisioned a trip to the Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect tree. We would come home, decorate the tree, decorate the outside of the house with lights, listen to Christmas music while we sipped hot chocolate and lavished each other with love. Instead, I awoke in the middle of the night with intense pain, unable to move my leg because of muscle spasms.

My perfect day became a day I rested instead. God does this to me frequently, and I love Him for it.

My perfect Christmas plans are best lived out in ways I never envisioned, so I can experience Him in ways I never imagined.

Instead of a family trip to the farm, it was a dad and son trip to the lot. Instead of me working tirelessly making everything just perfect and right for my family, God allowed my family to serve and love me in a way that showed His perfect love for me.

This year my perfect Christmas plans failed, but the perfecter of my faith never fails.

I sat on the cold driveway, leg numb from the ice pack, watching Steve carry out the Christmas plans I so badly wanted to take part in. I wanted to be with him connecting and testing lights, weaving them just so along the bushes. Instead I watched. I watched him work with joy. I listened as the Christmas tunes drifted from his car. I took note of the little ways he was trying to create what he knew I wanted to create that day.

Times are changing, my boys are growing, our moments are looking different. This Christmas looks different than any others we’ve celebrated. My boys see the change. I see their realization of the growing up, the getting wiser, the changing preferences. They partly embrace the new moments and changes, they partly hold onto what once was.

Andrew, only 6 years old, requested his own alarm clock so he can get himself up and ready like his big brothers. Jacob, 11, stopped me as I left the room. “But, mom, will you still give him ‘yay-yays’?” (little tickles and kisses up his back).

“Oh, yes, I will never stop doing that until he tells me to.”

His shoulders relaxed as he leaned back into his pillow. “Ok, good.”

The changing is hard for each of us in our own little ways. But so very, very good.

The changing seasons of life are to be celebrated and embraced.  While some moments change, some will always remain the same. While the moments look different, what drives each moment remains unchanged.

If my Christmas season looks different than I envisioned, I can rest in knowing it was carefully laid out by the One who makes no mistakes.

And now we rest in Him as we embrace each Christmas moment that comes our way in the next days leading up to Christmas Day.

Seek Him wholeheartedly this Christmas.

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Dear Boys, When You Compare What You Get For Christmas To What Someone Else Gets

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“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.”CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Dear Boys,

It happens every year, and this year will be no different. Or the years following for that matter. Or your whole life even. Actually, as you get older and become an adult, you will still struggle with this – it will just look different.

Christmas morning you wake up to find surprises that delight. You spend hours admiring your new gifts and falling in love with these treasures that now belong to you. You find the perfect spot to keep them safe. Throughout the day you go back time and time again to play with or admire  your toys or gifts. You love your new gifts. Really love them! Until…..

Until the phone call, visit, or hanging with friends or family when you hear their list of gifts received. The stack of books you treasured moments before begin to lose their appeal. The new basketball you wanted for months suddenly pales in comparison to the new iPod someone else received. That new art set you slightly push aside in embarrassment because it isn’t as exciting as the laptop someone else received. You blush as you listen to the list someone shares with you about all the gifts they received, and you shy away from sharing what you received.

Your 5 gifts or 10 gifts or 15 gifts will always be outdone by someone else. If you receive 5, someone else will always receive 6 or 7 or 10. If you receive 10, someone else will always receive 11, 12, or 18. If you receive a pair of rollerblades you’ve always wanted, someone else will always receive a better pair. If you receive a new bat bag, someone else will always receive a better one filled with brand new equipment.

Someone will always have more. Someone will always have better. But that is not the goal of life- to have more and better than anyone else. When you begin to understand this, you are on your way to discovering the secret path to joy God has laid out for you.

His Word is a treasure map. He is the treasure we ultimately seek. In Him is found everything our hearts could ever desire. Along the hunt, we tend to forget this. Sometimes we take a path and believe the treasure is elsewhere. We begin to hunt for what appears to be treasure, but it’s not. It’s counterfeit. It’s all along the trail though. So you have to learn to know the difference in the true treasure and the counterfeit.

This journey is exciting.

I want to tell you first, that it is normal to compare what you have to what others have. It’s happened since the beginning of time. The problem is what happens when you begin to entertain these thoughts. Envy, jealousy, discontentment, lack of joy, begin to find a spot in your heart. Spots that are reserved for contentment, gratitude, and joy. Spots God wants held for His Presence.

Comparison is a robber. It’s a joy robber. Along that treasure map are robbers hiding behind trees and bushes. They don’t want you to reach the treasure, they want to steal your joy so that you forget what you are truly searching for. Comparison does this. It takes your eyes off what you have and what you are thankful for and tells you there is something better out there. It tells you that if you have that one thing, you will be happy. Once you reach this one spot on the map, you will finally discover joy. Listen, boys, this is a great lie. And we all fall into its trap from time to time. Stay the course on your treasure map. Don’t let the comparison robber take from you what God wants you to possess.

Comparison kills contentment. Jealousy fills the spot contentment once held. Jealously is the joy thief that puts you on the path to never satisfied.

It’s a tricky thing our enemy does. He is always looking for ways to get our eyes off of God and onto something else. Stuff, toys, games, these are easy things he can use to tempt us to think this is the way to happiness and fulfillment.

Christmas is an easy time of the year the enemy can use this tactic against us.

If you got everything on the list that someone else received, it would satisfy for a moment only. Eventually, it would wear off and leave you wanting more. The more you have, the more you want. It’s a cycle. Underneath this desire for more stuff, better stuff, or what someone else has is a hole that God created in you to be filled by Him and Him alone.

Most of the world doesn’t know this secret. I want you to know this is the key to unlocking the clue that will lead you straight to the real treasure.

You see the people who seem to have more than you, they have the same desires you have. And they look at someone else’s stuff and feel they don’t compare. They too, lose gratitude for what they have as they place their eyes on the ones who have more.

Here’s part of the secret. People don’t go around talking about stuff like this. So you will feel these feelings, and you will think something is wrong with you for feeling this way. I want you to understand nothing is wrong with you. This is human nature. But it’s not God’s nature. I want you to learn to differentiate between the real, true, 100% treasure and the counterfeit version.

The fake treasure will make you happy temporarily, but it leaves you wanting more. The hole that it tried to fill in your heart, it will actually grow bigger. But that hole was intentionally created in you. It was placed there for a purpose. To be filled by God and only God. He is the only thing that satisfies that longing in us. That is the true longing. It’s for full satisfaction, which only comes from Him.

God created a heart in you that has deep longings and desires. The world will tell you it can fill those desires by giving you everything on your Christmas wish list. Or it will tell you if you have what they got, you will be happy. Don’t believe those half-truths. It’s only temporary. He is eternal.

Here’s the secret I really want you to know. If you are constantly filling up that hole in your heart with His truth and His Word, there is no hole to fill with the stuff the world will tempt you to use to fill that hole! You will be full and satisfied. You will have found joy and contentment in Him, which means you won’t be looking for it elsewhere. You will see the world around you on treasure hunts. Don’t follow their trails. Stay on the path God has placed you on. It’s the only one that leads to the real treasure.

After Christmas when you find yourself tempted by these feelings, pause and ask God to redirect your thoughts and to guide your heart towards truth.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The true desires of your heart aren’t for toys, games, clothes, and stuff. The true desires are for Him.

1 Timothy 6:6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Merry Christmas, my boys. May it be filled with the hope, love, peace, and joy found only in Him.

 

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When It’s Time to Break Tradition- Why the Christmas Wish List Needs to Go Away

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My middle son had saved his birthday gift cards and finally redeemed them for a new DS game, which arrived in the mail on a Monday. We have a no electronics rule during the week, so he knew he would look at that game until Friday rolled around. But he also is quite crafty with words. “Hey, Mom, you know it’s a tradition that when I buy a new game, I play it the same day I get it.”  He stopped talking then raised his eyes to meet mine.

“Impressive, my boy!”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how I feel about traditions. Nice choice of words to try to persuade my heart over my head. Well played. But no.”

Traditions are a critical part of family life. Sometimes we need to break tradition, though. Sometimes, a tradition needs to be replaced.

Before our family became intentional with keeping Christ at the center of Christmas, we would encourage our boys to make a Christmas wish list of everything they wanted. Want to create a monster? This is a good way to do it! They begin to obsess about what they want. One of my boys would become greatly stressed about having to come up with material things he wanted because his nature is not to focus on these things. It was very uncomfortable for him. Expectations became too high to meet.

Just because something is a tradition doesn’t mean we are bound to it. Sometimes a tradition needs to change shape.

So we got rid of the Christmas wish lists. We don’t ask for them. We don’t even discuss them anymore. We did replace them with another kind of list. A treasure hunting list we are keeping for the true gifts of Christmas.

Sometimes the gifts don’t appear in plain sight. Sometimes the gifts aren’t wrapped in Pinterest posed packages. Sometimes the gifts aren’t extravagant. Sometimes the gifts are quiet, subtle, unnoticeable…..unless you are hunting for them.

The Christmas season is here. In America it can’t be missed. On one hand this leaves me grateful. On the other hand, I am saddened when I see what aspects of Christmas receive the most attention, the most hype. Typically those same things are what silently robs us of joy and leaves us panting for rest, finishing the season with a big, “Whew, we survived.”

Oh, friends, my heart is filled with this passion for honoring Christ as Christmas. He didn’t come to burden us with to-do’s. He came to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

He came to do. He doesn’t need our to-do’s.  

Instead of filling our to-do’s with finding the perfect gifts for our kids, planning magical surprises to delight, scouring social media for the latest, newest, creative expression of Christmas magic, turn it over to him. Let go of the pressure to create magic. The magic is here. Waiting to be found. Hunt for it rather than burden yourself with creating it.

The flurry of Christmas buries the gifts of Christmas. The true gifts. The gifts of hope, love, peace, and joy. So we must hunt them out.

Though we do the elf hiding, the present buying, and the party hopping, I don’t want my boys to think that is Christmas. I don’t want them to think the excitement is in the temporary. The true magic of Christmas is less obvious. It’s hidden in the humble. It’s hidden in the simple. It’s hidden in the sacrifice.

We are hunting this Christmas season. Treasure hunting for the true gifts of Christmas. Hope, love, peace, and joy. Each day we are choosing one and hunting all day long. Today is love in our home. We are looking for all the ways we received love today. We are looking for all the opportunities we have to share love today.

We are making a list, checking it more than twice.

It’s a new kind of Christmas wish list. Forget the list of what they want. Make a list of what their souls need.

I don’t want my boys spending weeks pining away over endless wants for things. Things that days after Christmas will break, be shoved under a bed, be placed in a donation box. I want them to learn to seek the gifts that matter. I want them to learn what it means to give over receiving. But I want them to experience the satisfaction of receiving the gifts that matter so they are encouraged to give that to someone else.  All in the name of Christ.

We are seeking Christmas. Truly seeking Christmas by seeking the gifts of Christmas.

Would you join us in a new, simple, tradition? A treasure hunt of daily looking for the gifts He brings and the gifts He gives us to give back out. Treasure hunting takes practice and discipline.

Find the true gifts of Christmas this season. Hope, love, peace, and joy. This trumps any Christmas magic we try to create on our own. Because it’s real, it’s lasting. It’s eternal.

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