Christmas 2023 - Day 6: Christmas the Night Before

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Mt 1:18
Long before the first Christmas, God arranged every detail of it. We read in Titus that it was planned and promised before the ages began (Titus 1:2). Way back in Genesis when man fell hopelessly into sin, God promised it again (Ge 3:15). Eight hundred years before the first Christmas, Isaiah shared the striking details (Is 7:14,9:6). And then, in the fullness of time when the first Christmas had almost arrived, God raised up an amazing woman named Mary and an incredible man named Joseph to carry and care for the coming Son of God. God was building the anticipation of His people.
When my kids were small, anticipation for Christmas was often at a fevered pitch. And most of the time it wasn’t in a good way. The grandparents got them so much stuff and so did we. It was a sea of toys and shredded wrapping paper on Christmas morning. They were so wound-up about Christmas that it was tough to get them settled down on Christmas Eve. We
would come home from Christmas Eve service and they would be climbing the walls, and the problem was that Mr. and Mrs. Claus still had not just a few presents to wrap. It was crucial to the plan that they go to bed. So, we came up with a compromise to get them settled down a bit. The kids could open one gift on Christmas Eve if they would go to bed afterward. It worked well, even though we were a little sneaky. You see, we made sure the gift they opened was pajamas.
Over the years, as we were more conformed to Christ, our preparation for Christmas was radically altered. We intentionally took the focus from presents to Jesus - from getting to giving. One or more years each of our kids took one of their new toys and gave it to kids in need. We prayed with them and helped them decide what to give so that it was sacrificial. Another year we all volunteered at a huge homeless shelter. We spent time teaching them what we were doing and why. At some point we began reading the Christmas story from Luke before we opened presents. We did these things and more leading up to Christmas and God used it to truly modify our family holiday dynamic.
If all our preparation or even the bulk of our preparation has to do with lights, decorations, shopping and presents, do we really seek Him first? And what kind of results should we expect? (Don’t be surprised if your kids are selfish.) God prepared well for Christmas and so should we. What changes is God urging you to make in your preparation for Christmas?

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