Thursday, December 24, 2015

It Wouldn't Be Christmas...

 Fill in the blank:  It wouldn't be Christmas without ______________.

What comes to your mind when you read that?  Presents?  Family?  Singing Christmas carols?  Lights?  Holiday baking?  Decorating the tree?  Snow?

I was asked this question as an ice-breaker a few weeks ago at a Ladies Christmas party for church.  I had trouble coming up with an answer at the time.  I just couldn't think of one answer that symbolized and summed up Christmas in my head.

I went for the obvious answer.  It wouldn't be Christmas without Jesus.  We had just listened to a lovely devotional by Diana Otto about wading through all the traffic, all the shopping and other commercialism, and finding ways to honor the Savior during this busy season.  So my answer got a laugh, but was also completely literal.  Of course, it wouldn't be Christmas without Jesus; it is His birthday that we celebrate, after all.

I followed up my funny and very obvious answer with this one.  It wouldn't be Christmas without family.  I love the celebrations that we have with our families.  Getting together with the extended family is always a good time.  I feel as much at home with the Tellmans as I do with the Taylors.  But I especially enjoy the time that just the four of us spend together on Christmas morning.    We are blessed to hang out, relaxing and making memories.

Christmas is about Jesus and family, but it still didn't really answer the question for me.  I enjoy those all year long, not just December 25.  Last night, my answer came to me.  So I am taking this opportunity for a "do over."

It wouldn't be Christmas without this...

It wouldn't be Christmas without candlelight service on Christmas Eve.  I suppose a candlelight service would be meaningful anywhere, but it holds a special place in my heart at our home church.  This is the moment where everything stops.  Where time stands still for just a bit.

Like many of you,  I feel like I have filled every possible minute in the last couple of weeks getting ready.  Shopping, wrapping, baking, making teacher gifts, more shopping.  Now I will say that Todd did quite a bit of the shopping this year, and the kids are old enough to help with the baking and the wrapping.  So that helps tremendously, but it was still busy.  Very busy.  Yesterday was no exception.  We spent the morning delivering presents and other goodies around town.  In the afternoon, I was in the kitchen making the food that I am taking to my parents' house today.  

I had a goal to make sure everything was done before church.  After all the preparation to get everything ready, I was ready to just stop.  Just stop and bask in the Light of the World.  From the traditional carols we sing together to the annual children's story to the special songs by various people, the entire service just fills me with joy.

All of these culminate in the lighting of the candles and singing Silent Night.  I love when the auditorium lights go out, and it is just Mr. Ken on stage with one candle lit.  How quickly it goes from one small flame to a whole glowing auditorium.  As the light spreads from one person to the next, I am reminded of the old camp song:

"It only takes a spark to get a fire going.
That's how it is with God's love
Once you've experienced it.
You've got to Pass It On."

We can't keep God's love to ourselves, we have got to pass it on.  With all the hustle and bustle competed, this moment with candles glowing is a symbol to me of what Christmas really is all about.  It is not about me or my kids or how many things I got checked off my lists.  It is about Jesus.  It is about spreading the warmth and love and light that only He can bring.

It wouldn't be Christmas without the Light Of the World.  

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