More Than a Merry Christmas

Gwen Smith Blog, Christmas, Focus, Giving, Grace, Holiness, Peace, Worship 77 Comments

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)

On the night that divinity merged with fleshy humanity as Jesus came on the scene in a stable, things of earth were shaken and stirred with fresh glory and awesome wonder.

A host of heavenly angels appeared in the sky praising God and celebrating the arrival of the long awaited Messiah. They left their veiled existence to speak and sing to a few lowly shepherds in a field.

Wait, what? Why?

To announce the good news of great joy that came as a gift from God in a cloth-clad baby-package named Jesus. The singing sky creatures pointed the shepherds to the swaddled Savior who was in a manger near by and urged them to go and check out the Christ child.

When the shepherds came on the scene they found Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus just as the angels had said. (Luke 2:16) They worshiped, were in awe, and “spread the word concerning what had been told them concerning this child.” (Luke 2:17, 20)

And Mary? She took it all in.

She reflected and worshiped.

The Bible says she, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

I know this story. You probably do too. But let’s glance again at the responses…

In celebration of the mangered-Messiah, heavenly hosts sang praises to God and lit up the sky with joy. Shepherds ran to see Jesus, glorified God, and amazed listeners by telling them about all they had seen and heard. A young new mama soaked in the wonder of it all and marinated on the majesty before her.

When I consider the contrast between the first Christmas and today’s Christmas, I realize how far we’ve wandered.

Instead of filling the sky with declarations of deity our airwaves are filled with grumblings over whether we should say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. We plow each other over with shopping carts and claw our way to the front of lines for the sake of a sale. We spend money that we don’t have and justify – even glorify – gluttonous intakes.

Wait, what? Why?

What are we pondering? Where are we fixing our focus?

That first Christmas was much more than merry. It was sacred… holy… filled with wonder and worship.

That first Christmas was all about Jesus.

More than having a merry Christmas, I’m stirred to have a meaningful Christmas that takes me back to the manger that led to the cross. One that mixes the merry with the meditative. One that pairs the fruit of the Spirit with the fruitcake. One that lingers with both lively praise and low-bending prayers. One that harks the herald and helps the hungry.

Yes. I want us all to have a merry Christmas. But more than that I long for us to have a meaningful Christmas. Not one that is consumed with consuming or lost in senseless secondary conversations, but one that is fixed on adoration, celebration, consideration and awe. One that reflects on and gives thanks to God for sending Jesus to be our hope. One that is rich with depth and love and relationship. One that is filled with the fullness of His grace.

So that’s the challenge. For us to lay aside nonsensical controversies, behaviors and distractions, and instead focus on celebrating a merry and meaningful, Messiah-focused Christmas.

 

Holy Lord,
All glory and honor and praise be to Your name! Thank You for invading the darkness of this world and my heart with Your light. Help me to live a life of meaningful, purposed, responsive worship during this Christmas season and every day.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Read Luke 2.

Pause for a moment of personal reflection.

What’s one thing you can do today that will make this season more meaningful and purposed?

Click here to share your one-thing answer in the comments section of my blog and let’s discuss some fresh ideas as a community of sisters today.

LOVE you so much!! Can’t wait to read your one-thing answers! 🙂

GWEN

 

 

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Comments 77

  1. Our granddaughters and I made cookies. I put a sign Happy Birthday Jesus by the cookies. All the dessert came out last minute because my mom was sick. And to focus on God more and don’t let certain people upset me so much!

  2. I’d like to invite some family members over for meaningful conversation and fellowship. I haven’t kept much contact with them for a number of reasons, but I’d like to step out of my comfort zone for a change.

  3. There is such a need in the community around me – yes, right here at home is a mission field. Sometimes I feel that my church and I miss the need right here close to us. A nephew lives across the street from me. His addiction to drugs, alcohol and the mental problems these have caused have taken away having a normal relationship with him like we used to have. He is a day to day living challenge in my life to love the unlovable. He now lives in his truck. On Christmas day I took him hot soup, ham biscuits, socks, hand warmers and other goodies and left it by his mailbox. I saw him get it a few minutes later. I felt good. I want to do more of this and also encourage my church to do the same. Pray for and love the unlovable as Christ tells us to. I have had the most blessed Christmas mostly spending time with family. We decided to not give gifts this year and it turned out that we really did not miss that part. Of course the little ones in our life got to open a package and my grandchildren went together and bought me a big pot to cook them some soup in and that made the day. Giving because they wanted to and no established “what will I get so in so this year”. Merry Christmas in Jesus. ( Love Girlfriends With God – first thing I read each morning as I turn on my computer.)

  4. As a person I want to share the wonder of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ more not only in my church family,my family but as I am out in my work a day family. The wonderful happening of His birth long ago so that He may be the Savior of the world. Luke 2 is read every Christmas morning before we open presents to remind us of the real meaning of the Christmas season. What a blessing it is to hear that passage read by my husband each year before we open Christmas presents.

  5. My one thing I can do today is to commit to my daily devotion to my Saviour, to walk justly and humbly before God so that His light will shine through me. My word is commitment.

  6. I told my family today that Christ’s beginning was our beginning. We’re doing a whole family makeover and striving to place all our concerts and strife on him. We’re not blaming each other or intentionally trying to aggravate each other. I explained we’re leading each other to sin and as Christians that is unacceptable to the Lord. I intentionally scaled back the gifts this year and along with my breakfast speech this was deemed the best Christmas ever by my kids. Praise you Jesus.

  7. My one thing I can do today is to slow down and reflect, and not get aggravated at my siblings or parents for little things

  8. The ‘one thing’ I’m doing this Christmas is, instead of saying “Grace” which no one seems to want to do, I printed up copies of a little prayer. I plan to read it when we sit down to eat, and my family can just read along if they don’t want to say it.

  9. “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:10‬ (‭NKJV‬‬)
    http://bible.com/114/luk.2.10.nkjv

    To put Christ in the center of our celebration and point others to His Throne!

    “Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
    ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:20‬
    http://bible.com/114/luk.2.20.nkjv

    To never cease praising, honoring and adoring Him as my response to the Good News of the Gospel message! Amen

  10. I agree 100%! I am starting today to let my actions and deeds match. I don’t want anyone to ever be surprised to hear that I am a Christian. I have three daughters, and I need to demonstrate a better walk than I have been. Happy Birthday Jesus! Thanks for the reset!

  11. I totally agree. Thank you for your comment. Have a very blessed Christmas and a wonderfully blessed New Year! A sister in Christ.

  12. I want to remember that the Lord is with me every day. That he is in control, I’m not. I want to start today to be a better Christian example to everyone not just my sons. I know that I will need God’s help with this. Happy Birthday Jesus!!

  13. Share His love. Thank you Gwen. Please don’t stop your beautiful and uplifting blogs. God bless you my forever sister in Christ.

  14. I want to be present in the moment and lay aside my busyness to show my family that Jesus is most worthy. It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of culture… we must remember our children are watching.

  15. I will focus on the love of Christ and why he was born which is yo undo the works of the devil. I will focus more on the love of Jesus instead of receiving gifts. I pray that someone may come to know Him.

  16. I will be driving around our community with my family to see Christmas light displays. We have made little thank you notes with scripture attached to candy canes to place on their mailboxes to show our appreciation for adding to our Christmas spirit, as well as spread the Good News of Jesus! After reading comments here, I’m going to add the story of the candy cane to them!

  17. This year like years in the past my family will sing Happy birthday to Jesus and blow out candles burning on the cake I made specifically for Him. But this year I am going to ask each member of the family to write down on a slip of paper “what” they are giving Jesus. We will “unwrap” these gifts and read them after we blow out the candles. My desire is that each family member will give Jesus a meaningful gift that will draw them closer to Him this year. Happy birthday Jesus! Jesus I love you!

  18. I will have my eight year old son play the drums to the beat of the Little Drummer Boy for my family this Christmas and my brother and I will sing Silent Night Together this Christmas

  19. “Stop trying to change something or someone that you think should change.” That will be tough, because so many people think cancer isn’t going to happen to them or to lose someone, try to show people that we were given this incredible life, live it, when things go bad, change it. God excepts everyone faults, but it’s up to you to change it, to show him we are his children.

  20. The story of Jesus’s birth is the only one in history that invites everyone to be a part of it. It’s HIS story. Without Christmas, we would all be lost. Separated from God forever. But God loves us enough to never allow this to happen. He sent His only son to make sure that everyone had an opportunity to be a part of His story for all eternity. 💗

  21. Pray as a family before opening gifts. Thank Him for each and every blessing and begin with the sacrifice of His one and only son

  22. I have often pushed what I want out for Christmas from my husband. I even found myself doing that this year. And as I began reading a devotional, I was hit with my ungratefulness and shown I had lost the true meaning of Christmas. This season (and continuing) is to remember why God sent our Lord Jesus to us and to worship Him with all of I have. To place Jesus above the material things and show my kids the true meaning of Christmas. To show them it is beyond the gifts under the tree; and about the Man that came to this Earth as a babe to die on a tree for me, for them, for us all. Merry Christmas to all.

  23. I plan to visit a friend who is in a rehab center over Christmas. I am taking a star to place on top of a little tree I gave her to brighten her Christmas . I also want to hand out candy canes to other residents and tell them about the origin of the. Candy cane- the symbolism of the candy cane that represents the sacrifice of Jesus.

  24. I made donations to the ASPCA and Samaritan’s Purse (cleft palate surgery) for my adult daughter’s Christmas gifts instead of things they don’t need. ☺️

  25. I am going to try to not get caught up in the crazy busy Christmas preparations of the world but instead to focus on Jesus coming, to tell others about him and to spread his love and peace where ever I go

  26. I spoke to a mother today who will be putting a floral display in our church in memory of her young son who died of cancer at the age of ten on Christmas Eve just a few years ago. We shared the pain of loss together and promised to lift each other in prayer as we go through this season without our loved ones.
    Praying for folks who walk this road.

  27. As I am reading this, I think of how much our Holy God our loving savior Jesus and the holy Spirit inside of our heart and soul Loves us so much.
    I would like today to greet everyone in my path with the kind of Love That we receive. Show peace that we have because we are saved, what a awesome gift he has given to everyone who believes in his Gift of salvation. The Gift we can give is show their Love to others in our daily walk , no matter what situation you are in, or who is in our path Show the Love They have given us Today and every day.
    Merry Christ mas and Happy New Year

  28. Continue to pray for my children, their spouses, my grandchildren and even the great-grandchildren that are not yet born. My prayer is that this Christmas would show them Christ’s love and transforming power in an overwhelming way.

  29. This is the time of the month that reminds us of this precious gift that we received Christ Our Lord ,God In the Flesh who was born this amazing day and came to tell us about this amazing gospel the word from God to save us from our sins and bring us back to the father thank you Jesus.

  30. The one thing I can do today to make this a more meaningful Christmas is to worship the Savior as I go through my day and share His Word with others. I’m home alone a lot because we only have one car but my best friend, Jesus, is always here with me.

  31. The one thing I will do to make this season more meaningful…..regardless of where I am, I will pause and be intentional on being His hand extended. This is His Season and I am privileged to be His child and to shine His Light!!!

  32. Every Christmas the church I attend puts on a very humbling experience. We build the town of Bethlehem. Our community gets to experience what things could have been like. During the tour of Bethlehem people encounter the Roman Guards at the census, walk thru the market place, hear the gossip of a young girl that gives birth in a stable, hear the proclamation of the Angel to the shepards and travel with them to the manger to see the Christ child played by a real baby. This magical experience is our gift to the community, but participating lets me experience the miraculous birth of my Savior. I am so looking forward to Christmas.

  33. His birth is only the beginning of the story. I’m in a Bible study on Romans, seeing God’s great love for us- the cost of death for my sins, his love without a cause and his love is constant even when I am unworthy of it.

  34. The one thing I’ll do is bake to give to others. I always spend days baking and making candy at Christmas to give to neighbors, friends and our kids and grandkids. I bake them with love and give them with even more love. Jesus is love, so I’m showing my love by making special treats that I know will bring smiles.

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  35. I can allow God’s Peace to shine through me to all who walk into my work place with a warm smile that says God loves you. It’s been crazy at work and I want the light of Jesus to shine in my attitude and smile.

  36. Focus on the freedom offered and given me by the death and resurrection of Jesus, freedom not to do wrong, but freedom to live as Jesus does. Galatians 5:13-14.

  37. Make Christmas Jesus birthday with my grandchildren. Have an actual birthday cake, sing happy birthday. Put the focus on Jesus in their hearts.
    Merry Christmas Gwen.

  38. To make the decision to live above our circumstances , to put aside anger, resentment, bitterness, and just meditate on Jesus and how he loved beyond reason because God our Father commanded us to love one another regardless .

  39. Remembering the reason for Christmas making sure my grandkids know y we celebrate and what the meaning of the gift giving. That God gave his son for us cause he loves us more than anything. Our lives need to reflect God . We may be the only Bible some one reads

  40. I’m in the same boat, as Lutrecia. It would still be good to see the people who observe this time of year doing it the way you’re describing, Gwen. It is the right way.

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