(Special Note: Celebrations are a special part of life, but sometimes believers in Christ have differences of opinion as to which ones ought to be celebrated and how. I personally love celebrating Christmas, but I have friends in Jesus who choose not to. And I highly respect their courage to do what they feel the Lord wants their family to do and support them in that choice! If you’re family prefers not to celebrate Christmas, please just take these thoughts in context of another Christ-honoring holiday your family does celebrate! Hugs, Melanie)

Christmas! Where do I even start? Last year I was unable to do much in the way of Christmas extras due to health and it was disappointing!! But it forced me to step back and ask myself: What is Christmas for me personally?

And it boiled down to this: Remembering that Christ came and thanking Him for coming.

If I’ve done that, I’ve had Christmas in its deepest sense. And that means that wherever the Lord takes me in my journey of life, I can celebrate Christmas! In a hospital room, in a remote village in Africa, in a tiny apartment, in a castle, an airplane, an Australian island…wherever! Because it has to do with my heart and my response to the Lord, not the trimmings. Glorious thought, isn’t it?!

Having said that, the trimmings can help to remind me of core truths I do not want to forget!! Here are a few things I love about Christmas and the important things they remind me of!

Celebrating Jesus: Hold on! Let me explain here! My mother shared a fun idea with me when I was little and I’m carrying on the tradition now myself as a woman grown: Giving Jesus a birthday gift! This reminds me it is His birthday we’re celebrating! This year part of my gift to Jesus was helping fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. (Isn’t this puppy adorable?! Hope he makes you smile today! :) So excited that a child somewhere in the world will not only get to hug this puppy but hear about Jesus!

Beautiful Decorations: Decorating for Christmas is such a fun opportunity to remind myself and reflect to others that God is a God of beauty and holiness. The sparkle of lights, the tasteful arrangement of a table centerpiece, the orderly design of ornaments upon a Christmas tree…

Handel’s Messiah: Attending or listening to Handel’s Messiah is something that is a real part of Christmas for me. It’s a series of Scripture verses on the life of Christ strung together in a beautiful oratorio. It reminds me that Christ is the center of all of life. (We attended as sing along version at Finney Chapel – Oberlin College – this year!)

Family Time: Family time is something I treasure over the holidays. A game by the fireside, watching/attending Christmas concerts together, picking out and bringing home the tree, audio drama listening with my sisters, gift giving, day trips…family time can be such a joy and remind me that outside of my relationship with Christ, these are the most precious relationships I have.

Time with Friends: When I’m blessed to enjoy time with friends around the holidays it can remind me afresh of what’s eternal! The Lord, His Word and people last forever – that is where I need to invest my time the most in the new year!

Giving Gifts: Selecting and giving gifts at Christmas is such a privilege! It reminds me that it is more blessed to give than to receive. The anticipation of their enjoyment when they open the package is worth waiting for! (Please tell me though I’m not the only one who can have a hard time not spilling the beans ahead of time by some random comment that tells where I went shopping?!?! :)

Festive Yumminess: And yes, let’s add this one: Tasting and seeing that He is good! Remembering that He IS good is in season any time of the year! Homemade vanilla ice cream anyone? :)

So, to sum it all up, what I love about Christmas is: Jesus Christ. I love rejoicing in what He has done, and doing things that remind me of Him, His perspective and His priorities. We are SO blessed to know Jesus Christ!

May your heart be full of joy as you celebrate Him this wonderful season and all through the year!

What is Christmas to you? What do you love about Christmas? I’d love to hear!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12