We didn’t always have Christ at the very tippy top of our focus at Christmas time. We thought we did, as many others do, but the funny thing in life is that you never know how much you can see Jesus until you know that He sees you!
It’s an honor and privilege to be writing this “Keeping Christ in Christmas” series alongside these other AWESOME bloggers and friends.
If your budget is as tight as it can be this year, I pray that my story and these tips and ideas will help you feel “Rich” during this Christmas season.
19 years ago, we decided to have more children and that I would be a stay at home mom. As many of you know, this means SUPER tight budgets. We learned to live on a small $13.00 a hour salary that my husband made doing a ministry for others. Sometimes it would seem like we were rich and sometimes it seemed like we couldn’t possibly make it another day.
But God was always faithful…always!
One year in particular would change our lives forever and teach us the value and true meaning of Christmas. The month of December had arrived and I was in my 9th month of pregnancy. We had 2 children at home, a 5 year old and 2 1/2 year old. My heart ached for them this Christmas. Money was tighter than ever and we simply did not have money for gifts.
We put up a tree and decorated our house, but underneath the tree was empty… The kids were still so young, but somehow they new something was missing.
To make matters worse…my little sister had just died of AIDS the week before. I was so heartbroken, exhausted and devastated, I was sure that I could never get a baby out let alone create a Christmassy atmosphere.
Then one day after many tears and much prayer God touched my heart and I saw the real meaning of Christmas. What was it about? Jesus of course! We all know that don’t we?
Somehow this day was different, God seemed to open the eyes of my heart and I saw this Christmas season in a whole new light.
I climbed out of bed and committed to the Lord that we would celebrate this joyous season with our children in a way that they would understand and know the true meaning of Christmas.
This is what we did…
About one week away from Christmas I had decided that we would throw a big birthday bash for Jesus. How the kids LOVED birthday parties! I got them all pumped up!
You have to plan for a birthday party don’t you? Kids love to plan, and plan we did.
- We planned what games we would play
- We acted out the Christmas Story
- We created decorations
- We baked a birthday Cake
- We created gifts to give to Jesus from our heart
- We also made paper gifts for each other and for our friends
- We read Scripture in short easy verses that would hold the kids attention.
- We sang songs
- We colored, cut, pasted and made a big ol huge mess all week long!
- We set a Nativity under the Christmas Tree so that Jesus would be the focus, not the emptiness.
When my kids would ask about gifts for themselves, I would simply say “We’ll do what we can.” with a smile on my face. My heart breaking deeply for them.
I let them know how God would be so happy that we would throw a party for his one and only Son.
A couple of days before Christmas, there was a knocking at the door. It was a delivery man from Albertsons…He had come to deliver over $600 worth of groceries to our home. What?!
I could not believe my eyes as he carried bag after bag of food into our house. We praised the Lord and thanked Him for his glorious gift..and cried a little too of course. God had not forgotten us.
We had food for a wonderful Christmas dinner and we were super excited about it.
Then Christmas day arrived. I don’t remember how it was noticed, but someone said..hey look, what’s in our car. We went out to the car and it was filled almost to overflowing with Christmas gifts for my children. OVERFLOWING!! It was too much!
I cry just thinking about God’s goodness toward us.
We had intended on giving God the best birthday party ever, but He had an even bigger birthday party planned for us!
Because of that day and because of God’s great love for us, I have come to know that sometimes we never know how much He loves us and how much we need to focus on Him, until those truly hard times come.
Then all you have is Jesus…
And Jesus is enough.
He saw us…
Today, so many years late, I do not put presents under the tree. Oh yes we buy Christmas presents, but they don’t go under the tree until Christmas Eve. I also still put a Nativity under the tree instead. It is a reminder to us of God’s amazing love and amazing grace.
It keeps Christ in Christmas…every single year.
This post was written by Shari Lynne over at Faith Filled Food for Mom!