I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with Joy and Peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident Hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
What it means: “Jesus is the reason for the season.” “Keep Christ in Christmas.” “Remember what the holidays are truly about.” Ya, ya, ya we have heard them all. But do we really do it? I truly think this scripture is what it means to get into the “Christmas spirit.” This is my holiday verse. It is all over my house and you will see it a few more times on here! God sent his only son not in order for us to open presents on Dec. 25th but in order for us to live an everlasting life! I know it is so easy to use the excuse that the holidays are a busy time. Trust me, I get it. What if we shift that excuse we all so easily throw around to, “we are filling everything we do this holiday season with the true Christmas Spirit. Instead of getting stressed about shopping, holiday photos/cards, UPS delays, how many holiday parties we have, what we are going to wear to them, year end deadlines, traveling or heck WHAT to buy people for gifts….let’s shift our focus to Joy. Peace. Hope. Love. This time of year I always find myself wanting to pick up homeless people on the streets, bring them home and give them a warm bed. (No, my husband won’t let me, not because he doesn’t have a huge heart, but we all know it’s not safe for a women, let alone someone my size, to pick up strangers). It’s the feeling inside me that I want everyone to know what the holidays are really about! You don’t need presents or lights strung up to celebrate the birth of our Lord. It’s in your heart. I make sure to smile as the person rushes in the door ahead of me, or steals my parking spot and just take the farther one. (We need more exercise around this time anyways). I always talk to the cashier and bagger when I am buying ingredients for my feasts at home, asking them if they get any time off. Showing them the Christmas Spirit. I always open the door with a smile for the UPS man and tell him to hang in there, because I know all my online shopping adds to his stress of the holidays. AND let’s be honest, that Grinch comes up quickly to bite us in the bum and remind us to steal Joy EVERY so quickly. Don’t let him! What types of things do you do to encourage the Christmas Spirit? I would love to hear them and use them!
Challenge: The holidays are filled with traditions! What tradition can you start or “shift” with your family to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and the Love that we have from him? What can you do to teach your children that it’s not about sitting on Santa’s lap, or Elf on the Shelf or their comfy PJs? Now don’t get me wrong, I love all these things! I STILL make my family wear matching PJs because I love them so much. But last year, I had shirts made that had this very scripture printed on it! I still see my family wearing them all the time and I just love it. I think it spreads the JOY of the Christmas Spirit! Did you know that the tradition of the candle in the window started to guide Merry and Joseph along the dark streets and let them know they were welcome in your home? It was a way of saying you believed. Jesus is welcome here! Christmas decor since then has really developed into all sorts of icicle lights and outside decor obviously but it still has meaning other than trying to make your house pretty at night. My husband and I “shifted” a tradition last year to honor that true meaning. Driving around looking at lights, combined with decorating Christmas Cookies. Growing up, my parents always drove us around after church on Christmas Eve to go look at the prettiest lights, it was always one of the most magical things we did all year. My husband and I decided to decorate cookies and each have three bags with a note written on them. “You are one of my favorite Christmas decor houses! Thank you for spreading the light of Christmas. I pray that God, the source of Hope, will fill you completely with Joy and Peace because you trust in him. Romans 15:13 Love the Andress Family”. Each of us chooses our favorite houses and deliver it to them. We are so excited to bring this tradition to our own kids one day, but as adults, we still love decorating Christmas cookies! Comment on your special traditions!
Prayer: God thank you for your love. Thank you for giving your only son for our everlasting life. I pray to cover my heart, actions and words in the true Christmas Spirit. I pray to use me as a vessel to spread Joy to all those around me. I pray that when the Grinch challenges me, that I face him with Love. Let your light shine in me, so I can shine to others so they can shine to others. Amen.
Sending Love, Stacy