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Awaiting The Arrival of Christmas

I love Christmas! It is my favorite time of year. From the Christmas lights to the music, to the time spent with family… It truly is the most wonderful time of year for me.

When I was a kid, I would help my parents decorate and put lights up in my room, because I loved Christmas that much. As I grew up, my mom would often joke and say that, if it wasn’t for me, the house I grew up in would probably not be decorated for Christmas.Santa at the Manger

One of my favorite decorations that we had was a statue of Santa kneeling at the manger with baby Jesus. I have that same statue in my house, and I love seeing it every Christmas because it is such a great reminder that Christmas should be focused on Christ.

On Christmas morning, from the moment my kids were little, we would always pause and read the story of the first Christmas from Luke 2 before anyone was allowed to open their gifts. We did this because we wanted to make sure that we had the right perspective as we opened gifts. It was a little hard to keep their focus as they waited when they were little, but I am glad we did. Now that my “kids” are 20 and 18, we still read Luke 2 together.

Another way to keep the focus on Jesus is to celebrate Advent. Many Christian churches celebrate Advent, which is the season observed as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It commonly starts the first Sunday of December, and each Sunday there is a different focus. Week one is Hope, week two is Peace, week three is Joy, and week four is Love. As a family, we decided to celebrate Advent in our home, because we wanted the focus of Christmas on Jesus to last a little longer. We bought an Advent wreath and a book called “A Family Advent: Keeping the Savior in the Season” to help guide us. It was so nice to get together every night as a family to do the readings, recite the prayers, and do the activities they had in the book. It really helped us to keep our focus on Jesus.

Now that my kids are adults and we all seem to be running in different directions, I decided to look for a new way that we can connect, slow down, and focus on Jesus this Christmas. We are going to be doing a 25-day reading in the Bible app together called “The Magic of Christmas“. The Bible app has a new feature where you can do reading plans with friends and have a private discussion in the app about each day’s reading. I love that we have another way to connect with one another despite our busy lives.

My challenge for you this Christmas is to find something you can do as a family, with your spouse, or with a friend, to help center and focus yourself on the true meaning of the season. What an awesome gift Jesus gave us over 2,000 years ago when He stepped out of heaven to clothe Himself in humanity and become Immanuel (God With Us). Let’s make sure we don’t forget it amidst the lights, sounds, shopping, and busyness.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
Todd Porter