Thursday, December 24, 2015
Some people find God through church. Some people find church and never find God. I found God at home, alone. Or more accurately, He found me.
Those first months are still precious to me. It was more than 30 years ago and it was a very painful time in my life but in that season, God transformed me, changing me from the inside out and connecting me to Him. And I've never been the same.
And He convicted me of some things in those days that I've never let go of. No matter what anybody else said. No matter what I saw other Christians doing. No matter how I was questioned.
One of them was "no Santa Claus." It's actually very simple to me. I'm in love with Jesus. His life, death and resurrection is the center of my life and being. Because of Him, I am forever connected to God, forever healed and changed, forever grateful.
Every day is a day to celebrate my life in Him, but if Christmas is the day to celebrate His birth, then I'm IN. All the way!
The first Christmas after rededicating my life to Him and being filled with the Spirit, I threw out every Santa thing that we owned. When my family challenged me by buying Santas after I had clearly expressed the way I felt, I threw them away in front of them.
My husband and I never told our children that there was a Santa. They, of course, saw him everywhere and we explained that he was like a cartoon. He wasn't real. We also explained that their cousins thought he was real and to be kind we were never going to tell them differently. That was up to their parents.
God had shown me how confusing it can be for a child to hear that God is real - but you can't see Him. Then they are told that Santa is real. Then they are told that Santa is NOT real. But God's still real.
My extended family thought we were ruining Christmas for our children. But my children had such joy in celebrating Jesus' birth and they weren't at all disappointed when they knew their gifts were from their family. They looked at other children with a little bit of confusion regarding the whole Santa thing.
One year, around Christmas, the library where we lived had a special day for our home-schooling group. The lady who was leading it asked the children, "What's the first thing you think of when you think of Christmas?" She was shocked when the children all yelled, "JESUS!" It was not was she was expecting and she had to regroup. lol I was filled with joy.
I'm always a little confused when I hear people yelling, "Jesus is the reason for the season" while they do the whole Santa Claus thing, because obviously they have not made Him the reason for the season.
We could change the world if we lived up to our convictions. We could have made the season about Jesus. It was the one holiday (and Easter - no Easter bunny) we could have grabbed hold of declaring our faith in Christ. We could have put our money where our mouth is and simply stayed away from Santa until he died out.
Instead, he's become the reason for the season.
I personally don't believe there are special days. I believe that the Holy Days created by God have been fulfilled in Christ. I believe that Christ is the Sabbath Day rest. Jesus is a 24/7 rest for those who have found their lives in Christ. So we celebrate Him every day.
But Christmas is a time that we can really declare our faith in Jesus to others. That we can lovingly stand our ground and declare, "Merry Christmas! Christ is born!"
So, Merry Christmas! Christ is born! May you find your rest in Him. May your commitment to Him grow this year as we see a world in need of a Saviour. May you see the world through His eyes and let His words fill your mouth, sharing His love with others. May we be transformed into the image of His dear Son, Jesus, Immanuel, God is with us!
Happy birthday, Jesus! You are my all-in-all.
love and blessings~