It's Christmastime again—or as Marianna calls it, Christmas days. There is no doubt it is all about the days to her right now as she take one little nativity character out of her advent calendar each day and puts it up at the top. For me they fly, to her they creep, but either way, one day at a time we are going through the days of December.
In these first 11 days, we've already witnessed around here what I'm sure you already know to be true: we all have a little extra energy to spend during the Christmas season. You all know that Marianna's Christmas energy led to eager and unrestrained fingers about a week ago, but whether we have a penchant for present spying or not, we all have extra Christmas energy that we use in some way or another. We decorate with flair, we bake with passion, we shop with determination. There just seems to be a little more "umph" in everything we do.
So the question is, where am I directing all of my energy this season? Last year I thought about this question a lot, and as I was thinking on how to purposefully use my energy, it became very clear to me how lazily I had used my energy before. In years past I had been no less busy, but it seemed I couldn't remember spending my time on many things that were truly important. Yes, I did a lot, but staying occupied isn't the point of Christmas. The point is remembering what it is really about and doing those things that help make Christmas more meaningful to you and those around you in your family, friend circles, and communities.
That's why last year I had a little campaign on my blog to "Take Christmas Back." It was my way of setting a goal to do something purposefully every day that helped me and Nathan and the girls remember what Christmas is really about. It was really, really wonderful to sit back and look at Christmas from a "how can I make it meaningful" perspective, and it's something I definitely want to do again this year, and every year.
The terrific thing is how easy and fun it is to incorporate little things into each day that help us focus on Jesus and His gift to us. Just keeping your ears open is a fantastic way to find places to go, things to make, and activities to participate that focus on the giving and not the getting. And the way things are going around here, I can tell we need that lesson more this year than ever before. So how have we kept little minds off of ripping into Christmas presents around here? Well, truth be told, we haven't =). But we have found some super fun ways to be actively involved in trying to give to others like Jesus has given to us.
On Monday night we had the privilege of being able to go back for the second time to the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home to throw a Christmas party for one of the cottages. Our fantastic connection class at church along with another wonderful class from Bellevue, joined forces to put together a dinner, presents, and lots of crafts and games for the seven girls in the cottage. It was SO much fun to get to visit with these amazing girls. And I mean that in the truest sense of the word. These girls blew me away.
That's just one example of the thousands of opportunities that I know are all around us, not only at Christmas, but all year long. I want to do, not for the sake of doing, but for the sake of taking advantage of our time, and using it to some things that are truly important. And coincidentally, those things also happen to make Christmas all the more fun and exciting and special to each of the members of our family. Focusing only on the presents leaves us feeling a little empty. Baking and decorating and doing only for ourselves doesn't automatically make us happy.
The true joy in Christmas I believe comes from looking at Jesus, rejoicing over His gift, and using that as the springboard for everything else we do this Christmas season.
What do you think? I'd love to hear some ideas from you on opportunities you've noticed or taken advantage of to make Christmas special this year.