For me Christian holidays are often a time when culturally and socially I connect with others through the season, and find the opportunity for reflection and recalibration in regards to my life and relationships. I find Christmas being in December a good time to reflect upon the year past and to l look forward to the new year and Easter; as to how I may live the next year in the revelation of the resurrected One...
Now this all may sound very 'church like' to you and I agree it is...But that's because I don't go to church services to connect with God for one day only. I go to church services with an expectation to leave encouraged and strengthen for my daily Christian life. You see for me, I don't think I would go to church services if I did not experience growth and change and find myself living out what I've been taught at church...
Personally even though I walk each day with Jesus, I still find Christian holidays a chance in my busy life to reflect more intentionally and deeply on either the birth or death and resurrection of Christ, and what this means practically for me and my three sons. Indeed Christmas and Easter are annual and therefore seem to arrive so quickly; yet I still find when these holidays arrive I examine my life. Each holiday season I find myself and my little family in a new stage of our life together, and therefore my reflection as to how we will live out the reality Jesus has set before us changes.
Christmas 2016 for me is the fifth as a single woman with the responsibility of raising three young men on my own. I have my sons 100% of the time and this is the first Christmas where I am very aware of their maturity into male adulthood...My 3 sons are no longer three little boys.
So I sit here in our beautiful country home and ponder...
I reflect upon what the meaning of Christ's birth this Christmas means for us practically as a family. And what this means for me as head of our family. What this means as with Jesus beside me, I work to raise three young men into godly men, mostly alone.
Now please don't get me wrong, I am not sad or negative about the challenge my life presents as a single Christian parent. I really do know I am NOT alone, I feel Jesus with me all the time...but in practical ways I am mostly on my own. I do feel so grateful our home is one with Jesus in it. I am extremely thankful for how abundantly blessed we are; for even though I am single we are well provided for.
This Christmas season my thoughts have been focused on the importance of FAMILY - Of making the most of being blessed to be a mother with full-time care of her children, and the freedom to impart the truth of Christianity.
So I sit here thinking of the great gift Jesus is to us. For He is the only way we can become a part of God's family...The only way we can be forgiven of our sins and reconciled to God who is without sin. I think of The One who is so great becoming one of us, and serving us in such humility to make us His brothers and sisters that I am drawn to wanting this holiday to be in some way for us, a practical expression of this reality.
So I am choosing to give my sons this season the gift of serving each other as family should...even if it is only a dim reflection of Jesus' service. For if Jesus gave us Himself in servitude to make us His family when we turn to Him, we need to mature into loving servants, and this lesson starts at home.
So aside from an actual Christmas present, I am intentionally giving my sons this season more responsibilities. More chores and opportunities to serve one another. I am letting my sons become young men. I am buying less gifts and expecting them to give more of their time and effort to thankfully serve their family they are blessed to have. I am trying to lead us into not focusing on what we do not have, rather upon each other and the eternal life we have thanks to Jesus.
Jesus is the true light who came into the world as the star shone over Bethlehem around 2,000 years ago. He did not give us an example of wealth, greed and gluttony, rather one of resisting our flesh, love and servant-hood...He gave us the true example of family love which is sacrificial.
So this is my heart this Christmas season. How can we (me and my three sons), do FAMILY this holiday time in a way which honours Jesus and is different to how unbelievers are spending this time? How can we live the reality that God made the way for us to become His children, to become a part of His family by becoming a human being? How can we do FAMILY His way this holiday time, to set us up for the new year approaching?
I feel the need to finish this post by saying our focus this Christmas and every Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ; regardless of this time of year in the past being a pagan holiday ~ For God works all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). I believe what once was a pagan holiday became a time for the gospel to be celebrated and proclaimed by Christians and I believe this is something my family and I can be thankful for. This holiday is 'clean' for us (1 Corinthians 8), so please respect this.
Merry Christ-mas, love Melanie.