Around this same time a couple years ago, our boys were sitting in the living room floor creating their Christmas lists to send to Santa. The lists consisted mostly of cut out pictures from the Toys-r-Us catalog pasted sloppily with glue sticks on poster paper. They jumped up and down with excitement with every page turn as they found a new must-have toy. In all the fun of that day, I noticed that our oldest boy had only 3 things listed on his paper. An iPad, a phone like mommy’s, and crutches.
Yep, that’s right. Those were his must-haves of that Christmas.
As Christmas morning rolled around, the boys ran downstairs with all the excitement that kids should have on Christmas day. They ripped open packages and slung presents around, eagerly ready to move to the next item.
The younger two boys seemed quite content with their loot for the day. But the oldest sat on the floor with his arms crossed and a sour look on his face. In his lap set a box for a brand new iPad mini still in the wrapper.
Let me just pause right here. I do not even have an iPad. Just sayin’.
When asked what was wrong, he proceeded to through a fit about how he didn’t get a phone like mommy’s or any crutches. He was furious!
I could not believe how ungrateful he was being. Didn’t he realize how awesome the gifts he had received were? How did we get to the point of demanding what we should receive and then being mad if we didn’t get it exactly as expected? Didn’t he understand he couldn’t have everything? Didn’t he know that Christmas is about more than receiving everything on your wish list?
As I sat there in the floor with my wonderful little boys, I instantly felt like a failure.
Clearly I had missed the mark in explaining to him what Christmas is all about. Why else would he act so ungrateful?
Now before you say it, I know . . . he is 5 years old. And kids are kids. I get that. But it just didn’t sit right in my soul. We had talked about the reason we celebrate Christmas. We read the Bible stories. We went to the Christmas play at church. We even gave gifts from the angel trees and donated spare change to the guy outside Walmart. We had talked about this.
I wanted my children to understand at their very core, that Christmas simply wasn’t about them. It was about Jesus. I wanted them to realize that our gifts should be a reflection of the gifts God gave to us in His Son Jesus. I wanted them to have the fun and excitement that Santa, and the Elf on the Shelf, and Christmas parties at school bring – but they needed to know in their hearts that all of it was because of the birth of our King. Even though they knew these things in their heads, I don’t think they really felt it in their innermost being. And that really bothered me.
The following year was a big year for us as we decided to homeschool, made another move, and various other life changes. One scripture passage remained in my mind throughout that time.
Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.
As the holiday season approached I knew we needed to do something different this year. We needed something that would create an impression of the hearts of our boys and our family. It needed to be in our home, on our door frames and at our gates. It needed to be intentional and purposeful.
I had no idea that the months to follow would lead me to writing a book and sharing with others the things God was revealing to me and convicting me of in my own life. This month marks the launch of the book A Gospel Christmas and it is straight from my heart to yours.
A Gospel Christmas, is our journey through the month of December 2016. We found a way to connect Santa and his naughty little elf to our greatest gift of all. It is personal and transparent. It is messy at times and most importantly it is real. It is our story of how God lead us to Himself and made a huge impression not just on the hearts of our children, but on my heart as well. Through the 25 days in December we walked through the life of Jesus in a very practical, easy, and kid friendly way. We read scripture together, we did crafts, we talked, we gave to others, we cried, and we laughed. It was the most beautiful thing to see the gospel of Jesus come alive in our children’s’ hearts. To see their eyes light up with excitement and their minds begin to understand who Jesus is to them is something that a parent couldn’t be more proud of.
As the Christmas season is approaching us quicker than we all can handle, I would like to challenge you to pray over how your family will celebrate the birth of our King this year. Do your children truly understand what this season is about? Is your family focused on Jesus this year, or distracted by parties, the latest gadgets, and hosting friends? Are you searching for a way to connect all the fun of the holiday with the true meaning of Christmas?
I would love to hear your thoughts and I would love to be on this journey with you! Connect with me and receive the first two chapters of A Gospel Christmas for FREE! You will also be included in our Christmas newsletter which provides tons of ideas and inspirations on different ways to connect your family to Jesus throughout the season. And because you are one of the first to know about A Gospel Christmas, I will also send you some insider tips on how to incorporate Santa, the Elf, school parties and more with our Savior’s birth!
A Gospel Christmas is available in digital copy and paperback just about everywhere! It can be ordered online or ordered through your local bookstore. Bulk orders are available for churches or other organizations as well. I would be truly honored for you to share this book and post with those you love. What better gift to give at Christmas than one that could lead someone to Jesus? You never know who’s life can be touched by a simple share.
“My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
BONUS!!! Just because you guys are awesome I want to give you a chance to win a signed copy of A Gospel Christmas for FREE! Enter our giveaway below and you will be in the running for one of several prizes that will be picked to celebrate the launch of this great book!
Or go to https://gleam.io/eZjGx/a-gospel-christmas-giveaway to enter.
I’m so excited to be intentional this year with this!! Love it!
That’s awesome Julie! Me too 🙂