Do you believe in Christmas miracles? I do.
I have seen God show up two days before Christmas and provide every dream I had for my large family of five kids in unexpected ways. I have gone in to December with no clients in sight and God has sent someone to honor me and my ministry for God & Country, with a large financial gift of honor. Seeds sown had reaped a harvest; God had planned perfect timing for its distribution. My family and I have known nothing less than abundant Christmases, from indulging in gift list wishes to adopting full family’s for Christmas, angels from trees, and seeding gifting opportunities at every red bucket with a bell ringer. God is a God of abundance and blessings.
One recent Christmas, I was challenged to let it all go – gifts and expectations, materialism and the pursuit of financial giving. This was a difficult move for a mom of five who had built years of Christmas abundance and traditions, and received gifts from even Mrs. Claus! I was prompted to not provide a single gift to my children, but, in lieu of gifts, to create a warm home with love and games and laughter by the fireplace, to leave a chocolate bar and verse under the tree, and to write individual letters to each of my children, explaining the true meaning of Christmas, expressing God’s love and mine to them, and to give them the ‘Gift of Faith.’
It was a humbling experience, after years of prolific and historical gift giving and Santa’s plenty, there were a few tears of mixed emotions and tender heart strings pulled, but there was a gift of love that Christmas morning that was priceless. It was evident Christmas was much more than gift wrappings and bows and dollar store finds and designer handbags. And, the love of Christ was ever evident in our home full of His love.
Then, there was the next Christmas, where a few gifts were found under the tree – the tree that my college son had come home to buy and cut down with his youngest sister as a surprise to me! – and, the miracle was found in the sibling’s love for one another in many ways. Each child, aged 14-25, had taken it upon themselves to provide Christmas for one another, with their own hard-earned dollars and created shopping lists. They had picked names and spent a treasure on their one sibling pick, plus each added extras for the youngest child still in her season of Christmas excitement. And, it was the youngest two who went out like Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve and stocked their packs with goodies for the Christmas stockings for each of us. They chose perfectly thoughtful gifts and trinkets and pocketbook treasures. What a delight to see before my eyes, the love for family, the gift of thoughtfulness and sharing, and to see all the years seeded in faith had unfolded in love. They had been paying attention to the details, and, they had a keen understanding of Christ’s love and compassion and caring and sharing.
Whether there is Santa’s sleigh full, or a few treasures to unwrap, the Christmas miracle is truly found in the love exchanged with one another. It was the Christmas traditions the kids asked about each of these years – will you still make a big holiday dinner on our Christmas tree plates; will you read The Night Before Christmas; will we leave Santa egg nog and oats for his reindeer? Will we have our sibling sleepover, with pillow fights and a Christmas movie ‘til we sleep? Will we look at every family ornament, collected over the decades, and cut down a fresh Christmas fir? Will we hang out in our pajamas all day, play chess and put together puzzles? Will you make us breakfast while we all hang out in the living room? Will it still be Christmas as our family has come to know it? And, the answer was clear, as a cold winter’s night – the Christmas spirit isn’t in the gifts, but in the love that is shared. And, in this, my family has discovered the Christmas miracle, God’s faithfulness, and the true love of our Savior.
This Christmas, I feel the Lord pulling me away from the traditions of man more than ever. It makes it difficult to be in a world immersed in these ways. But, what I have learned is that no matter what’s under the tree, the love that is offered to one another is the best gift of all and the one, I am certain, that pleases Christ our King. The Lord sees the heart, and in His love and care for us, gives us the desires of our heart, sometimes in Christmas lists fulfilled, and, sometimes in the Gift of Faith exchanged. Receive whatever the gifts of the season might be with gratitude, share generously with others; let His light shine, and the Christmas love that is meant for this season will shine brighter than the season’s lights and create memories for a lifetime.
May this exchange be the Christmas miracle you have been longing to experience. May the love of Christ our Savior envelop you and your family this season. And, may it carry you for years to come.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor (one another), as yourself.’ -Matthew 22:37-39
LOVE is the true Christmas miracle.
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