Away in a Manger, Dreaming of Cider

What is it about writing or speaking about something that immediately leads me to be tested or challenged in that same area? I wrote an article for our church's women's ministry newsletter about how we celebrate (or attempt to) Christmas in a Christ-centered way at our house, and now I'm feeling so unmotivated and lazy! I don't want to do anything to day, be that cleaning, intentionally teaching my kids through stories, crafts, whatever, or going and making the cup of apple cider that I want right now. I've got a horrible case of the lazies! I've got to shake this, or December is going to get off to a rocky start.

So, to motivate us all (or maybe just me, because I'm sure you're all diligently keeping your home, molding your children into Christ-likeness, or at least drinking apple cider rather than dreaming of it), here's a little Christmas tidbit to start off this most festive month!

This year, I am seeking to experience Christmas in a more Christ-centered way than I ever have before. Jesus has always been a part of my celebration, but as the Lord slowly (and painfully) takes more of the world out of me and puts my focus on Him, I see how much this holiday has always been about me. I have loved Christmas for the “magic”, the break from all things mundane, the good times, the gifts, the food, the beauty. None of those things are bad, but they are all a poor substitution for the thing that this season is really all about. We all use those trite phrases “Jesus is the Reason for the Season” and “Jesus is the Greatest Gift of All,” but how many times do we mean them? Or do they just make us feel better about ourselves as we trade in what really matters for things that don’t?

Honestly, I have always struggled a little bit to reconcile singing Christmas carols during our worship time at church during the month of December. Don’t get me wrong. I love the carols. It’s just that they don’t usually evoke a worshipful heart from me. But this year it’s been totally different. The songs that are so familiar and laden with so many memories and emotions have taken on new life as I meditate on them in light of the miracle of God becoming man. I challenge you, if you’ve never done so, to ponder the words and the absolute mystery and miracle of what they describe.

Away in a manger (when moments before, You had been on a throne)
No crib for a bed (though all of heaven and earth is yours)
The little Lord Jesus (who is bigger than anyone can fathom)
Laid down His sweet head. (that would wear a crown of thorns)

The stars in the sky (that He created with nothing more than a word)
Look down where He lay (within the world He created and sustains even today)
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay.
(immortal God who is now man and must sleep)

Be near me, Lord Jesus, (for I am desperate for you)
I ask Thee to stay (though I wander)
Close by me forever,
and love me, I pray.
(Thank you that I don’t even have to ask, for you are faithful)
Bless all the dear children (please draw my children to your heart)
in thy tender care, (thank you for your tenderness, Lord)
And take us to heaven, (the only place I want to be)
to live with Thee there. (with the only One I desire)

Take a moment to think about the words of these familiar songs and let God do something new and not-so-familiar in your heart.


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