Christmas: Jesus' Birthday and Ours Too

Who knew baking 14 mini-loaves of pumpkin bread, preparing one batch of cracker candy, and starting a Butterfinger trifle and a cream cheese Danish could be so exhausting? I guess when you add washing dishes 53 times, preparing three meals, two of them for six people, rocking babies, picking the magnets up off of the floor 94 times, sending and replying to 37 texts, answering 17 phone calls, folding a load of laundry, and sweeping, it makes more sense. And Chris did a huge load of dishes, gave two baths, and washed one very thick and long head of hair. It’s been a good day.

Not to change the subject, but here is my approach to Advent this year: When God shows me something cool, share it with my kids and call it Advent. Now, as someone who is a planning perfectionist, this sounds kind of like failure. But, as a mom of four who is not gifted in the creative crafty area, I am learning that not everything has to be “perfect.” (I would like to let you know that I realize I overuse the quotation marks in my posts, but I find there is no way to stop myself. I have a problem. I apologize if this drives any of you crazy.) Since it’s not about impressing others but impressing my kids’ hearts with the love of Christ, it’s okay if we don’t have the cutest crafts or the most intricately planned evenings together. (This is not to knock those of you who are wonderfully crafty and creative, but to free those of us who aren’t from the enemy’s tactic of comparing ourselves to one another.)

Despite the fact the we missed our planned, focused time on Sunday night, I didn’t go with the old me, declaring the whole month to be a failure and throwing in the Advent towel. We just went with the flow and did it on Tuesday. I might have mentioned that this year, we made our first week’s focus on Immanuel – the fact that God became flesh, left His throne in heaven, and came to be with us. This week, through the study of 1 Peter, God had impressed upon my heart the idea of birth.

Obviously, this time of year we hear the word birth mentioned a lot, since we’re celebrating the birth of a Savior. The amazing part of it all doesn’t stop with His birth, or with the idea of God with us. It continues to include our birth and God in us. In 1 Peter 1, we read: 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.”

As a mom to four children (have I mentioned that before?) which I happened to give birth to, the one word that always comes to my mind when I think of the day they entered this world is “miraculous.” To know that one minute they were unborn and the next they had begun this crazy journey in this world is crazy. There is no explanation for the way two people come together for a moment and a life is begun. God gives us a part in it, but it is all His doing. Another word associated with birth is “newness.” It always blows my mind as I look at their little face and hands and feet to think of how new and fresh and untouched they are in that moment. There is such hope and promise all wrapped up in that new life. It seems that no matter what anyone thought of that little life before they laid eyes on it, the moment they glimpse the baby for the first time, something in their heart changes. Birth changes things for so many people in so many ways.

I love how God doesn’t just haphazardly create the physical and then think, “Wow! I could totally use this as a spiritual lesson.” He creates the physical for the purpose of using it as a mirror to the spiritual. And we just don’t get that sometimes. When Nicodemus spoke to Jesus and was told he must be born again, he didn’t get it. Last night, Jack said, “Nicodemus was looking at in a man way, but Jesus meant it in a heavenly way.” Exactly. God means all these things that we see as purely physical or earthly to reflect and point to a much greater spiritual truth.

The fact is, we are born to sin and death, and without the birth of Immanuel and the miracle of God with us, we would remain that way. But now, now we have access to the gift of God in us. Without putting God in us, the fact that He came to be with us doesn’t change our lives. His birth as a man allows our birth by the Spirit. We are alive! We are new! Through His humble birth, we are given a glorious birth! He crossed the gap between the physical world and the spiritual world, making a way for us to be born, not physically, but spiritually.

Your inheritance on earth is determined by your physical birth. You may be left a pile of dough or a pile of debt. Our spiritual inheritance is determined by our spiritual birth, or the lack thereof ,and you will be left with a pile of blessing or a pile of torment. Peter calls the inheritance of a believer “priceless… kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.” I’m alive and I get to stay that way, through the birth of Christ, His death, and resurrection. He was born physically to die, but we are born spiritually to live! We get Him and He is life.

And that’s why we celebrate the birth of a baby, because it means birth for us as well. And the birth leads to hope, peace, joy…all the things written on ornaments and cards this time of year. Miraculous, I tell you. It’s good to be alive!

As the Lord was bringing this all together in my mind, I happened to hear “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” on the radio and couldn’t believe how beautifully the second and third verses fit what He had been saying.

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

The kids ate up the whole discussion while we ate dinner, we sang a very off-pitch rendition of “Hark the Herald,” and then we just left the mess in the kitchen and headed to do the Advent wreath. We relit the “God With Us” candle and lit the “God In Us” candle. (FYI: Those are totally made up by yours truly and not the official meanings of the candles.) Then our sweet Lukey broke out in worship with “God of Wonders” and we all joined in. Then I smiled as our three big kids got down on their knees with their heads to the ground as Chris prayed. It was a sweet, unplanned moment in the midst of a busy week.

And then Sam puked. Joy to the world.

As it turns out, God’s timing was perfect. If we hadn’t left the kitchen mess to finish our Christ-focused time, it wouldn’t have happened because we’d have been cleaning up puke instead. In the midst of vomit, I chose to put the old me (who would have been gripped with fear of the bug, dread of the puking, and disappointment over potentially ruined plans for the rest of the week) behind me and live in my new self. What a great chance to choose to count it joy and see it with an eternal perspective. God has a purpose in puke. You can quote me on that. (Someone might need to be prepared to remind me of that if this thing makes its rounds.)

Go celebrate the life you have! Or if you don’t have it, get it!

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 1 Peter 1:6


  1. I think you are a GREAT mom and I'm sorry you gave the yucks at your house. Hope he's better soon.

  2. OK Amy, why aren't you writing a book? A book about the younger women (that's you) teaching us older women (that's me) all this? Joy in the puke? It can be done! By the Spirit only.

    Hope you all have a fun brunch today!

  3. I can't tell you how much I enjoy smiling and laughing and having my heart touched each day as I read your adventures!! Thanks so much for sharing them and adding that time to your full life. It's a blessing.


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