“And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever and of His Kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-35
“So it was, that while there were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…” John 3:16
“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made… Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14
Twenty years ago I sent out a very special Christmas card that had each of these verses in it…the card also announced the birth of our third son, David Glenn Crittenden. David was born on December 18, 1992, exactly one week before Christmas Day… he was our very own “Christmas miracle.” And now, 20 Christmas days later, these verses still ring true in my heart and still point me to what the entire season is about.
I recently told a friend that I can’t even begin to think about Christmas presents or plans until I have figured out what I am doing for David’s birthday… He is still my Christmas miracle… the flesh and blood, the new life, the son, the gift from God that I celebrate every Christmas season… “…fearfully and wonderfully made…”
However, crowded into the days prior to and following David’s birthday are the days which we plan out “our Christmas Celebrations”… what are we giving everyone? Where and when are we going to various events as well as family celebrations? As our family has grown to include in-laws and grandchildren, we are no longer just juggling the time we spend with Cody’s family and my family, we are also trying to work around the growing commitments our children have with their own blended families. Time gets tight…stress can easily take over the joy of the season. It is easy to let all of this over power the meaning of “…for God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…”
This year, Cody and I celebrated Christmas in Temple, as has become our tradition, with our children… December 23rd is dinner at Pluckers and back to our house for gifts and games… Dec. 24th is a party with our friends, Elizabeth and William Hibbard at their home, and Christmas day… well that is the one day that changes each year with our own children, but remains the same with Cody and I… we wake up in our own bed and begin the day together… a new tradition which began six years ago…(meaning for 22 years, Cody and I spent Christmas eve night at either his parents’ house, or my parents’ house.)
This year on Christmas day, I got up early and put a turkey and dressing in the oven… I finished packing, made breakfast sliders and we headed to have breakfast and exchange gifts with our granddaughter, Aubrey! And then??? We loaded. We loaded up the turkey and the dressing. We loaded the drippings and broth for the giblet gravy… we loaded presents (some we had received and some we were giving to others) we loaded dogs…we loaded everything we needed for a trip to west Texas… at one point we “tagged” up with each of our kids and their families… and we all headed out… in a caravan of three separate vehicles… The “Crittenden Clan” from Temple began a trek to west Texas on Christmas morning to spend Christmas with the rest of our family. Our first stop was Lubbock, Grandma and Grandpa’s house…The “Macey” branch of our clan were the first to arrive…but the rest of us were not far behind, and by 5:30 on Christmas evening we were all enjoying Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa in Lubbock, TX. The oven was full of leftovers from their Christmas lunch which we had missed with the rest of the family, and we had added our turkey and dressing. By 7 p.m. we were stuffed with our Christmas dinner and all happy to be together celebrating the birth of our Savior… “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
We all loaded back up on Thursday and headed to Muleshoe to spend time celebrating Christmas with Maimee and Grumpy…and Stephanie, Kyle and the girlie girls- Reagan, Preslee and Bella. We had camp fires, threw washers and played games, ate at Leal’s and opened presents…and Reagan read us the “Christmas Story” from the Bible.
We celebrated the birth of our Savior, with each other and with our families. We did not celebrate just on December 25. We did not celebrate just by the giving and receiving of gifts… we celebrated every day from December 23rd until December 31…in fact, I am not sure we have really stopped celebrating (even though the giving and receiving of gifts has come to an end, more or less…) and should we ever really stop celebrating?
The card I sent out 20 years ago also had these words in it:
“The Christmas Story”
“Mary, when you held
your baby close, did you see
the radiance in His eyes?
Did you feel the tears of Gethsemane
when you hushed His cry?
when His soft hands unfurled
like tiny rosebuds,
did you see the nail prints?
When you looked into His face,
did you see God’s Son?
This night of rapture
was the beginning of love,
the first glimpse of glory,
the brightness of hope,
wrapped in prayers.”
My creative 10 year old niece, Preslee, made signs/posters for my mom to hang up in her house for Christmas. They had a simple, yet clear, message- “It’s all about JESUS!” So, all over my mother’s house, you could look and see the words written in bright markers, with glitter and decorations to remind us what the season is really about Jesus. And I don’t believe it is just about the baby Jesus who is the subject of the poem above… I believe it is about the man that baby grew to be, and the life He lived and the debt He willingly paid. I believe that Preslee hit the nail on the head with her posters. And I believe it is something that we should celebrate daily and that our lives should reflect this celebration on a daily basis. Just sayin’…because it is. Really. All.About.Jesus.AMEN