Christmas has always been the most exciting time of year for me. My grandma was the most notorious Christmaser I have ever known. She worked at a store called Holiday Fantasies year round and decorated Christmas trees professionally. Her house was always magical during the holidays, no doubt she spent crazy amounts of money to make it just so for her grandchildren. It never failed that I was the first to rise on Christmas morning, cursed with late sleeping cousins and brother. Finally, we all lined up on the stairs and yelled at the top of our lungs for grandma to come up from her basement bedroom. When she emerged it was pure mayhem for the next hour. Stockings, then presents, then a break for breakfast. I can honestly say that there was nothing more exciting for me as a young child than Christmas at my grandma Ann's house. It definitely wasn't just the present that I looked forward too, it was also spending time with my cousins and aunts and uncles who I saw only for those few days every other year. As precious as those memories are for me, as sweet as those times with my family, something was missing. May it not be so for my children. Looking back I recall anticipation for presents that were soon forgotten and family gatherings that often ended in frustration and arguments. I longed for more time with my grandma and cousin, there was just never enough of anything on Christmas. Even the bacon disappeared too quickly. Perhaps I was left unsatisfied because the only thing that can satisfy was left out of the picture almost entirely.

Yesterday morning my Sunday school children and I talked about Jesus coming to earth.

 Who was Jesus? God's Son

Why did God want His Son to come to earth? To be born as a baby

Why did Jesus have to be born as a baby? Why did He come to earth at all? So that He could die for our sins.

So the reason are so excited about Jesus being born as a baby is because if He was never born as a baby, He couldn't have taken on flesh, lived a perfect life, and died in the place for all who believe in Him.

What happens for people who believe in Jesus? They are forgiven of their sins and get to be friends with God.

They get it. Jesus was born so that He could die to the glory of God the Father. I love to give my children presents, to dress that up in nice new clothes, to eat too much delicious food, but every bit of that has to be centered around the fact that we cannot be friends with God on our own, that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to gain eternal life, that we need Jesus. And God gave Him to us on Christmas morning. Praise God for his love and his grace and mercy! 

Please don't take this post to mean that I don't condone Christmas or the traditions that come with it. Trust me, my house is decked out and my shopping list is extensive. I just hope that for my family, we can pull in and focus on why all of this madness occurs in December. The reason we decorate trees, and wrap presents, and sing funny songs should be for the same reason we do everything in our lives, to thank and praise God for the astonishing gift of placing His Son in this world in order to provide a way back to Him. And that is something to get excited about that will still satisfy on December 26th.