A Far-From-Perfect Christmas Story

11.21.19 | Family, Children, Story | by Andrea Dodge

A Far-From-Perfect Christmas Story

    This was not the Christmas story I wanted our family to tell. As a tired parent of littles, I remember looking with dread at our December calendar. Always full—full of concerts, church outreach events, work parties, shopping, baking and family traditions. Inevitably, any spare time was full of pink eye, strep throat and something involving the whole family that I called "flu-mageddon."

    And snow. So much snow. The trapped-in-your-house-for-days kind of snow. By the time Christmas arrived we only wanted one thing: Peace.  

    All Most of these things on our calendar were good things. But as I turned the calendar page to January, the weariness inside my heart was overwhelming. We had made Christmas into a story of stress. More than anything, I wanted our Christmas story to tell others about Jesus. 

    In Luke 2, I was challenged by three things that changed my Christmas story:  

    1. Simplify

    Is there anything you need to simplify this Christmas in order to see Jesus more clearly? 
    The setting was simple and unexpected. No one but God would have planned for the Messiah to be born among smelly animals. Any expectant mama in those days would have wanted to be home with family to support her in the delivery.The manger was the place where the animals ate, not a bed for a king. Everything about this venue was less than ideal. Yet, this is how God made His appearance on earth. The simplicity put baby Jesus at the center.  

    2. Put your hope in what God Says

    Not social media. Not comparison. Not perfectionism.
    Mary learned from an angel that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Her response? "I am the Lord's servant. May your word to me be fulfilled." Think about it. They endurethe ridicule of being pregnant before marriage, the weariness of having to travel a long distance to Bethlehem and the disappointment of no proper guest room for them as Mary prepared to give birth. Mary and Joseph's hope was grounded in God's word. 

    3. Welcome Strangers

    Who needs to be a part of your Christmas story? 
    I imagine Mary and Joseph's hearts were comforted when the shepherds showed up asking about the Messiah. It was all true. The new baby they held in their arms was going to rescue us all. If they had turned away these strangers, they would've missed this message of confirmation. 

    The story surrounding Jesus’ birth helped me see how my desire for all the Christmas frenzy caused me to miss the story God wanted to tell through us. As you prepare to flip the calendar to December, take a moment to pray about your Christmas story. Does it tell those around you about Jesus? 

    Some opportunities to focus on Jesus without lots of cost or preparation:

    Christmas Resources
    Sunday, November 
    Stop by the lobby table between worship gatherings for some free Christmas resources to help your family focus on Christ this season.

    Family Christmas Experience
    Sunday, December 8, 4-6pm
    Attend the Family Christmas Experience. This interactive event is for families, with kids age 4–grade 5, to celebrate the birth of Jesus together. No cost, registration or preparation.

    Concert & Breakfast
    Sunday, December 15
    Invite someone to join your family at the Christmas concert and breakfast. Let us do the cooking! 

    Open Your Home
    Invite someone new to your home for a simple meal. Don’t overthink it. Get the kids involved. Everyone loves spaghetti! 

    Andrea Dodge is on the Children & Family Ministries team at New Hope Church. She has a passion for helping our children know and love Jesus more. Her family enjoys laughing and watching baking shows together.