I love the Christmas season because it is filled with traditions we have been forming for the past twenty seven years. Whether it’s the stringing of popcorn and cranberries, putting the little candle lights in all the front windows, filling the advent calendar with candy, or reading the Christmas story from the Bible as a family, each tradition moves us as a family towards the celebration of Christ’s birth. Like many families we struggle keeping Christ in the center of our Christmas season. Years ago we decided that the very first thing we would do each year is set up our Christmas Crèche or nativity scene. We would set up the barn my dad made by hand, spreading fake hay on the floor in preparation for the baby Jesus and all of the animals that greeted him that first Christmas morning. One at a time our boys would reach into the P&C shopping bag that held the Holy Family and shepherds and wise men, hoping that they would be the one to find the baby Jesus laying in the manger. Each figure was handmade and painted by my Mom. They would withdraw one object, wrapped in tissue paper, and slowly unwrap it. As the head of a cow or the staff of shepherd or the chest of gold came into view they would tell that part of the Christmas story to the best of their ability, then place their figure where they wanted in the barn. When we were done arranging the cows and sheep and Mary and Joseph we hung an angel from the peak of the barn and plugged in a Christmas light in the back to represent the star that shined brightly that first Christmas morn.
When you stop and think about it the Christmas story is really a love story. While it’s simple enough for a child to grasp and celebrate, it is one of the most incredible loves stories of all time. God, the creator of the universe, loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son into this world, to be born as a human baby, so that he could grow up and tell us how much his Father loved us. That, my friends, is extravagant love!
Our hope is that each guest who stays at David’s Refuge would experience God’s extravagant love for them. What does that look like? To be honest I’m not sure. Most likely it is going to look different for each guest. Our prayer for each Mom and Dad or guardian is that they would know the love God has for them as demonstrated through the Christmas story when God took on flesh so that he could whisper to each of us, “I love you!”
As you celebrate during this wonderful holiday season don’t ever forget, You are not alone! What you do matters! and of course, God loves you!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12