January 2

Advent is the time when we are supposed to prepare our hearts for Christmas but, with all the business of "getting ready", sometimes we skip the preparation part. Now that Christmas is over, many of us just go back to our ordinary lives and forget about the Christmas miracle. We are ready to take down all the decorations and lights as soon as New Year's is over. But what if we revisit Christmas throughout the year? Maybe on a cold, dark winter night or a hot, humid day in July? We can continue to think about and carry around with us that "Christmas feeling" of joy and love.
I might just leave my nativity up a little longer this year. The nativity has always held special meaning and memories for me. This year, I displayed the nativity that I grew up with since I was a little girl. I asked my mother for it since she is no longer able to display it. My father took a picture of me when I was 4 or 5 years old looking at that same nativity with all the wonder of a child. One of my favorite things to do during the Christmas season was to set up the nativity. My father made the stable himself and I was allowed to set up the figures every year and I passed that tradition down to my son. When my son was very young, he called the stable a barn and liked to put everyone in the barn at night and close the door and then set up the figures again the next day. Having a nativity helped teach me and then my son about the Christmas story. Perhaps I need to get a miniature nativity that I could keep out all year as a visual reminder of Christmas.
 And everyone loves Christmas music and has their favorites. Why not play some Christmas music throughout the year as yet another reminder of the joy and love sent down from heaven?

For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Gracious and Loving Father, thank you for the gift of Your Son. Help us to remember that You sent Your Son to save us from our sin. And let us not  forget that we are fragile, just like our old painted nativities, but Christmas is about Emmanuel, God with us. Let us continue to celebrate and carry Your joy and Love with us beyond the Christmas season and be filled with child- like wonder. Amen

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