What do you want for Christmas–besides whirled peas, I mean?
Have you been asked that in the last few days? If you’re like my friend, Jill, she’s been asking since June since her goal is to get All-Things-Christmas completed by Dec. 5. I think she may want whirled peas.
Here’s the million-dollar question–Black Friday notwithstanding:
Have you asked Jesus what He wants for Christmas?
No? It puts first things first in this month of hustle-bustle.
To quote my grand-niece, Justine:
“MOM! I know what God wants for his Christmas present. He wants everybody to have a fun time with their families. He wants everybody to be happy.”
Out of the mouth of babes. World peace fits right in there, Justine.
Let me tell you a story about Debbi and how she started a family tradition in our family that lasted for fourteen years.
Early one December, I asked my friend, Debbi if she would pray that I would know what Jesus wanted for his birthday. She’s a faithful pray-er so I knew she would. I probably neglected my prayers because I knew she’d do it up right.
A week before Christmas, I had a lot of leftover corn sausage chowder from dinner, so I invited eight girlfriends over for soup and bread. At the table, I was complaining about the fact that although our daughter Bonnie’s teacher was a wonderful woman and we loved her – I had noticed her posters of how people around the world celebrate Christmas didn’t include the Biblical Christmas celebration. That seemed odd; I was a new school mom – but I knew my rights, so I offered to teach the class the way that Christians celebrate Christmas. (Knowing one’s rights doesn’t lead to whirled peas.)
She refused. I felt slighted and discriminated against. So when I finished reporting this to my girlfriends around the table, Debbi piped up:
“I know what you are supposed to give the Baby Jesus for His birthday!”
“I just did – it’s this luncheon!” I said.
Debbi ignored me.
“You are supposed to give a Birthday party for Jesus and invite everyone in Bonnie’s class. And I’ll help.”
I reminded Debbi that Christmas was a week away. I always do what Debbi says, however, and I had asked her to pray. But I only invited the girls – I only know how to do girls.
Eleven came. One mother called that afternoon and asked, “Will you be reading from the Bible?” I didn’t know her. I said, “We will be reading a Christmas story book that is based on the Bible – would you like to come?” She said yes and we’ve been friends ever since.
I planned a craft. I don’t do crafts, I’m craft-impaired. But Debbi helped, as promised. All the girls were asked to bring a baby gift to donate to the crisis pregnancy center. All the moms got behind that idea. We sang carols. We had a story. A friend read the Christmas story – I had laryngitis and couldn’t say a word. I had a cake and at the end we all sang Happy Birthday to Jesus.
A tradition was born out of what had started as a negative situation: no mention of Jesus in the classroom. We hosted these parties – sometimes two back to back: Bonnie’s friends the first hour, Bethany’s friends the second hour. We did this for fourteen years. One year when we didn’t have walls – in the early part of the remodel–a friend gave me permission to not give the annual part, but the girls insisted – so I just put on the invitation: Wear Sweatshirts. (It was cold.)
The last one we invited some little girls we knew and Mary Grace and her friends were the craft makers and the readers. Note: kitchen remodel in process. Kids don’t care. Invite anyway.
Fourteen years of celebrating Jesus birth with crafts and glitter and presents for newborns and stories for kids who didn’t go to church, but they would come to a party.
All because I asked Debbi to pray.
All because of leftover soup.
All because of an invitation.
All because I asked Jesus, “What do You want for Christmas?”
Here’s an invitation from Christmas past:
I want to challenge you – on December 1st – begin praying:
“Lord Jesus, what is it you want for Christmas from me this year?”
If you are hesitant about doing hospitality, inviting kids is a good way to get started. They don’t mind the fact that you couch is shabby, your chairs don’t match or that you don’t have walls. They leave a big mess—parties are messy and Jesus is proud as punch.
And you might spread some world peace from the the Prince of Peace.
“Keep open house—even with glitter and clutter and paste and food in the carpet — be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Jesus, Matthew 5:16 The Message
Linking up with these wonderful writers: